Prince Harry may be a divisive figure, but he does own one hell of a Rolex… Prince Harry may be a divisive figure, but he does own one hell of a Rolex…

Prince Harry may be a divisive figure, but he does own one hell of a Rolex…

Luke Benedictus

In the wake of his new biography, Spare, we now know far too much about Prince Harry. We know, for example, that Harry had a frostbitten “todger” during his brother’s wedding to Kate Middleton. We know that Harry killed 25 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. We know that he lost his virginity in a field outside a busy pub to an older woman who rode him like a “stallion”.  We know that he’s taken a variety of psychedelic drugs and snorted cocaine (apparently he’d unroll the banknote and say “Hello Granny!” to the picture of the Queen before hoovering the line up).  The book is jam-packed with tawdry revelations.

Megan Markle’s other half has subsequently come in for a considerable amount of stick. There’s no doubt that Prince Harry experienced the horrible childhood trauma of suddenly losing his mother as a 12-year old boy. Or that he’s since endured the  strange psychodrama that is life in the royal family. Yet what grates for many is the hypocrisy of Harry’s constant bleating about press intrusion when he and his wife seem willing to tell all to anyone who’ll dangle a fat enough cheque – Netflix (a £112 million deal), Spotify (£30 million), Oprah and now Penguin Random House (£17 million in a four-book deal).  Above all, what grates is Prince Harry’s determination to pass himself off as a victim, when he’s clearly one of the most privileged people on the planet.

At T+T, however, we’ve always believed that you can learn a lot about a person from their watch. Forget the old adage of the eyes being the window to the soul.  From our perspective, the wrist is far more revealing.

Over the years, Prince Harry has variously been clocked wearing a Pulsar G10, Breitling Aerospace Avantage and a Casio G-Shock. But the watch that has enjoyed by far the most wrist-time is his Rolex Explorer II. As Bruce Dugay, a T+T contributor and owner of the Explorer II wrote here, this is a watch that is highly comfortable and ultra durable, The lume is spectacular – as befitting it’s original purpose as tool watch built for spelunking – plus it has a surprisingly vibrant dial to boot. With its 42mm, stainless-steel case, the Explorer II even made Bruce consider the previously unforeseen possibility that he could become a one-watch guy.

Price Harry Rolex

In short, the Explorer II is a highly commendable tool watch that’s impressive without being too flashy. It’s also a watch that’s compatible with Harry’s former life as a no-nonsense military man who, despite his great personal wealth, served in the British Army for 10 years, rising to the rank of Captain and undertaking two tours of Afghanistan.

Price Harry Rolex

But there’s also a possibility that this specific Explorer II might have additional meaning.

Rolex have long forged a strong connection to the military, producing special-edition pieces for members of specific military units. The Milsub, for example, was made for the British Ministry of Defense (MOD), the Turn-O-Graph for the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbird aerobatic squadron, and the Daytona for the Peruvian Air Force.

But in 2014, Rolex were commissioned to commemorate the UK Apache operations with an Explorer II. Given that Harry was an Apache helicopter co-pilot and gunner around this time, there is a possibility that his Explorer II might be this special commemorative edition.

Price Harry Rolex

Only 48 of these watches were initially produced for the unit, with each watch featuring a caseback finely engraved with an Apache helicopter with the Union Jack flag in the background, an issue number and the name of the Attack Helicopter Force Officer.

Price Harry Rolex

If this is the Explorer II that Harry does indeed own, it would therefore be rich with meaning. Far from being some sort of trophy watch or status symbol (something you hardly need when you’re bona fide royalty), it’s a military tool watch rich with memories from his time in active service. All of which makes it a formidable watch from every conceivable angle.

Harry may have become a wildly polarising figure of late, but when it comes to his watch he’s made an unimpeachable choice.