This wrist watch was first given by Harry Vardon to Arthur Brown, a close friend and successful business man, as a lucky charm, when the latter enlisted with the B.E.F (British Expeditionary Force) at the start of the First World War, Brown, a familiar figure at major championships, was Vardon's companion at many of the champion's victories.
In 1939, Arthur Brown gave this watch, with the same sentiment, to the vendor on volunteering as a pilot in the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of the Second World War. As a squadron and wing leader, the vendor subsequently survived three successful tours of operational flying, including command of the Royal Air Force's top-scoring fighter squadron in the Battle of Malta in 1942.
Vardon's original gift thus 'survived' the fighting in two World Wars.
Brown's influence with Vardon was important. In the recent biography of the champion by Audrey Howell, The Revealing Story of a Champion Golfer Stanley Paul, London 1988, the author refers to Vardon's win in the Open at Sandwich of 1911 (his fifth victory out of six) and illustrates the relationship. Vardon, having indulged himself rather too well at lunch on the last day, took 80 in the final round to allow Arnaud Massy to tie with him. In the play-off over 36 holes the next day, Brown saw to it that his man did not repeat his mistake after the morning round. Taking Vardon away from the course, he would only allow him a chicken wing and a cup of tea for lunch. A plea for whisky was denied. Vardon's play was so convincing after the interval that the Frenchman surrendered on the 35th green. When the news got out that the champion had only had a chicken wing for lunch, a St. George's member was heard to mutter 'whatever would have happened if he'd eaten the breast!..