Top Luxury Watches As Worn By Prince Harry - Rolex Explorer
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Top Luxury Watches As Worn By Prince Harry - Rolex Explorer

Top Luxury Watches As Worn By Prince Harry - Rolex Explorer


Prince Harry arguably became one of the most controversial people on the planet over a very short period of time. His relationship and subsequent marriage was a source of titillation for a lot of the national newspapers and news outlets, eventually resulting in both Meghan Markle and Prince Harry parting ways from the Royal Family. 

His subsequent release of the highly anticipated Netflix series ‘Harry & Meghan’, that Oprah interview combined with the rather controversial memoir “Spare” raised many an eyebrow. But as you know our natterings are very firmly fixed on watchmaking. Lets leave all that and take pleasure in analysing the beautiful world of watches! Join us as we discuss the top luxury watches as worn by Prince Harry, including but not limited to the stunning Rolex Explorer II and Breitling Aerospace. Read on!


Rolex Explorer II 


Prince Harry and his Rolex Explorer II are a pair which are inseparable. We should add we have a sneaky feeling he might wear this beauty during The Coronation of King Charles III! Tell us if we are right.

Prince Harry served in Afghanistan for two tours as a military pilot. Through sheer hard work, he managed to reach the lauded position of Captain and leave the battlefield like a true champion. Why out of all the watches in the world, and his infinite royal wealth, would he choose to buy a Rolex Explorer II?


History of The Rolex Explorer II


Unveiled in 1971, The Rolex Explorer II 1655 exploded onto the scene as a bulkier version of the Rolex Explorer I. 


Rolex Explorer II - Source - Jake’sRolexWorld

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Originally sized at 39mm in a stainless steel case and bracelet, the watch was designed to be rough and ready. It brought in an extra 24 hour hand that relates to the 24 hour etchings on the bezel to allow easy readings of both daytime and nighttime. Known as the “Steve Mcqueen” Rolex, it was very luminous to allow optimal readings and brought in the first sightings of an orange (then later red) 24 hour hand. 

The reference 16500 was launched in 1985 and bulked up further to 40mm as well as a sapphire crystal and the calibre 3085. The hands were altered to Mercedes hands for coherence among the rest of the sport collections, plus the 24 hour hand was thinned down. The 24 hour hand could now be altered independently to specific numerals due to the new calibre, allowing second time zones to be set. 

The Rolex Explorer II 16570 was released in 1989 and brought in the new calibre 3185 and used black edging on the markers to enhance their legibility against the white dial. Nicknamed ‘The Polar Explorer’, the models experienced upgrades to the new calibre 3186 and the change to Luminova then SuperLuminova in 2000 instead of Tritium throughout its run.


Prince Harry’s Rolex Explorer II


Prince Harry’s Rolex Explorer II was released in 2011 and named the 216570. 


Rolex Explorer II - Source - MartinLutherKingJr

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Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Rolex Explorer II, the watch was an ode to the original 1655. Bumped up to 42mm, the watch included the ‘Maxi Dial’ dial style in order to enhance legibility in such a robust case. Prince Harry’s ‘polar’ dial edition features an orange arrow 24 hour hand and a date window located at 3 o’clock. 

Crafted out of Oyster Steel, the watch is very tough yet also looks exceptionally smart while on the road. The top of the case including the lugs and bezel are brushed while the sides of the case and the lugs are polished to a sublime mirror like shine. The Calibre 3187 movement was an exciting prospect for Rolex watches at the time. It was one of the first models to utilise the Parachrom hairspring, Paraflex shock absorbers, Breguet overcoil and get stamped with superlative chronometer certification. 

The superlative chronometer certification entitles The Rolex Explorer II to a highly efficient +/- 2 seconds a day accuracy variance. The rapid setting hour hand allows you to quickly change times while on the road and the 48 hour power reserve is fairly solid. Just make sure you don't lose it down a perilous ice cave while out and about!


Final Thoughts on The Rolex Explorer II


The Rolex Explorer II is a stunning model which represents the zenith of Rolex’s utility models. Ideal for a military man in the field like Prince Harry.


Rolex Explorer II - Source - izmityuzme

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Designed to be worn in the toughest of situations due to its heritage going back to Rolex climbing Mount Everest in 1953, The Explorer II has been upgraded to a point where Prince Harry’s model is exceptionally legible due to the orange hand and maxi dial styling. 

