Churchill's pocket watch

Churchill's pocket watch with the message To Winston with gratitude H.H. Asquith Xmas 1905. It sold for £76,000 at Dawsons. 

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Both men went on to become prime ministers: Asquith as leader of the Liberal Party in 1908-16 and Churchill for the Conservatives in 1940-45 and 1951-55.

Why the watch was gifted is down to Churchill’s act to ‘cross the floor’ in 1904 from the Conservatives to the Liberal Party. Churchill disagreed with the Conservative leadership’s stance on tariff reform along with other policies and instead sided with the progressive wing of the Liberal Party, which focused on free trade and social reform. The Liberal Party gained power a year later and Churchill served the party until 1908.

The gift from Asquith was to acknowledge this bold move and the pocket watch is inscribed on its inner case: To Winston with gratitude H.H. Asquith Xmas 1905 and engraved with Churchill’s coat of arms on the outer case.

2646 Webpv Churchill Pocket Watch 2

The pocket watch was engraved with Churchill's coat of arms. It sold for £76,000 at Dawsons. 

The watch was originally purchased by Asquith from the clock and watchmaker Sir John Bennett (1814-97). By 1983 it had been bought from silversmith Hennell by the Countess of Enniskillen for her husband, before then being given to another family member in 1997. It came to the auction by descent.

The full hunter pocket watch was made from 18 carat gold and carried an estimate of £20,000-30,000 at the Dawsons' sale on May 23.