Right, now pay attention 007. First, your new watch…
As if it was dreamt up by Q himself, Fellows Auctions recently shared with us news of a unique watch coming to their auction next month and if you like watches and gadgets, this one is going to be right up your alley.
Manufactured in the 1950s during the Cold War this incredible device includes an inbuilt hidden microphone and wire attachment, making it perfect for eavesdropping. German company Protona created the watch with the Minifon covert wire microphone attachment to assist secret services. These became available to the American market shortly after production. Now, featuring as Lot 433, the watch could fetch hundreds in Fellows Auctioneers’ sale of Online Watches & Watch Accessories on Tuesday 8th December.
The Protona spy device has an estimate of £140 - £200, and was cleverly created as a chronograph wristwatch. The edge of the watch includes an insert with a wire which can be placed and pulled through the sleeve of an individual, whilst being totally disguised to others. The wire would then connect to a recording device which would be placed and concealed over the shoulder of the wearer. The portable device could simply pick up voices with a one-hour recording time.
This quirky piece of espionage was specifically marketed at the time for police departments and intelligence organisations. The watch up for auction at Fellows has a stainless steel case and a stunning silvered dial with desirable aesthetics we see so often in vintage watches. Measuring 40mm, the design of the watch element of the device looks no different to that of a vintage timepiece.
Laura Bishop, Watch Manager at Fellows Auctioneers, said:
“This is the perfect opportunity to own a fascinating piece of espionage and an intriguing watch combined. I can only imagine some of the conversations that this device might have recorded. We have been unable to gain access to the movement of the watch to find out its exact condition, however, the dial is intact with no visible marks. History and watch enthusiasts alike won’t want to miss this one. I’m sure it will fly above its estimate.”
I’ll be honest, this got my ‘boys and toys’ heart pumping this morning when I saw this in my inbox. Not only is this a fascinating piece of history with a hidden agenda, it is also a stunning looking watch. Now, Fellows have said they haven’t been able to access the watch, however, they have said that inside the watch is just the recorder and microphone. In fact, if you look closely at the 'chronograph pushers' you can see that they're not pushers at all and actually are apart of the case.
At the time of writing this, there are no bids on the watch with starting bids opening at £130 which seems incredibly low considering how much marketability this piece offers. There is an example on eBay with the full kit to go with the watch with a buy it now of around £900, so if this floats your boat we’d recommend jumping over to Fellows to check it out. Here is a link. The auction is being held on the 8th December.