The Churchill Dot: A Visit to Turnbull & Asser

Turnbull exterior

Back in my undergraduate days I spent a summer at Oxford. I would make day trips to London and knock about, visiting museum and window shopping. It was one one of those trips I bought my first bow tie, an unlabeled tie from Harrod’s. It was a variation of what has become known as the Churchill dot, named, of course, after the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who made it his trademark. A fellow student at Exeter College from Yale—he was having a bespoke sport coat made that summer—taught me how to tie my bow. And I haven’t looked back.

My old Harrod's bow has seen better days.

My old Harrod’s bow has seen better days.

That bow tie was the start of a collection that would grow over the years, but because it was such a standard and so versatile I wore it as often as I could. That is until a few years ago when I noticed that the silk on it had been stressed to the point where it needed to be retired. Since then I’ve kept my eyes open for a suitable replacement.

My new Churchill dot bow tie.

My new Churchill dot bow tie.

Since it was a Churchill dot that I desired, I decided to go to the original source. Jermyn Street’s legendary Turnbull & Asser supplied Churchill’s bow ties (as well as his shirts, dressing robes, and those onesie jumpsuits he also turned into a trademark). I decided they would supply my Churchill dot, too.

Last week I had a day in London, and made a visit to Turnbull & Asser a top priority. It was sale time on Jermyn Street, including at T&A, but the Churchill bows were not marked down. Still, I went downstairs and picked out my Churchill dot, happy to have the right replacement for my old friend. (And behold, Vanity Fair prints–an exciting find for a collector like myself.)

Down the stairs at Turnbull & Asser -- Vanity Fair prints!

Down the stairs at Turnbull & Asser — Vanity Fair prints!

Curiously similar construction.

Curiously similar construction.

Curiously, my unlabeled Harrod’s tie looks similar in construction to the T&A. The grosgrain connector, the hardware, and the “Made in England” label point to the likelihood the Harrod’s bow emerged from the Turnbull & Asser factory.

It seems I’ve had a Turnbull dot all along.

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