The queen is dead. Long live the king! After the longest reign in modern history, Queen Elizabeth II passed away at Balmoral Castle last week at the age of 96. By tradition, the United Kingdom appoints an heir to the throne. The first child of then Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the man we’ve known as Prince Charles for the past 73 years was proclaimed King Charles III on September 8. Long live the king indeed. But you’re reading MONOCHROME, and we’re not here to write history. We’re here to talk about watches. And when it comes to the UK’s new king, he has some notable models in his collection. Here are the favorite watches of King Charles III of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms.
Charles III’s most iconic watch, the Parmigiani Toric Chronograph
Charles is more than just a watch already spotted on the wrist, but nothing else rivals the following in terms of fame and repetition. The most symbolic watch of the newly proclaimed king of the United Kingdom – and the one we’ve seen on many occasions – the Parmigiani Fleurier is the watch he chose for the most important step in his “career” as king: his proclamation signing.
The watch in question is a discreet, elegant gold Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronograph. Typical of Michele Parmigiani’s design language, the King Charles version is an early 1990s model with a silver guilloché dial, Roman numerals, a mix of gold and blued steel hands, and original positioning at 1:30. This 3-counter chronograph is a beautiful blend of casual and elegance and has been spotted on the wrist of ex-Prince Charles on various occasions as you can see below.
The Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronograph is a 40mm watch with an automatic chronograph movement… which, somewhat surprisingly, is based on the El Primero 400Z caliber. The finish is refined on this occasion and the movement features a gold guilloche rotor. The bezel is adorned with the brand’s signature double-stepped and finely fluted pattern. It is a discreet and luxurious watch that has been the faithful companion of the newly appointed king for many years.
The King’s Patek Philippe Calatrava
Another important watch in King Charles’ collection is the Patek Philippe, which he has worn since the 1970s and is still one of his favorite pieces. This is often referred to as instruction 2551 Flywheel, which is not correct because Charles’ watch has a date. As such, it is a 1970s Calatrava Date Automatic Reference 3445, with central hours and minutes and small seconds at 6 o’clock. (You can read more about the history of Calatrava here).
A yellow gold watch, with a diameter of 35 mm and a recessed crown, Patek’s first serially produced date movement is powered by caliber 27-460 M. Although it seems to have less wrist time than the aforementioned Parmigiani, Charles’ Patek Philippe Calatrava was recently spotted on his wrist.
Other important watches of King Charles III
More watches appeared on Charles’ wrist over the years. As you can see below in various historic photos, it features a selection of classic, understated watches such as the Cartier Santos or the compact, yellow gold Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso with Roman numerals.
Another important watch in Charles’ collection is linked to his training as a jet pilot in the Royal Air Force. As such, he received (in August 1971) a dedicated pilot’s chronograph, issued for the RAF and designed by Hamilton. This asymmetric chronograph watch is part of the pilots’ equipment and is also manufactured by brands such as CWC, Precista and Newmark. It was recently restored by Hamilton with a Khaki Pilot Pioneer mechanical chronograph.