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Rare German WWII watch set to sell for over $12,000

The watches were issued to air crews before each flight and used to accurately tell the time on missions.

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The A. Lange & Söhne German military issue pilot watch head was made circa 1942 and valued at £7,000 - £10,000. (Fellows Auctioneers via SWNS)

By Adam Dutton via SWNS

A rare watch worn by Luftwaffe pilots in World War Two which spent 75 years gathering dust in a desk drawer in Coventry, England is set to sell for up to £10,000 (over $12,000).

The Nazi timepiece was made by renowned watch makers A. Lange & Söhne in the early 1940s, who supplied the German air force.

The watches were issued to air crews before each flight and used to accurately tell the time on missions.

Pilots set their watch to the standard time of the German Naval Observatory after receiving a signal beep from the airbase.

The watch was taken as a souvenir by Royal Engineer William Albert Holyoake, known by his family as Bill.

When he returned to England and back to his home city of Coventry, he put the watch in his desk drawer which he kept locked.

Following Bill’s death last year, his family came across the watch while sorting through his belongings.

Birmingham-based Fellows Auctioneers are selling the watch next month which they expect will fetch between £7,000 and £10,000 ($8,444- $12,063).

The A. Lange & Söhne German military issue pilot watch head was made circa 1942 and valued at £7,000 - £10,000. (Fellows Auctioneers via SWNS)
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Watch Cataloguer Kain Holroyd said: “Because the watches were returned after each mission and never owned by the air crews, they were never passed down or sold after the war.

“For this reason they are rare and valuable.

“Bill’s family said he rarely spoke about his time overseas during the war, but it was believed he collected the watch and other items while in Central Europe.”

Bill signed up for military service in August 1944 and served as a sapper for The Royal Engineers.

After the war he returned to Coventry and locked the watch away with other family treasures in 1947.

The watch has large, luminous numbers to help the pilots flying at night.

It is one of 6,904 Beobachtungs-uhren (B-Uhren) watches made by A. Lange & Söhne from 1940-1945.

It will go under the hammer on August 8.

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