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Longines ‘Tuna can’ timepiece, £8800 at Gardiner Houlgate.

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To the reverse are the military arrow and Company Ordnance Supply Depot issue markings C.O.S.D. 2340.

The exact use of these watches (recently the subject of a heritage ‘homage’) is unclear. At one time they were thought to have been made for special forces and paratroopers for use during D-Day and Operation Market Garden. However, they were more probably designed and issued for use by specialist underwater demolition teams.

The example offered by Gardiner Houlgate on February 24 had its original crown and the original dial complete with hand shadows at five and eight that are testimony to many years in storage. Estimated at £8000-12,000, it took £8800 (plus 20% buyer’s premium).