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Dirty Dozen watch prices continue to climb

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A Grana field watch, one of the most sought-after members of the Dirty Dozen WWII timekeepers, sold for almost $38,000 earlier this month, proving the enduring and rising popularity of the military watches.

Collectors scour the planet trying to complete a set of Dirty Dozen watches, the simplest of timepieces made for the military at the end of the Second War by 12 different manufacturers to the same field watch specification.

There are believed to have been between 1,000 and 5,000 of the steel, manually wound watches produced by Grana, the smallest of the commissioned watchmakers.

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Bonhams sold the Grana for £31,800 at its Watches and Wristwatches auction this month.

Other results at the Bonhams Knightsbridge auction included:

Rolex Day-Date 18K white gold automatic calendar watch, circa 2002.

The classic Day-Date watch features a sunburst silvered dial and is formerly the property of internationally celebrated stage director and theater impresario Sir Peter Hall, Director of the National Theatre in London (1973 to 1988) and founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The watch dates to around the time that Sir Peter became involved with the Rose Theatre Kingston was offered with an estimate of £8,000- 12,000 and sold for £15,300.

A Rolex Day-date 18K white gold diamond set automatic calendar bracelet watch, circa 1993. Featuring a sunburst blue dial and diamond set hour markers, the timepiece was offered with an estimate of £12,000-18,000 and hammered for £16,575.

Penny Andrews, Bonhams head of watches in London, said: “We are thrilled to see the results of the sale, especially the ‘Dirty Dozen’ Grana, which is such a sought-after and rare watch to come to auction. With global bidders across 50 countries, the sale delivered strong results. It has been an extraordinary year for our Knightsbridge auctions with four of our top five highest hammer sales for the saleroom taking place in 2022. We have also seen the average watch price increase by 48% vs 2021 and maintained our traditionally strong sell through rate, averaging at 82% sold by lot for the year. The statistics are back in line with pre-pandemic volumes, and we remain the number one market leader across the UK within the watch category.”

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