Cold War spy 'watch' comes out of the shadows
Who isn't intrigued by even the mere mention of spying and espionage?!
We have a rare and desirable bit of Cold War surveillance kit in our specialist Jewellery & Silver Sale on 28 May that really sparks the imagination.
Masquerading as a watch, the device contains a tiny microphone with an attached cable that would have run up the side of the wearer's arm. Using hair-thin magnetic wire, it was able to pick up and record sound and was widely used by under-cover agents in the Cold War period.
Revolutionary at the time, it utilises recording technology developed by Protona - a small German company - and was widely used by secret services around the world, including the Russian KGB, German BND and the CIA.
Nor did it come cheap, in the mid 1950s this Bondesque accessory sold for around 350 Deutsche Marks, which converts to around £1,400 in today’s money. The watch carries a price estimate of £300 - £400 so if it sells for anything like that amount then someone will get an absolute bargain, plus their own bit of fascinating Cold War history. Who knows what it has seen and heard?
Also featured in the sale are a number of Russian pieces from further back in time. A fine silver-gilt snuff box made in Moscow in 1792 carries a price estimate of £2,000 - £3,000 and an elegant silver-gilt and Niello flute also from Moscow c.1830 is estimated to reach £600-£800.
More than 500 items are being presented at the ‘Internet only’ sale that includes jewellery, silver, coins and watches. Other highlights include jewellery from iconic makers such Tiffany and Van Cleef & Arpels, as well as silverware by Georg Jensen.