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Watches loved and worn by royals

There is a certain enigma around royalty, one that immediately brings to mind the words like power, prestige, and wealth.

We know that the royals always dress to perfection. And just as they pay attention to their sartorial choices, their timepieces are equally well thought out. No wonder then that they are seen wearing some of the world’s most expensive and exclusive watches. From Rolex to Backes & Strauss, here are some watches loved and worn by these royals.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex

Prince Harry Duke of Sussex
Image: sussexroyal/Instagram

Prince Harry‘s choice of watches reflects on his time served in the military. There are two that he has been seen sporting particularly. One of them is the white dial Rolex Explorer II ref. 216750. The watch has a GMT function, which was of use to him while serving as a helicopter pilot during his tour of duty in Afghanistan. The larger 24-hour numerals on the bezel, wide hands and orange-colour seconds hand help wearers mark the time even at night. The sturdy watch is designed to withstand adverse weather conditions such as extreme winter.

The other favourite is the adventure-inspiring Breitling Aerospace Quartz. This is the watch he got as a combat pilot of the Apache helicopter. The special-edition watch has an image of the powerful attack helicopter and the Army Air Corps Wings on the dial. It also has a chronograph and a digital calendar with the day and date programmed for four years. He has been seen wearing both watches even after outside his military career.

He has also been seen wearing a Casio G-Shock and Pulsar G10, which is a standard Ministry of Defence issue.

Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark

Crown Prince Frederik
Image: Liselotte Sabroe / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP

Crown Prince Frederik is famous for his athleticism and has been seen getting a jog in even during his overseas trips. He made quite the stir when he went jogging on the Great Wall of China during an official visit in 2017. The heir to the throne of Denmark thus has a favourite watch which is designed for the rigour of sports but has exudes the elegance of royalty — a Rolex Submariner ref. 16610LV. The stainless steel watch debuted in 2003 and has been nicknamed Kermit because of the green aluminium bezel insert.

Prince Mateen of Brunei

Prince Abdul Mateen, the fourth son of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, is phenomenally popular across Asia, which is evident from his 2.3 million following on Instagram. So, what does this prince, who has been attracting attention with his pictures on horseback and military life, love to wear on his wrist? Quite a few of the best timepieces. These include Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar, Richard Mille, Rolex Submariner and a 2016 stainless steel Rolex Daytona with a ceramic bezel.

Charles, the Prince of Wales

Prince Charles wrist watch

Of the large collection of timepieces Prince Charles has in his possession, the one recent constant has been the Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronograph. He mostly wears it while attending significant events, such as his son Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle and the 2019 Royal Ascot. The watch is a beautiful yellow gold chronograph with a blue hour and second hands. The 18-karat gold automatic has a 39mm diameter.

Before making this watch his go-to piece, the Prince has sported a series of outstanding watches on his royal wrist. He has had a Hamilton RAF Pilot’s Chronograph from his RAF College Cranwell days, a yellow gold Jaeger-LeCoultre, a two-tone Cartier Santos and a custom Breguet he received on his 60th birthday.

But one of the most memorable ones in his collection would be Patek Philippe‘s Calatrava Disco Volante. In a famous photograph from 1983, Princess Diana was seen wearing his wristwatch along with her own Patek Philippe while the Prince was playing a polo match at the Windsor Guards Polo Club.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

Prince William wrist watches
Image: KensingtonRoyal/Twitter

The second in line to the British throne, Prince William is not as flamboyant as many others when it comes to watches. For quite some time now, the Prince has been seen wearing only one particular watch — Omega Seamaster Professional Quartz 300M. It is a classic timepiece, one that has a chronometer, unidirectional rotating bezel, helium-escape valve and sapphire crystal date dial in stainless steel. The reason why he sports this watch often is deeply sentimental — it was a gift from his mother, Princess Diana. He also wore it on his wedding day in 2011.

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge

Kate Cambridge
Image: Kensington Royal/Twitter

The Duchess of Cambridge has often been photographed wearing the lustrous Cartier Ballon Bleu stainless steel watch. It was gifted to her by husband Prince William. Its 33mm dial is supported by a shining metal bracelet. Roman numerals on silvered guilloché opaline dial with blue hands shaped like swords immediately attract attention. But its most arresting feature is the blue sapphire cabochon crown which has a futuristic-looking loop almost shielding it. In all, the Cartier Ballon Bleu is a symbol of the perfect merger of sophistication, fashion, technology and luxury.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
Image: Paul Edwards / POOL / AFP

Like her sister-in-law Kate, Meghan Markle has also been spotted wearing a Cartier watch. But there is a whole world of difference between the two models.

The one that the Duchess of Sussex wears is a two-tone Cartier Tank Française — an extremely famous product by the luxury watchmaker. The two-tone stainless steel and yellow-gold model has a personal connection for her. She bought it following the success of her American TV show Suits. She had the words “To M.M. From M.M.” engraved on the back as a message to herself.

King Felipe VI, King of Spain

King of Spain
Image: CasaReal/Twitter

Like his illustrious father King Juan Carlos I, King Felipe VI also has a liking for watches. In an official portrait from 2010, four years before he ascended the throne, King Felipe VI was seen wearing an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Olympic Edition Timeless Collection. The watch is easily identifiable because of its unique painted Arabic numerals on a black lacquered dial. It has the brand’s co-axial movement and a black aluminium rotating bezel. It also features the red-painted vintage Omega logo. Reflecting its edition name, the Olympic circles are engraved on the case back.

Besides the Omega, the royal has also been spotted wearing the City of Sails Alinghi Edition of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak series when meeting Charles, the Prince of Wales. King Felipe VI is a fan of yachting, which is perhaps why he was seen wearing this limited edition wristwatch. The stainless steel watch was created on the 30th anniversary of the Royal Oak and dedicated to 2003 America’s Cup winner, the Alinghi sailing team from Geneva. Painted Arabic numerals on black chapter ring feature on a two-tone, grey textured dial.

In a more unofficial setting, the King of Spain has been seen sporting the evergreen Cartier Santos.

Prince Michael, Duke of Kent

Prince Michael, Duke of Kent
Image: Backes & Strauss

Counted among one of the most stylish of the British royals, Prince Michael has usually worn Audemars Piguet Royal Oak almost exclusively though he is known to have an impressive collection of classic wristwatches. The Prince, who is the first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, has been wearing the Royal Oak for a few decades now. Just for an estimate, he has posed for a photo wearing the watch in 1990 and was also seen sporting it effortlessly with his dapper sartorial style at the 2013 Wimbledon tennis tournament. The watch is a vintage two-tone featuring the brand’s signature tapestry dial in dark grey.

In 2018, the Prince announced that he is partnering with Backes & Strauss following which a limited edition collection named Royal Kent was launched. He has himself been photographed with a diamond-drenched piece from the collection on his wrist. The timepieces for men bear elements from his coat of arms while those for women have his wife’s coat of arms.

Besides these, the Prince’s personal collection includes Rolex 50th Anniversary LV Submariner, “Pepsi” bezel Rolex GMT-Master, Cartier Tank Americaine and a timeless piece from the Bvlgari Bvlgari collection.

(Main and featured images: John Torcasio/@johntorcasio/Unsplash)

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