7 1950s Watches As Prince Philip Retires From Public Engagements After 65 Years

Prince Philip

We couldn’t let today go by without mentioning that 96-year old Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and long serving husband and consort to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, attends his last official solo public engagement today before finally retiring. As Captain General of the Royal Marines, the Duke will attend a parade to mark the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge, a series of strength and endurance challenges raising funds and awareness for charity.

Since he started his royal duties in 1952, he has attended a remarkable 22,219 solo engagements – an engagement of some kind almost every day. He has made 5,496 speeches, is Patron, President or Member of 785 organizations, and four million people have taken part in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme which he himself devised. Other than the Queen, he has probably met more people from around the world than anyone alive today.

On announcing his retirement earlier this year, the royal consort – a job he has held for 72 years – was praised for his years of service, with British Prime Minister Theresa May offering the country’s “deepest gratitude and good wishes”.

Prince Philip’s Quotes

Describing himself as ‘the world’s most experienced plaque unveiler’, in his many years on tour around the world performing royal duties, straight talking, ebullient Prince Philip has been known to utter some amusing and often embarrassing passing remarks to the many thousands of dignitaries or members of the public he has met.

In 1969 in Canada at a royal event he announced: “I declare this thing open, whatever it is.”

To a young lad who told him he dreamed of being an astronaut when he grew up he remarked: “You’re too fat to be an astronaut.”

To a Scottish driving instructor he asked: “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough for them to pass the test?”

Describing his own former Olympic equestrian daughter, Princess Anne, he observed: “If it doesn’t fart or eat hay she’s not interested.”

“Still throwing spears?” he inquired of an Australian Aborigine during a royal visit.

I was introduced to him briefly at a Singapore garden party at the British Embassy in the 1980s, and he said simply: “So what the hell are you doing here?”

Best dressed


Despite being in his mid-90s, Prince Philip was still recently voted as one of the best dressed men in the world by GQ magazine. Many of his impeccably tailored Savile Row suits are over 60 years old, and he has barely put on any weight in all those years. The average British male waist size in the 1950’s was 28 to 30 inches. Nowadays its 34 to 36 inches.

Wrists were obviously considerably slimmer too, hence the smaller watch sizes of the era. The 1950s was a golden age for watchmaking with some classic and enduring models on offer.

It’s not known which watch Prince Philip favored in the 1950s, but it’s likely to have been from one of the top Swiss brands. Here are some examples of those watches, way back in the day when Prince Philip first began making public appearances on his own.

Watches from 1952



Beautiful 33mm watch running on an early 710 caliber with 17 jewels.



Dating from 1952 this 34mm stainless steel Omega Seamaster features the white dial with the cross hairs going from 12 to 6 o’clock and 9 to 3 o’clock. The watch runs on an automatic Omega caliber 354.



A 33mm watch with white satin finish, the dial features a sunken date aperture and sweep second. The watch is powered by an automatic caliber 27-460m with a solid gold rotor. Estimated at $15000- $20000



Powered by a High Grade JLC Cal.P489/1 Hand Wound Movement with a 40 hour power reserve, features an alarm function which has a loud buzz which lasts for 15 seconds and which can also be felt on the wrist.



The watch was originally introduced in 1950 and retailed by Swiss family jewelers Türler, one of the few remaining privately owned businesses in the watch and jewelry trade, with a history going back 130 years. This model is from 1952, it’s a 32mm watch in 18k gold.



With a width of 35mm, this watch features a triple calendar and a moon phase.



This watch, while elegant, may have been a tad too lowly for a Prince of the realm, but it was ‘Made in England’ which is a rarity these days.  Produced by the Smiths Watch Company in the 1950′s it shows all the best attributes of English watchmaking with blued steel hands on a clear dial with a red filled tip center seconds hand and raised numerals. Even the movement was made in the UK.

Main Photo at top by cheekylorns / BigStockPhotography