There is also the unconfirmed chance that the Rolex Explorer II means more to Prince Harry than we could even comprehend. Rolex was given the unique opportunity to celebrate the UK Apache operations through the Rolex Explorer II. The update featured a caseback which had a Union Jack and an Apache helicopter, as well as the name of the Attack Helicopter Force Officer. Prince Harry was an operating Apache pilot during this time so there is every chance that he got his hands on one of 48 pieces released. Either way, this baby is a stunning watch and can be worn on the battlefield or on more formal occasions like giving your Dad a golden handshake during the Coronation of King Charles III. Unfortunately, you can no longer buy a Rolex Explorer II 216570 at retail due to it being discontinued.


Breitling Aerospace


If you’ve seen photos of Prince Harry at Prince William’s wedding or at the Diamond Jubilee Cathedral Service, you’ll have noticed the beautiful Breitling Aerospace adorned on his wrist. If he happens to lose his Rolex Explorer II, this will be a definite style substitute for his wrist wear during the Coronation of King Charles III.

Linking to Prince Harry’s past as a pilot in the military, the watch serves as a reminder of the aeronautical life he used to have. Plus, it's a great statement piece for the man in the Apache helicopter due to the Aerospace’s rich history. 


History of The Breitling Aerospace 


Undoubtedly part of the ‘Instruments for Professionals’ campaign that Willy Breitling and later Ernest Schnider revelled in, Breitling has always had its fingers in the aerospace industry and has proved worthy contenders in that domain. 



Breitling Aerospace - Source - Watch Space

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In the 1930s, Breitling was the go-to source for instruments used by those in the aviation industry. The highly reliable onboard clocks produced by Breitlings own HUIT Aviation department show the level of skill attained so early on. Suffice it to say, the Royal Air Force used them regularly, allowing Breitling to be a key provider of military hardware. 

The Navitimer was as all the rage during 1979 as Pink Floyd and the Sony Walkman when the baton was passed from Willy Breitling to Ernest Schnider then on to his son Theodore Schnider in 1994. The aviation collection still played its part in Breitling’s portfolio, however!

As such, in 1985, the Aerospace was released by Breitling. The watch was highly innovative for its time due to it being a multifunction quartz chronograph which utilised the latest gear that Swiss technology had to offer, such as a double display of both analogue and digital times and two LCD screens. 

It isn't short of a few functions either. Powering the hours, minutes and seconds display, a chronograph timing to a phenomenal 1⁄100 second, the highly useful alarm, countdown, second time zone and calendar, the watch was the ultimate timepiece for those who needed accuracy and assurance of everything to do with time. 

By simply altering the crown, all the functions could be managed by pulling or pressing the crown. By having all the functions so accessible and minimalist through the crown, the watch isn't any more bulky than it needs to be and instead comes across as sleek and understated. After all, he can’t take all the limelight when Charles III is anointed King.


Prince Harry’s Breitling Aerospace


The model Prince Harry has was granted to him by the military due to his loyal service as a combat pilot of an Apache helicopter. 


Breitling Aerospace - Source - Daily Mirror

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While retaining all the highly useful functions, this edition is crafted with an attack helicopter situated at 3 o'clock and the Army Air Corps Wings at 9 o'clock. The date functions are accurate to a length of 4 years, showing the longevity and precision that can only be achieved through military gear. The Breitling Aerospace is crafted out of titanium, ensuring both the durability and lightweight construction of a timepiece that has already seen plenty of wrist action before and no doubt after the Coronation of King Charles III.


Final Thoughts On The Breitling Aerospace


The Breitling Aerospace is a watch that holds a lot of meaning for Prince Harry. 


Breitling Aerospace - Source - Eonline

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Similar to his Rolex Explorer II, the watches are all military inspired which fits in with his previous career as a military man, particularly his role as an Apache helicopter pilot. While the Breitling Aerospace on its own accord is a highly durable watch with many utility functions, the military emblems such as the Army Air Corps Wings and the attack helicopter on the dial relate to his adventure-seeker lifestyle. 

While it may not appear to be a watch that should be worn during formal occasions, Prince Harry can be seen adorning this watch while on base in the army and simultaneously while supporting the Invictus games or even at his brother's wedding. Could we be surprised and see it worn during the Coronation of King Charles III? We’ll have our timekeeping spies on the ground in case.

You can no longer buy a Breitling Aerospace at retail due to it being discontinued at the time of writing.


Other Watch Options For Prince Harry


While it may seem like Prince Harry only has two watches in his watch portfolio, there are many other options he could go for to keep the military feel while also upgrading his wrist game when linking arms with Meghan Markle!


Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tech


One option we think he could go for is the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tech.


