Here in the Untied States it’s Memorial Day, when we remember those who have died in the line of military service. Today we thought we’d take a look back at two watches we’ve found over the years from storied military personalities, both generals in the United States Army during World War II. Despite serving alongside one another, the two gentlemen’s watches could not be more different, each reflecting a different facet of early 20th-century watchmaking.
General Douglas MacArthur’s Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso
One of the Reverso’s early selling points was its ability to be customized with something on the opposite side. This watch’s owner did just that, placing his bold monogram in black lacquer right in the center. That monogram reads “D Mac A” and belongs to none other than General Douglas MacArthur, who led U.S. forces in the Pacific during World War II. The watch itself has a beautiful black dial with large luminous Arabic numerals and sword hands. Without the story, it’s a very nice watch, with the story it’s a seriously incredible one.
The watch ended up selling to Jaeger-LeCoultre itself, no doubt destined for the museum back in Le Sentier, Switzerland. It sold for just over 87,000 CHF, no small price for a Reverso like this.
General George S. Patton’s Complicated Tiffany & Co. Pocket Watch
Back in 2015, this pocket watch hit the block at Heritage Auctions. It is a gold Tiffany & Co. watch with a complicated Patek Philippe movement inside (featuring both a five-minute repeater and a split-seconds chronograph) that belonged to General George S. Patton. The engraving reads “Lieut. George S. Patton U.S.A., from his Father and Mother, June 11 1909,” adding to the story and provenance. We spoke with General Patton’s grandson ahead of the auction to get some more insight into his grandfather and his watch.
And, in case you’re curious, the watch ended up fetching $137,000 and went to a bidder calling into the auction room.