1957 - 2006: property of the family of Dean G. Witter
8 December 2006: Sotheby's New York "Important Watches and Clocks", lot 331, when acquired by the present owner
Dean G. Witter (1887-1969)
Dean Witter was born in Wausau, Wisconsin in 1887, as the eldest of six children. In 1891, his family moved to California and finally settled in Berkeley following the purchase of country land tracts in various areas of the state.
Dean Witter studied at the University of California and excelled both in school and sport. Following his graduation in 1909 he started as a salesman at the stock broker Louis Sloss & Co., his talent earning him the promotion to sales manager after two years only.
In 1914, Dean Witter and Charles Blyth founded their own firm, Blyth, Witter & Company from which he took leave to join the army at the outbreak of World War I. Serving in France, the infantryman Witter soon rose up to the rank of Capitan and was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action during the 1918 Meuse-Argonne Campaign.
After the war Dean returned to his firm Blyth, Witter & Co. in San Francisco, contributing to the steadily growing success before launching Dean Witter & Co. together with his brother Guy, their cousins Jean and Ed Witter and their brother-in-law Fritz Janney in 1924.
The firm's reputation was built on integrity and solid research and Dean Witter's motto "one customer at the time", resulting in flourishing business even during the years of the Great Depression following the 1929 stock market crash.
During World War II, Dean Witter served as Deputy Chief of Ordinance in San Francisco with the rank of Colonel, a title which suited him so well that for the rest of his life to many he was simply "The Colonel". The talented business man's interests went beyond business and he spent considerable time fishing and hunting not only in his homeland but also in India and particularly in Africa. A true philanthropist he wanted to share his adventures with those at home - the diaries of his enthralling journeys were published in the beautifully illustrated books Shikar, Meanderings of a Fisherman and Solo Safari, the drawings and photographs conveying an impression of Witter's warm personality.
In 1938, Dean Witter established its national research department, and in 1945, became the first retail securities firm to offer a formal training for account executives. During the 1950s and 60s, Dean Witter & Co. grew rapidly, establishing itself as a major U.S. brokerage house and developing a reputation for innovation in the securities industry. In 1962, the firm was the first to use electronic data processing - a feat that paved the way for securities handling on Wall Street.
Following Dean Witter's death in 1969 and the retirement of Guy Witter the following year, Jean Witter's son, William M. Witter, became CEO of Dean Witter & Co. In 1997, Dean Witter's parent company Dean Witter, Discover, Inc., merged with the investment banking house Morgan Stanley to form Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. The combined firm later dropped the Dean Witter name. In 2009, the Dean Witter retail operations were transferred to Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, a joint venture with Citigroup.
For many years, the company used the corporate slogan, "We measure success one investor at a time" which was later adopted by Morgan Stanley.
The memory of the philanthropist, big game hunter, war hero and financial icon Dean Witter is kept alive through The Dean Witter Foundation which, in his spirit, seeks to practice imaginative grant-making in the fields of finance and conservation.
His personal wristwatch offered here for sale is the perfect timepiece made by special order for a man like Dean Witter - given to him by his wife Helen in commemoration of their 40th anniversary in 1958, it represented everything her beloved husband stood for: the love for his family and a fulfilled life.
Please note that this watch is in yellow gold and not pink gold as stated in the title of the printed catalogue.
Cette montre est en or jaune et non pas en or rose comme stipulé dans le titre de la version imprimée du catalogue.
THE DEAN G. WITTER PATEK PHILIPPE REFERENCE 2438/1