Cor Blimey Friday is an occasional series that looks at cool and unusual watches that you simply don’t see every day. And here is something you would not normally see come to market in two months of Sundays, never mind one.
If you happen to have US$1.450m to spare and you want to own the pocket watch of one of the most important US Presidents of all time – that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, it is currently available on Ebay.
To put Roosevelt’s charisma into perspective, Sir Winston Churchill, voted the greatest ever Briton, was in awe of him.
Roosevelt, also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States (1933–1945) and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic depression and total war. A dominant leader of the Democratic Party and the only American president elected to more than two terms, he built a New Deal Coalition that realigned American politics after 1932, as his domestic policies defined American liberalism for the middle third of the 20th century.
This watch is one of a number of watches known to have belonged to FDR, two of which have been family heirlooms, with the exception of this watch and one other wristwatch the rest have been presentation gifts throughout his political career. Based on the significant amount of wear, the small monogrammed initials and the photo of his wife Eleanor, this watch is thought to have been his personal companion. Historical records have shown FDR wearing a pocket watch regularly into the early 1940s, and intermittently afterwards with the introduction of a wristwatch.
The pocketwatch is accompanied by the 1988 Sotheby’s catalogue with the family provenance information. A separate sales contract is available based on the terms finalised with the purchaser.
It’s more than possible that this pocket watch has kept the time during some of the most momentous and far reaching moments in 20th century history.
The Audemars Freres watch is an 18K Yellow Gold Four-Body Hunter with a radiating guilloche case. The watch is engraved and monogrammed with the initials “FDR”. The engine-turned gold dial features painted Arabic numerals, the subsidiary seconds are at 6 o’clock. The hands are blued Breguet style. The watch measures 55mm in diameter. The minute repeater is activated by push button on the body. The gold capped crown is worn through regular use. The back cover holds a photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt.
Incidentally, (Audemars Brothers) was a trademark of a Swiss company LIPPETZ J. Cie and should not be confused with the famous haute horology brand Audemars Piguet. Given that older Audemars Freres pocket watches of equal quality can be picked up for around $10,000, the FDR connection aside, the asking price is certainly ambitious.