Churchill's WWII Victory Watch smashes estimate at Sotheby's
A unique victory watch given to Winston Churchill after WWII has smashed its estimate at Sotheby's in London.
Initially estimated at £60,000-£100,000 ($92,976-$154,960), the historic vintage pocketwatch soared to a final price of £485,000 ($751,556), making it one of the most valuable celebrity-worn watches ever sold.
Made circa 1945, the pocket watch was one of four unique timepieces gifted to Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Joseph Stalin and Harry Truman following the end of the Second World War.
The timepieces were commissioned by a group of prominent Swiss citizens, and produced in collaboration between Swiss company Agassiz and Co., and Louis Cottier, inventor of the World Time system and described as "arguably one of watchmaking’s most important figures".
Each of the designs was unique to their recipients. Churchill's watch bears an enamel dial depicting St. George slaying the dragon, and features an hour hand in the shape of a trident. The back of the watch case is engraved with a large ‘V’ for Victory together with a personalized inscription which reads “1939 – Prime Minister Winston Spencer Churchill – 1945”.
The Prime Minister received the watch along with a dedication from the Swiss: “The Happy Warrior, he inspired England with courage and endurance when she was alone, defenceless and in great peril, and led her through five years to victory."
Churchill is known to have treasured the watch for years, and once stated “I admire so much the care and the quality with which this delicate example of craftsmanship and Swiss precision was realised”.
Further notable results from the Sotheby's watch sale in London included a vintage Patek Philippe stainless steel chronograph wristwatch, made circa 1947, and a rare Vacheron Constantin platinum perpetual calendar minute repeating wristwatch, made in 1995, each of which sold for £125,000 ($193,700) respectively.
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