Gary Oldman won his first Oscar for Best Actor at the 90th Academy Awards Ceremony earlier this week for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the Darkest Hour. Oldman played the former British Prime Minister to much aplomb and even used a replica of the Breguet No. 765 “Turnip” pocket watch that the brand reincarnated for the film.
Churchill inherited the timepiece from his grandfather, John Spencer Churchill, the 7th Duke of Marlborough, who was also an ancestor to Princess Diana. Originally commissioned in 1890, the rattrapante minute repeater chronograph with an enamel dial, boasts a prominent chain at the waist that can be seen in many of the most iconic images from World War II. You can find the original Breguet pocket watch inside The Churchill War Rooms at The Imperial War Museum in London.
Recently, we had the chance to go hands-on with the replica watch that Oldman carried throughout the film and had a few short observations. It’s much, much smaller than it appears in the famous war-time images of Churchill. I wasn’t able to record an exact measurement when viewing the watch (where’s a caliper when you need one?), but an approximate size comparison would be the dimensions of an average soda can.
It’s also surprisingly beat up given its short lifespan. This is the rare case where having a scratched case is actually a positive. It’s much more compelling knowing that Oldman was on set using the watch like it was meant to be — as a daily companion — rather than as a decorative prop. After talking with some Breguet representatives, I was also surprised to find out that this was a completely organic collaboration. There was no payment between the brand and the film studio as Breguet simply wanted to provide Oldman with an authentic representation of the timepiece.