Today marks the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing. The late Queen was a remarkable woman, and not only because of her 70-year reign – she also had a sharp eye for exquisite watches. During her time on the throne, she amassed an impressive collection that not only revealed her personal taste, but also her passion for the precision and art of watchmaking. In this article, we’re looking at Queen Elizabeth’s most spectacular watches and honoring her deep affinity to these fascinating timepieces.
A Life for the Crown, a Passion for Watches
Queen Elizabeth’s watches aren’t merely valuable collector’s items, they also communicate her personality and legacy. In fact, it’s fair to say that each of her watches has a story to tell, and symbolizes a pivotal moment in the monarch’s life. Make no mistake, her passion for watches wasn’t only manifest in the timepieces she wore. Queen Elizabeth recognized the importance of the traditional craft and established a foundation that provided financial support and training opportunities to young watchmakers. She was a strong advocate of preserving traditional trades, and worked to ensure that the art of watchmaking would take a strong seat in the future.
Though Queen Elizabeth II was always in full feather, she never donned a watch with the pure intention of it being an accessory. Instead, she had a profound understanding of time and its importance for her role as monarch. That is to say, a watch was so much more than a piece of jewelry or a technical instrument; it was also a symbol of her responsibility and commitment. Queen Elizabeth was known to be punctual and efficiently use the time at her disposal. It is of course only natural that her magnificent watches would support her in organizing her meetings and fulfilling her tasks as Queen.
Bookmark this article about the other members of the British Royal Family and their watches to read next.
Queen Elizabeth & Jaeger-LeCoultre
Unsurprisingly, the watch that will forever be connected with Queen Elizabeth is the one she wore for her coronation in 1953. Queen Elizabeth’s coronation watch, officially known as the Jaeger-LeCoultre 101, is crafted from 18-karat gold. The timepiece was produced in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s hallowed halls specifically for the special occasion. The square case twinkles with diamonds, and paired with a diamond-studded bracelet, the full ensemble is truly fit for a queen.
As with many watches, its most striking property is found under the dial, and in this case, it’s one of the world’s smallest mechanical movements. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 101 is a movement from the 1920s that is also no stranger to leaving lasting legacies. It measures 14×4.8×3.4 mm and consists of 98 parts that must be assembled and adjusted by hand. But despite its tiny stature, the caliber still offers a 33-hour power reserve. This definitely wasn’t the Queen’s go-to everyday watch, but she did develop a fondness for the brand, as evidenced by the many sightings of her wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. Already we’re getting a sense of her refined taste in watches.
Queen Elizabeth & Patek Philippe
Watches from Patek Philippe aren’t just considered royalty in the world of watchmaking, they’re also actually worn by royalty. Queen Elizabeth was partial to her Patek Philippe Calatrava, another timepiece that tastefully unites class and elegance with its sophisticated dial and slim case. The late Queen paired her Calatrava with formal evening attire and more casual day-to-day outfits, showing how versatile the Patek Philippe Calatrava truly is.
Another of the Queen’s favorite pieces was the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse. Although this timepiece is undoubtedly an elegant dress watch, it does offer a touch of unconventionality to the Queen’s jewelry box on account of its oval case. Again, we are reminded of her penchant for watchmaking and the goldsmith’s art, and can thus view the Golden Ellipse as a statement. The Queen didn’t just wear Patek Philippe watches, she cherished them, because she held the knowledge and craftsmanship behind them in high regard.
Queen Elizabeth’s Progressive Thinking
In addition to embracing the classics, Queen Elizabeth also appreciated modern developments. As quartz watches began circulating, she didn’t shun them; she saw them as a sign of technical progress. Nor did the Queen shy away from wearing men’s watches, as evidenced by the several photos of her wearing a Cartier Tank Cintrée Dual Time. This extravagant model displays two time zones on its elongated dial, both adjustable by separate crowns. This unique watch and the innovative mechanism that powers it inspired Queen Elizabeth to disregard gender roles and appear in public wearing a men’s watch. She was a woman ahead of her time.
Queen Elizabeth has been gone for a year now, but we will never forget her radiant personality and unwavering dedication. She was a conscientious leader who demonstrated a strong sense of duty and commitment. What’s more, she was a watch enthusiast, just like us.