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A Rolex worn during WWII 'Great Escape' up for grabs

Christie's expects the timepiece to fetch between $200,000 and $400,000 at auction

The Rolex Stainless steel chronograph wristwatch, worn by RAF Lt. Gerald Imeson, is on display at Christie's New York. (AFP)

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A Rolex watch worn by a British prisoner during the real-life "Great Escape" from the Nazi Stalag Luft III concentration camp is going on sale in New York.

Christie's expects the timepiece to fetch between $200,000 and $400,000 at auction on 9 June.

The watch was worn by Gerald Imeson on the night of 24 March 1944 when a group of Allied soldiers undertook the daring escape that inspired the 1963 movie starring Steve McQueen.

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The steel watch with a black luminous dial and hands was "instrumental in the planning and execution" of their bid for freedom, Christie's said.

The auction house said it believed Imeson's watch helped calculate the time it would take the prisoners to crawl through tunnels used in the breakout as well as timing the patrols of the camp guards.

Imeson wore the Oyster Chronograph watch as he waited 172nd in line to escape, according to Christie's.

Of the 200 prisoners who participated in the plan, 76 briefly escaped. Imeson was not among them. All but three of the men were captured and 50 were executed.

Imeson was liberated from another POW camp at the end of the war in 1945.

He wore the watch until his death in 2003 at the age of 85. It was first auctioned in Britain in 2013.

Another luxury watch with history is on offer. According to a Bloomberg report, New Orleans gallery M.S. Rau is selling swanky one-of-a-kind Elvis memorabilia. Items include a diamond-studded gold watch once-worn by Presley, priced at $495,000. The Swiss-made Ebel wristwatch includes a 14-carat yellow gold jagged wristband and a square clock face encircled by 26 round white diamonds. In 1974, he gave the watch to American gospel singer J.D. Sumner whose band toured with Presley until his death in 1977.

Other items include a blue lapis cabochon ring set in 14-carat yellow gold which Presley gave to his bodyguard, priced at $24,850, states the Bloomberg report. “The jewelry is classic Elvis. A big gold nugget, heavy and over-the-top, as far away from conservative as it gets,” said M.S. Rau owner Bill Rau.

Also read: Want Elvis' diamond watch? You just need $495,000

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