WWII ‘Dirty Dozen’ watches lead Fellows auction, Aug. 24  

A complete set of World War II wristwatches made for the British military, known among collectors as the ‘Dirty Dozen.’ Fellows image

BIRMINGHAM, UK – Fellows’ Luxury Watch Sale, taking place Aug. 24, contains a full set of rare World War II “Dirty Dozen” watches. These historic timepieces, all designed by different watch manufacturers, were commissioned by the British Ministry of Supply for the military.

The government needed watches that were suitable for the British Air Force and the Royal Navy. The watches were designed and delivered in 1944 and 1945, respectively.

The Dirty Dozen watches were created in limited supply. Certain manufacturers were only able to produce very few within their capabilities. It is believed that only 1,000 to 5,000 of the Grana watches were ever produced. Due to the scarcity of certain brands produced as part of this project, to own a complete set is rare. It is believed that there are only around 20 full sets of the Dirty Dozen watches in existence, with very few ever coming to sale on the open market. This particular set will feature in Fellows’ Aug. 24 Luxury Watch Sale, with an estimate of £25,000-£35,000 ($32,600-$45,700).

The Dirty Dozen watches will be sold with a stylish box perfectly fitting all 12 vintage timepieces. The watches are all in good condition, and they were acquired one-by-one by their owner over a period of a few years. All watches are currently working. The Dirty Dozen watch collection is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after sets by collectors. Perhaps the colloquial name for this set is derived from the 1967 film The Dirty Dozen, which has an all-star cast led by Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson.

“I am sure watch collectors will flock to view these precious timepieces. Our upcoming sale will be the first live, public auction of watches that we have held since March and we have an outstanding array of timepieces. To celebrate this auction, we are also offering a webinar with journalist Simon de Burton for free,” said Michael Jagiela, senior watch specialist at Fellows.