Summer Rewind: The Unlikely Watch Collector: Monarchs Editions
Unlikely Watch Collector

Summer Rewind: The Unlikely Watch Collector: Monarchs Edition

Watchonista’s five favorite royal watches from our series: The Unlikely Watch Collector.

By Watchonista

Since launching our The Unlikely Watch Collector series, Watchonista has given you an inside look at the watches owned by some of the world’s most iconic people. Whether the collector is a world-renowned chef (HERE), a scientific genius (HERE), or a gifted artist and style icon (HERE), it is their watches that piqued our attention.

That goes double for royal watches!

From the understated elegance of Queen Elizabeth II (HERE) to the expensive tastes of the Shah of Iran (HERE) to the conventional yet classic style of Prince Charles (HERE), these are Watchonista’s favorite royal watches!

Queen Elizabeth II: Jaeger-LeCoultre 101

On her coronation day in 1953, the queen-to-be famously wore a Jaeger-LeCoultre 101. With a movement that is still the smallest in the world, it was discreet and perfect for the occasion. And with the 101’s movement carefully “hidden” between two rows of diamonds, it did not take any attention away from the ceremonial jewelry worn during coronation ceremonies.

The whereabouts of the watch are currently unknown. However, if you study her official portraits since 1943, you can spot a bracelet on her right wrist. Upon closer inspection of the bracelet, an avid horological eye will notice a small dial. It wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that Queen Elizabeth may have had a custom Jaeger-LeCoultre 101 for daily wear in white gold and no diamonds.

Judging by the number of times Her Majesty is pictured wearing the Jaeger-LeCoultre 101, it must mean the watch was very dear to her. Whether out with her corgis or sitting for an official photograph, it was there, always on her wrist, year after year, decade after decade.

It is unsurprising that for the queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012, Jaeger-LeCoultre gifted a new version of the iconic 101 to celebrate the long-reigning monarch.

A true heritage to pass on.

You can read the full article The Unlikely Watch Collector: Queen Elizabeth II by Viviana Shanks HERE.

Prince Charles: Patek Philippe Calatrava Disco Volante

For a long time, Prince Charles’ favorite piece was a Patek Philippe Calatrava Disco Volante reference 2551. The three-handed watch, with its remarkably elegant classicism, became a talking piece when Princess Diana took to wearing Charles’ Patek Disco Volante along with a gold Patek Philippe her new husband had given her for her 30th birthday.

This romantic gesture made the Princess of Wales an unwitting trendsetter as the practice of wearing two watches simultaneously, now known as double wristing, was still several decades away.

You can read the full article The Unlikely Watch Collector: Prince Charles by Frédéric Brun HERE.

Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Representative of 1970s style codes and designed by Gérald Genta, the story of the Shah and the original Audemars Piguet Royal Oak begins with a simple pencil sketch catching the discerning eye of a monarch; a monarch who also happened to be an avid design enthusiast.

But the last Shah of Iran wasn’t just any Royal Oak owner. No, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was the first owner of a Royal Oak.

On the strength of the drawings alone, the Shah became captivated by the idea of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and ordered the very first one. He was to remain the watch's top customer with his own model crafted in white gold.

A few years later, he would also focus his attention on another Gérald Genta design, the Patek Philippe Nautilus, which he wore to the office beneath his elegant suits. His inimitable style would further the exclusive image of the now highly coveted models.

You can read the full article The Unlikely Watch Collector: The Shah Of Iran by Frédéric Brun HERE.

Prince Charles: Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronograph

In April, during a message broadcast on the IGTV channel of Prince Charles’ Instagram account, one detail certainly did not go unnoticed by his million-plus followers: a rare Toric chronograph made by Parmigiani Fleurier. The elegant gold watch was clearly visible on his wrist.

Founded by the watchmaker Michel Parmigiani in May 1996, with the support of the Sandoz Family Foundation, to have the Prince of Wales wearing a Parmigiani Fleurier timepiece is a mark of great esteem for this modest Swiss Maison. Moreover, as an informed watchmaking enthusiast and discerning collector, it is the connoisseur's choice for the British royal. And after a modicum of research, it is believed the watch was probably purchased surreptitiously on Prince Charles’ behalf by a member of his inner circle on an incognito trip to the brand's London store.

This was the second public appearance of this watch, which seems to be the go-to choice for the future king. In fact, during Prince Harry's wedding, as millions of onlookers' eyes were glued to the bride's gown, Prince Charles cast a discreet glance down at the watch peeking out from his grey jacket sleeve, thus signaling the ceremony could begin on time. Royal British protocol – as reliable as Swiss clockwork.

You can read the full article The Unlikely Watch Collector: Prince Charles by Frédéric Brun HERE.

Emperor Haile Selassie I

Finally, our list would not be complete without the incredibly named “Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, King of Kings, Emperor of Ethiopia, Elect of God,” and his one-of-a-kind Patek Philippe.

At the Shah of Iran’s lavish four-day fete, celebrating the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire, Emperor Selassie could be seen to occasionally glance at his one-of-a-kind Patek Philippe reference 2497 perpetual calendar wristwatch.

Sold for almost $2.9 million at a 2017 auction by Christie's, Emperor Selassie's Patek Philippe reference 2497 features a 37mm 18-karat gold case, matte black military-style dial, luminous Alpha hands, moon phases, and an engraved caseback.

You can read the full article The Unlikely Watch Collector: The Shah Of Iran by Frédéric Brun HERE.

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