A glow-in-the dark Rolex helped British airmen make the real-life Great Escape, it has emerged, as the watch sold for more than £150,000.
It was owned by Flight Lieutenant Gerald Imeson, who was imprisoned in the Axis-controlled prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft III after his Wellington bomber made an emergency landing off the coast of Belgium.
During the escape attempt that inspired the 1963 film, he was responsible for bringing dirt from the tunnels being secretly dug and sprinkling it across the camp.
The Rolex had radium hands which meant they could be seen in the dark, as well as a waterproof case. It is thought to have played a key role helping prisoners flee the war camp.
Christie’s, the auction house, said a precise and reliable timing device which could be seen in darkness would have been needed to ascertain how long men had to crawl through the tunnel and evade guards.