AUSTIN HEALEY FOUNDER’S ROLEX
reading “For Donald Healey, Perranporth”.
“The Bonhams Bond Street Motor Car Sale presents a fantastic selection of motor cars, including two of the most important AustinHealeys ever offered. We’re delighted to announce the inclusion of Donald Healey’s personal Rolex to this exciting sale.” said James Knight, Bonhams Group Motoring Director. “To offer the Rolex Striped Prince, worn by the great man himself, plus his much loved everyday car – the 1953 Austin-Healey 100/’100S’ Coupe, and the 1959 Works Rally 3000 ‘SMO 746’ – is simply extraordinary.” Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams UK Head of Watches, also commented on the special rarity of this unique watch saying, “By paying homage to the art deco style of the 1920s and 1930s, Rolex Prince watches became an instant hit. Only a small number of the latterly developed ‘striped’ Prince watches, also known as the ‘Tiger Stripe’, were produced, making this model extremely rare. It’s unsurprising Healey chose to reward himself with such a timepiece, as these particular wristwatches were an excellent, but refined, statement of one’s success.”
The Prince model was introduced by Rolex in 1929 and continued until 1935. With a relatively short period of production, not many were produced and, as such, they were as exclusive in period as they are today. Each watch was supplied with a rating certificate of Accuracy from the Swiss government Observatory. It was unaffected by position or changes in temperature, problems that plagued lesser watches. Rolex say of the Prince that it was “limited to a relatively small number as such fine watches cannot be produced quickly or in large quantities”. This was the most expensive Rolex that was produced at the time except for the pure platinum. In contemporary adverts it was introduced as a watch for men of 'outstanding merit and distinction'. Quality did not come cheap and it retailed for £21.00 in 1929, a considerable sum in those days.