WWII frogman watch tops £40,000 in Glasgow



2016-09-26 09:30:55

A rare military watch worn by WWII frogmen has sold for more than £40,000 at auction in Glasgow.

The Panerai Type D Model 3646 Military Wristwatch was only issued to elite divers from the Italian Navy, and today is a highly sought-after collector's item.

The watches were originally made between 1941 and 1943 by the Italian manufacturer Panerai, with just 618 examples ever produced.

They were used by Italian frogmen, whose job it was to destroy Allied ships using limpet mines and submersible torpedoes known as 'pigs'.

The watches featured luminous dials, which could be easily read underwater during covert night missions, and were built using precise Rolex movements, which were vital to time explosive detonations.

The watch was discovered during a routine house call by auctioneer Claire Godwyn, who told the Glasgow Evening Times:

"It was initially a deceased estate. The lady dealing with it was her next door neighbour. She asked me to look at a few things. Then she pulled out this watch and said, 'is this anything?'

"Military watches are interesting but I didn't know anything about it. When you see it most people wouldn't give it a second thought. They're very plain looking watches.  There's nothing on it to say it's a Rolex - it's only when you open it up all that information is revealed.

"When you find something like that you get a feeling, but it's only when the information starts coming back from interested parties who are very excited that it starts a buzz within the auction house."

Interest from collectors of both watches and WWII memorabilia was high prior to the sale, as were expectations – with previous examples having fetched more than £50,000 elsewhere.

Offered with a starting price of £5,000 - £8,000, the watch eventually sold at Great Western Auctions for an impressive £44,000 ($56,930).

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