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The ‘Mariners’ watch featured in the 1996 Christmas special titled ‘Time On Our Hands’. Characters Del Boy and Rodney – whose classic line throughout the long-running series was ‘this time next year we will be millionaires!’- finally strike it rich in the episode.

They discover a watch that had been in their possession is in fact a John Harrison marine chronometer – the ‘Harrison Lesser Watch’ - which then goes on to sell at auction for £6.2m at Sotheby’s.

The TV prop, in a presentation case with certificates, had been purchased by the vendor from the Prop Store in London.

Auctioneer Chris Aston said: “The winning bidders registered on the morning of the sale in normal clothes but then a few minutes before the lot was up they walked into the saleroom dressed as Batman and Robin. I just wasn’t expecting it.”

The caped crusader and his sidekick references another well-known episode of Only Fools and Horses from the 1996 Christmas trilogy titled ‘Heroes and Villains’.

The winning bidders, who competed with two other bidders in the room way beyond a £10,000-15,000 estimate, run a skip company in Dudley and are big fans of the show owning three Robin Reliant vans - similar to Del Boy’s famous yellow three-wheeled van in the show.