Pieces like this simply do not come along every day. In fact, I would call this pocket watch a piece with unparalleled historical significance, a truly special watch. Let me break it down for you. First off, the owner of this watch: Sir Winston Churchill. Enough said. Second, the occasion for the watch: a gift to Churchill in celebration of victory in World War II. Talk about a momentous occasion. Sotheby’s, who will auction the piece on Sept 22, notes that the watch was commissioned by a group of “prominent Swiss citizens” and was one of four given to leaders including Charles de Gaulle, Joseph Stalin and Harry S Truman, to commemorate Victory in Europe (“VE Day”, May 8, 1945).
On top of this, there is something that perhaps only watch enthusiasts and collectors will truly appreciate — the pocket watch was designed and made by Mr. Louis Cottier, inventor of the World Time system and arguably one of watchmaking’s most important figures. Louis Cottier’s World Time system was used by major names in the Swiss watch industry such as Vacheron Constantin, Rolex, and Agassiz and Co. (who Cottier also worked with on this piece) — but it was really Patek Philippe who made their mark with Cottier’s World Time. Indeed, everything from the Patek Ref. 96 HU Calatrava to the Ref. 515 HU to the famous Ref. 2523 HU with two crowns — all can be traced to the work of Louis Cottier. In other words, there is no less important person when it comes to a World Time watch than Louis Cottier (see “Did You Know” below for the full story on Louis Cottier and his impact on watchmaking).
These things said, I think there can be no argument as to the profound history and meaning of this watch. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?