Future and DJ Khaled Made a Song to Brag About Their Watches
Welcome to Watches of the Week, where we’ll track the rarest, wildest, and most covetable watches spotted on celebrities.
The very first words Future raps on DJ Khaled’s new single “Big Time”? “Rainbow Audemar,” he says, referencing an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Rainbow,” a gold watch with a lot of personality in the form of 32 rainbow-forming gemstones. For watch enthusiasts, the name drop is also pretty big time: watch collecting, once a niche concern, is now such a widely beloved hobby it can tee off a DJ Khaled single as a potent and universally recognized symbol of living large.
(I also appreciate the specificity of this particular drop, too: It’s not just an Audemars, nor simply a Royal Oak, but one of the brand’s exact references, the “Rainbow.” How deep can rappers go? I’m waiting on the verse name-dropping reference numbers and quirky defining features: 6358, Big Crown, 007, that’s big time.)
All three of Future, DJ Khaled, and Lil Baby wear some variation of the Royal Oak in the “Big Time” video. But despite the fact that Future is the one doing the name-droppin,g he’s not the one doing the Rainbow-wearing. That honor goes to DJ Khaled, who in his own spectacularly unsubtle way spends much of his time on screen rolling up his sleeve and pointing at his watch. I believe this is the dream of anyone who’s ever posted on Rolex Forums: to release a video that will be watched by millions where they can unabashedly show off their latest watch purchase. Meanwhile, Future and Lil Baby both wear bust-down versions of the AP classic. But Future got it right the first time. If you want to let people know you’re big time, there is really no better accessory than this “Rainbow” Royal Oak.
Brown and this Portugieser Chronograph are natural partners: both are understated, not too flashy, ready to get the job done. Chronograph (stopwatch) watches can tend to get bulky fast, but the Portugieser retains all its elegance by moving the extra subdials and pushers to the side of the case. For a long time, IWC only sold this watch on a leather strap, further driving home its status between sport and dress watch. Brown’s model, released only two years ago, is the first to appear on the stainless steel bracelet.
Two friends coming together to show off great watches—what could be better? Idris Elba had a support team at the UK premiere of Beast: specifically, “mum and Stormzy” walked the red carpet with the actor. Unfortunately, mum didn’t wear a salmon-dialed AP Royal Oak so this is where her section of the write-up ends. Stormzy did, though: his watch is a special-edition inspired by a previous special edition. Quick maffs: that’s double the specialness. AP first released a salmon dial in 1992 to celebrate 20 years of the Royal Oak. And in 2019 the brand finally paired the fishy dial with a white-gold case for the first time. The watch is limited to only 75 pieces.
Elba’s 25H tourbillon is something of a descendant of the Royal Oak. Both are atypically shaped luxury sport watches with what’s known as an “integrated bracelet,” meaning the bracelet is directly attached to the case. If they’re descendents, the 25H is a great-grandson: the watch was only released last year and marked Gucci’s foray into high-end horology. The tourbillon has long been a marker that a watch brand knows its way around a manufactory.
Every new Richard Mille release doubles as a brag. Earlier this year, the brand, in partnership with Ferrari, released the thinnest watch in the world. There’s also the new RM-47, a watch that features a samurai crest that requires 16 hours of engraving to complete. And last year, when the brand released Pharrell’s RM 74-02, it did so only after creating its own material, Gold Carbon TPT. The watch offers the best of both elements: the lightness of carbon and the flashy zest of gold. The RM 74-02 is special enough that Pharrell chose it over the Richard Mille he designed himself.
While accepting his UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award, Real Madrid’s Benzema wore the 5711 Nautilus. It still feels weird to write that the watch—the blue-dial, ultimate classic version of the Nautilus—is now discontinued. Maybe that’s because it keeps popping up at high-profile events, and is still a favorite among folks like Benzema.
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