The Queen is dead. Long live the King! After one of the longest reigns in modern history, Queen Elizabeth II passed away last week at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle. As tradition goes, the United Kingdom has appointed the heir to the throne. The first child of then-Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a man we’ve known as Prince Charles for the past 73 years, was proclaimed King Charles III on 8 September. 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 UK’s new King, there are a few noteworthy models in his collection. Here are the favourite watches of Charles III, King of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth Realms.
Charles III’s most emblematic watch, a Parmigiani Toric Chronograph
More than just one watch that has already been spotted on the wrist of Charles, but no other can rival the following one in terms of fame and recurrence. Probably the most emblematic watch of the newly proclaimed King of the United Kingdom – and one that we’ve seen on so many occasions – the Parmigiani Fleurier was the watch he chose for the most important step in his “career” as a King: the signature of his proclamation.
The watch in question is a discreet, elegant gold Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronograph. Typical of Michel Parmigiani’s design language, King Charles’ version is an early model from the 1990s with a silver guilloché dial, Roman numerals, a mix of gold and blued steel hands and a date positioned in an original position at 1:30. This 3-counter chronograph is a lovely mix of casualness and elegance and has been spotted on former-Prince Charles’ wrist on various occasions, as you can see below.
The Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronograph is a 40mm watch equipped with an automatic chronograph movement… which, somewhat surprisingly, is based on the El Primero 400Z calibre. Finishing has been refined for the occasion, and the movement features a gold guilloché rotor. The bezel is decorated with the brand’s signature double-step and a finely fluted pattern. It is a discreet yet luxurious watch that has been a faithful partner to the newly appointed King for many years now.
The King’s Patek Philippe Calatrava
Another important watch in King Charles’ collection is a Patek Philippe, which he’s been wearing since the 1970s that is still one of his favourite pieces. It’s often said to be a reference 2551, a so-called Disco Volante, which isn’t correct because Charles’ watch features a date. As such, it seems to be 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 Calatrava’s history here).
The yellow gold watch, with a 35mm diameter and a recessed crown, is powered by the calibre 27-460 M, Patek’s first serially produced date movement. Even though it seems to get less wrist-time than the aforementioned Parmigiani, Charles’ Patek Philippe Calatrava has been spotted on his wrist recently.
Other notable watches of King Charles III
More watches have been seen on the wrist of Charles over the years. This includes, as you can see below in various historical photos, a selection of classic, rather understated watches such as a Cartier Santos or a compact, yellow gold Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso with Roman numerals.
Another important watch in Charles’ collection is associated with his training as a jet pilot for the Royal Air Force. As such, he received (likely in August 1971) a dedicated pilot’s chronograph, issued for the RAF and produced by Hamilton. This asymmetrical chronograph watch was part of the pilots’ equipment and was also made by brands such as CWC, Precista and Newmark. It was recently revived by Hamilton with the Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical Chronograph.