Dawsons Present Pocket Watch Gifted to Winston Churchill from H.H. Asquith

The watch comes complete with compelling provenance


Dawsons are thrilled to reveal a Sir John Bennett minute repeating full hunter pocket watch given as a gift to Winston Churchill, engraved "To Winston with gratitude H. H. Asquith Xmas 1905". This important piece is attributed to be a gift to Sir Winston Churchill from H. H Asquith for ‘crossing the floor’ from the Conservatives to the Liberals in May 1904, which contributed to the Liberal party subsequently gaining power in December 1905.


Winston Churchill Pocket Watch

 A Sir John Bennett of 65 Cheapside LONDON " Maker to the Royal Observatory" Minute repeating full hunter pocket watch

believed to be a gift to Sir Winston Churchill from H. H Asquith in 1905 for "crossing the floor" in 1904.


The watch comes with compelling provenance. Documents included in the sale confirm that this was purchased from Hennell Ltd. on the 14th of October 1983 by the Rt. Hon. David Cole, 6th Earl of Enniskillen. Hennel Ltd was one of London’s oldest silversmithing and jewellery manufacturers, founded in 1736, and frequented by European Royalty, including Queen Victoria and King George V. The Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor, was a Director at Hennell London at the time of the purchase in 1983. Further documentation reveals that the watch was passed down from the Earl of Enniskillen, within the family, to the present owner.


winston churchill pocket watch engraving 

Engraved "To Winston with gratitude H. H. Asquith Xmas 1905"


The watch itself was made by renowned watchmaker Sir John Bennett, clockmaker to the Greenwich Observatory, and is of fine craftsmanship. It is expertly hand-engraved with Winston Churchill’s coat of arms, with minute precision and correct for the period, without the honour of the order of the Garter which was not bestowed to Churchill until 1953.



The implications of this discovery are remarkable. Herbert Henry Asquith was a leading figure in the Liberal Party by the early 1900s, with significant influence.  Winston Churchill initially started his political career with the Conservative Party, but in 1904, he famously crossed the floor to the Liberal Party, due to his disagreement with the Conservative leadership's stance on tariff reform along with other policies and sided with the progressive wing of the Liberal Party, which focused on free trade and social reform.

“There is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.” Winston Churchill

The Liberal Party won a landslide victory in the general election of 1906, and Asquith became Chancellor of the Exchequer in the new Liberal government. Churchill, having won his seat as a Liberal MP, was appointed as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. This marked the beginning of Churchill's tenure in the Liberal government.


winston Churchill pocket watch coat of arms 

Hand-engraved with Winston Churchill’s coat of arms


Asquith became prime minister in 1908 and is widely credited for playing a prominent role in Chuchill’s career by promoting Churchill to the Cabinet as President of the Board of Trade. Lord Asquith’s daughter Violet became a close friend of Churchill’s and they are reported to have been in a relationship before his marriage to Clementine.


This remarkable piece of history and craftsmanship forms the highlight of our Fine Jewellery, Watches and Silver auction on Thursday 23rd May.

For further information, please get in touch with our expert team on: 0207 431 9445 / info@dawsonsauctons.co.uk