September 26Royal Watches – Timepieces of Royal Families Through History
Last week was Prince Harry’s birthday, turning 32, and naturally, with the nature of our business, we’re always keen to keep an eye on what he chooses to wear on his wrist. Royalty has always had an association with watches and clocks throughout history, regardless of nationality. This week’s blog post will explore this relationship, and maybe help to give you a bit of inspiration from our selection of royal watches.
One of the most notable associations between a watchmaker and royalty came from the great Abraham Louis Breguet, widely considered to be the greatest watchmaker of all time. Although his work was sought after by royal families all over Europe during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, his best known connection was probably with the French royal family. Indeed, King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette both commissioned pieces from him, and you can view many of his works in the Louvre to this day. One of his best known watches, the No. 160 Grand Complication piece, is seen as Breguet’s masterpiece, a piece commissioned with no time or cost limit, and was built to be the most advanced and opulent watch possible with the technology of the time. This piece was ordered as gift for Marie Antoinette, and took 44 years to complete. Unfortunately, on account of the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette didn’t live to see it completed, but it remains one of the finest watches ever produced.
Jumping forward in time and back to our own shores, we look to our own Queen Elizabeth II. Jaeger-LeCoultre is her watch manufacturer of choice, and she is often spotted wearing their timepieces. During her coronation in 1952, she wore a watch powered by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s cal. 101, the world’s smallest wrist watch movement. The movement was first launched in 1929 and is still produced to this day, a marvel of mechanical engineering that only weighs one gram. To honour Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond jubilee in 2012, Jaeger-LeCoultre gifted her a diamond set cal. 101 watch very similar to the one worn on her coronation, albeit in white gold instead of yellow gold.
Prince William is almost never seen without his trusty Omega Seamaster Professional. A gift from his mother, Princess Diana, we are certain that this watch holds immense sentimental value to him. The watch itself is quartz, and, being the mid-size model, modestly proportioned by today’s standards. Don’t let the size fool you, however! It’s a tough and dependable watch, unpretentious, and easy to wear, perfect for someone who travels the globe as much as Prince William. As royal watches go, this is one of the most understated choices
We mustn’t, however, forget Prince Harry. His watch of choice is a white dialled RolexExplorer II in the updated 42mm size. This is a watch he wore during his active service with the army, and we can see why. The Explorer II is one of the toughest and most legible watches in Rolex’s range, with oversized hands and markers coated with Rolex’s own Chromalight luminescent paint creating unparalleled night-time visibility. The 24 hour hand and dual timezone capability enhances the watch’s practicality further, making it an ideal choice for the modern military man.
If you’ve felt royally inspired and are interested in a regal timepiece, you can find examples from all of the above brands in stock here at Watchcentre.
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