A Rolex watch worn during World War II is being sold for $48, 000.
The Rolex Oyster Chronograph watch was worn by one British prisoner during the infamous “Great Escape.” Flight Lieutenant Gerald Imeson ordered the brand new watch in 1942 despite being held in the Stalag Luft III camp in Germany. Imeson was imprisoned on October 1941 at the Stalag Luft III after his plane was shot down returning from a bombing raid on Cologne.
He was wearing the watch as he aided in the digging of three tunnels for their escape attempt. Unfortunately, the German guards discovered the break-out. Only four were able to escape out of the 76 who attempted to escape. Fifty of them were executed. The event was immortalized in the 1963 film The Great Escape starring Steve McQueen.
F/Lt Imeson also wore the watch to evade the advancing Russians in Germany in 1945. He was able to survive and returned to Britain in 1947. He then paid his bill of $273 or about $8,000 today. Imeson kept the watch until he died in 2003 at the age of 85. His last wish was for the watch to be sold one day so his family could benefit from it.
“PoWs generally had their watches confiscated by the Germans on the excuse that they may have contained hidden compasses that could have helped in an escape,” claimed Martin Perrin from the auction house. “When the owner of Rolex heard that PoWs were having their watches taken from them by the Germans he said British officers could replace them with a Rolex and not be billed until after the war.”
The watch is priced between $29,000 and $48,000 at an auction to be held on November 6th at Bourne End Auction Rooms, west of London.
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