Ernest Hemingway’s pocket watch

A room in Hemingway's favorite bar. Ernest Hemingway's pocket watch
A room in Hemingway’s favorite bar

The history of one watch: the mechanism of Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway’s pocket watch fell into the hands of Christie’s by accident. This is the case when an ordinary, at first glance, little thing brought with it an interesting history and belonging to a world-famous name. A watch appeared in the field of view of the auctioneers after the death of the French hotelier Charles Ritz.

Ernest Hemingway Pocket Watch
Ernest Hemingway’s pocket watch

As it turns out, Ernest Hemingway’s pocket watch has an unusual history.

Fate brought Charles Ritz and Hemingway together in Paris after the First World War. The heir to the Swiss hotel empire returned from the United States and took over the management of the Ritz Paris branch. At the same time, Hemingway arrived in the capital of France as a foreign correspondent, seconded to cover events on the Italian front.

Paris has always attracted bright and talented people. Hemingway, who settled in the 5th arrondissement, spent a lot of time at the Ritz, or rather, in a bar, drinking alcohol with friends. When the Nazi troops came to the city, the occupiers found another use for the hotel and organized their headquarters in it. For a long time, the writer could not set foot on the threshold of his favorite hotel. As soon as Paris was liberated, Hemingway, accompanied by familiar correspondents, rushed to the Ritz in a jeep and ordered champagne at the bar for everyone present.

Charles Ritz and Ernest Hemingway
Charles Ritz and Ernest Hemingway

The long-term attachment to the hotel was reinforced by the writer’s close friendship with the owner of the Ritz. So strong that in 1946 Charles Ritz attended the fourth and last wedding of Ernest. Then he presented a pocket watch as a gift. After Hemingway’s death, the widowed Mary Welch returned the clockwork to Ritz.

The friendship of Charles Ritz and Ernest Hemingway was “immortalized” – in 1994, the Ritz officially renamed the hotel bar to Bar Hemingway and placed some of the writer’s personal belongings in a separate corner. And the writer’s watch was sold at Christie’s on December 12 of this year for $43,000.

Hemingway and Mary Welsh. Ernest Hemingway's pocket watch
Hemingway and Mary Welsh
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