Churchill Watch Brings $746,000
One of the most famous and historic watches in history went on the auction block this week and brought in a sum worthy of its heritage. The Victory Watch once owned by Sir Winston Churchill was the highlight of the Sotheby’s Watches sale on September 22 in London.
Churchill’s watch was crafted by Louis Cottier along with Agassiz and Co. to commemorate the end of World War II in 1945. Four watches were designed for the commanders of the Allied Forces that had emerged victorious over Hitler’s Nazi Germany. The timepiece presented to U.S. President Harry Truman featured the Statue of Liberty, while that of France’s Charles de Gaulle depicted Joan of Arc and the one for Joseph Stalin held the insignia of the USSR.
The yellow gold pocket watch presented to the British PM shows Saint George slaying a dragon with a trident and has a V for Victory engraved on the case back along with the dedication: “1939 – Prime Minister Winston Spencer Churchill – 1945.”
The whereabouts of the historic timepiece were shrouded in mystery following Churchill’s death in 1965. The watch resurfaced at Sotheby’s 20 years ago but the auction house chose this week as the perfect time to put it on the auction block. Not only is this 50 years after Churchill’s death, it also marks 70 years since the end of World War II. Sotheby’s described the watch as a “historical testimony to leadership and a symbol of courage.”
In this case, absence seems to have made the heart grow fonder for bidders who had a yen for this piece of history. The Victory Watch sold for $746,000 USD —eight times the expected price.
Although the auction included 204 lots from leading watchmakers and netted a total of £2.5 million for Sotheby’s, Sir Winston Churchill’s Victory Watch was the undisputed highlight of the day.