Fifty Fathoms Tech - Source - Horas y Minutos

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If you don't know by now, The Fifty Fathoms collection is the first modern dive watch that is highly revered by the watch collecting community, signalling the blueprint of future divers. Stemming back to 1953, it was designed for French Navy Divers to plunge new depths while still retaining top-notch accuracy and still ensuring the watch remained damage free.

The Blancpain Tech edition runs with this and is crafted at 47mm out of highly durable titanium. Suffice to say, if Prince Harry likes his titanium Breitling Aerospace, he will certainly love the stunning Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tech. Bold, loud and proud, perfect for Prince Harry’s character, we wouldn’t be surprised if we see this crop up during The Coronation of King Charles III…if he’s left his trustworthy Rolex Explorer on the plane.

You can buy a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tech at retail for £24,700 at the time of writing. 


Panerai Submersible Forze Speciali


Another option we feel might work for Prince Harry is the Panerai Submersible Forze Speciali. 


Submersible Forze Speciali - Source - Panerai

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Prince Harry’s models are all customised to support his career in the military so getting your hands on anything which has the same level of personal depth will be impossible. But this watch definitely ticks all the horological boxes. Looking as rugged as Rambo, The Panerai Submersible Forze Speciali however offers a 47mm beast which can cater to even the toughest military man. Crafted out of titanium, the watch offers many functions like minutes, small seconds, chronograph and Compteur de minutes. 

Crafted with the usual Panerai security on the movement, it has a Glucdur balance as well as an Incabloc anti-shock device in order to keep the movement steady during any altercations with the enemy. Did we mention the watch is given a caoutchouc verde militaire camo strap too alongside the camouflage inspired bezel and case design?

Limited to just 50 pieces, you can buy a Panerai Submersible Forze Speciali Experience at £47,500 at the time of writing.


IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX


How could we not include one of the best pilot watches of all time, The IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX. 


​​Pilot's Watch Mark XX - Source - ClothBase

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Released in 1948, its Mark 11 predecessor was developed purely for the navigators and the pilots of the British Royal Air Force. The latest IWC Mark XX model is an ode to the past yet offers upgrades such as an extremely durable stainless steel case, a 40mm case, a very modern green dial and a high contrast face due to the white indices and numerals. 

The calibre 32111 offers an incredible 120 hours of power reserve, allowing Prince Harry to lose it on the airbase and get it back with no interruptions to the time. The EasX-CHANGE strap system means Prince Harry can quickly change from the brown calfskin strap to a metal bracelet if the occasion requires it. And what better event to wear it at that may need a quick change than the Coronation of King Charles III. 

A flying man like Prince Harry will undoubtedly appreciate the skill and history of such a phenomenal aviation watch, especially since it has such strong ties to The British Air Force through its heritage and the fighter plane emblem on the back of the watch. Refined and elegant, it's a stunning piece which is fit for any street party or Coronation function.

You can buy an IWC Pilots Watch Mark XX at retail for £5,050 at the time of writing.




Although Prince Harry has a rather underwhelming watch collection as it is fairly limited, there are a few horological highlights that we must give props to. Chrono Hunter knows however that once you land your grail watch, life is complete and you can rest easy! The Rolex Explorer II with its arctic inspired dial is an immediate eye catcher, especially since it has military emblems on it too. 

Meanwhile, The Breitling Aerospace is one of the more interesting models due to other collections like the Top Time and the Navitimer taking precedence. It is understated but holds significant meaning to Prince Harry due to its military customizations and also because it's a classic Breitling model that would result in the onset of the highly lauded ‘Emergency’ models. 

If Prince Harry does ever check out our articles, he can be sure that we’ve selected some stunning models for him to cast his eye over during the Coronation of King Charles III. From the classic diving watch of the Fifty Fathoms Tech to the fighter pilot's dream, The IWC Pilots Watch Mark XX, he is more than spoilt for choice when it comes to military inspired watches!




Want to feel as cool as Prince Harry in his Apache helicopter? Think you should sharpen up your arm candy for the Coronation of King Charles III? Feel inspired by Prince Harry’s watch collection or have a review of the other options recommended through Chrono Hunter! Get in touch here and take a minute to read our phenomenal reviews on Trustpilot to see why you should buy a watch or sell a watch through us. Our team understands Breitling and Rolex inside and out. Receive multiple offers from our handpicked selection of trusted luxury retailers and save money the smart way.


Further Reading: 

Eight Of The Best Vintage Watches Right Now - IWC Portugieser, Tudor Submariner

Form And Technik: Genta-inspired IWC Ingenieur Back With A Bang At Watches And Wonders 2023



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