Rally Reward: The Austin-Healey Rolex

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Words by: JPS for duncan quinn

We love cool vintage watches as much as cool vintage cars. So when the two come together we feel it’s worth a squib.

To wit: the rare 1930s Rolex Striped Prince wristwatch owned by the great Donald Healey (1898-1988), founder of the Healey marque and manufacturer of Austin-Healey cars, being offered at Bonhams Bond Street Motor Car Sale in London on December 6th. The 9k gold timepiece, an Art Deco masterpiece in its own right, is inscribed on the reverse “Donald Healey, Perranporth” ( a reference to his place of birth) has been passed down through generations of the Healey family. Bonhams estimates it could sell for up to $20,000.

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Healey was a Royal Flying Corps pilot in WWI, and started racing cars in the early 1920s and ‘30s, winning seven Glacier Cups in the legendary Alpine Trials. At the time he worked for Triumph and designed the beautiful supercharged Triumph Dolomite, which he then drove in the Alpine Trial of 1936. The Rolex was a “reward to himself” for his rallying success, according to his grandson, Peter Healey. In 1945, Donald founded his own company building Healey cars, creating the Austin-Healey in the 1950s and the Jensen-Healey in the ‘70s. As a memento of the man who did so much for British motoring his Rolex is well worth a bid.

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Words by JPS for duncan quinn