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9th Jul 2024
Rare Rolex 3525 chronograph watch belonging to Capt D Mackenzie

A rare wartime Prisoner of War Rolex watch is part of a fascinating lot featured in Keys Fine Art Auctioneers’ three day Summer Fine sale on Wednesday 24th, Thursday 25th and Friday 26th July.

The Rolex 3525 was purchased direct from the manufacturer by Capt Douglas Mackenzie of the Royal Artillery while in a prisoner of war camp in Germany, after he was captured in June 1940 during the final defence of St Valery in northern France.  The watch was delivered to Mackenzie via the Swiss Red Cross.

Featuring a stainless steel oyster case, screw down crown and a manually wound Valioux movement, the watch cost 315 Swiss francs in 1942 – equivalent to just over £1,000 today.

Very few of the watches were made – no more than a few hundred.  Rolex did not require immediate payment; officers were trusted to settle their account once the war was over.

The lot also includes Mackenzie’s medals, prisoner of war dog tags and the diaries he kept as a prisoner of war, which include a vivid account of his liberation in June 1945, an event which included he and his fellow prisoners being attacked by two American P-51 aircraft which mistook them for German troops while they were on a forced march.

The collection, including the watch, has a pre-sale estimate of £15,000-£20,000.  More details at www.keysauctions.co.uk.