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Estimated at £30,000-40,000, it came down to battle between two telephone bidders at the auction.

The watch came to auction with intriguing backstory of its ownership.

The vendor is the son of a British soldier who fought during the war. The soldier, George H Rowson, acquired the watch from a Kampfschwimmer (German frogman), during a thwarted attempted by the German forces to destroy the important Nijmegen Bridge in the Netherlands, in September 1944.

It has remained in single ownership since it was passed down to Rowson’s son and has been worn only a few times.

The watch comes with a hand-written account of the event by Rowson, and even a section of the rubber diving suit acquired from the German soldier.

soldier GH Rowson

British soldier GH Rowson, who acquired a watch from a German frogman trying to blow up the bridge at Nijmegen in 1944. That Panerai Italian Second World War military diver watch sold for £41,000 in the Fellows Sale.

The watch, lot number 188 in the Fellows sale, has a hand-carved inscription on the reverse detailing the British soldier’s name, rank and the year the piece was acquired.

This model of Panerai watch was initially intended for the Italian Decima MAS (Decima Mezzi d'Assalto, or 10th Assault Vehicle Flotilla) but was also used by the Germans. They were made c.1941-43.

Rare wrist watches have been achieving high hammer prices in recent months, including a Rolex Milgauss sold by Fellows for £110,000 in November 2017.