Sir Winston Churchill’s unique and historically important yellow gold World time Victory watch, Agassiz and Louis Cottier, circa 1945. Estimate: £60,000 – 100,000. Sold for: £485,000. Photo: Sotheby's
LONDON.- Today at Sotheby’s London, a unique Victory Watch commissioned for the great Sir Winston Churchill sold for £485,000, 8x the low estimate. It is one of four individual watches created for the Allied Leaders after the Second World War - the others presented to Charles de Gaulle, Joseph Stalin, and Harry Truman. Today, exactly 70 years after the end of WWII and 50 years after the death of one Britain’s greatest leaders, this watch is more than an exquisite masterpiece of horology, it is both an historical testimony to leadership and a symbol of courage.
The watch features a distinctive enamel dial showing St. George slaying the dragon, with a trident as the hour hand. As a symbol of the victory of good over evil, of brightness over darkness, as though Churchill has been reimagined as Britain’s modern day saint. ‘V’ for Victory is proudly engraved on the back of case together with a personalized dedication: “1939 – Prime Minister Winston Spencer Churchill – 1945”.
Commissioned by a group of prominent Swiss citizens in acknowledgement of Churchill’s strength and leadership during WWII, the watch was much treasured by Churchill. On receiving the watch in 1946, he wrote to thank the group for their “superb gift”, saying it would always remind him of their “beautiful country” and “friendly feelings”.
This exceptional timepiece was designed by the leading watch maker Louis Cottier, in collaboration with the distinguished manufacturer Agassiz and Co. Cottier invented the intricate the “Heure Universelle” (World Time) mechanism and this vintage piece, in beautiful condition, is an important and extremely rare of this type. Additionally, Cottier made the same complication for some of the most celebrated manufacturers such as Patek Philippe, Rolex and Vacheron Constantin.