Sir Winston Churchill may not have been the obvious choice for British Prime Minister, butcertainly was his. Taking office during the Second World War, Churchill was just one of many high profile figures to select as his preferred watchmaker. A lifelong patron of the brand, Sir Winston Churchill wore his beloved Breguet No. 765, affectionately known as “The Turnip”, all his life. A replica of this exceptional rattrapante chronograph was made specifically for the film ‘Darkest Hour’ by the House of , and worn by Gary Oldman as the Prime Minister. He won the lead actor Oscar at the 90th annual Academy Awards Sunday night for his performance as Winston Churchill.
The Breguet No. 765, with minute repeater and split-second seconds hand was commissioned in 1890 by Churchill’s grandfather, John Spencer-Churchill, the 7th Duke of Marlborough. It became Churchill’s faithful timekeeper which he would use in favour of all clocks, much to the distress of both his family and manor staff. However, the 765 was not his only Breguet. Churchill was a frequent visitor to the House, sometimes to make purchases and other times to have his pieces serviced. Like many men of his stature, the pocket watch was favoured over the wristwatch, which was becoming fashionable and considered the more practical choice by today’s standards; yet as a testament to Abraham-Louis Breguet’s keen eye for refined aesthetics, the unmistakeable Breguet style codes engineered in the 18th century continue to be honoured today.
The original Breguet No. 765, sits proudly on view at the Churchill War Rooms in London, as part of the Imperial War Museum, still in perfect working order.