Geneva, May 15, 2023

LOT 319


CHF 60,000 - 100,000

EUR 62,000 - 102,000 / USD 68,000 - 114,000 / HKD 540,000 - 890,000

A very fine, rare, attractive, manual wind, stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with black dial

Grading System
Grade: AAA


Case: 3-8


Slightly scratched

Movement: 3 *
Dial: 3-7-8-55-01-05



Slightly scratched

Luminous material reapplied

HANDS Original

HANDS Luminous material reapplied

Brand Rolex, Switzerland

Model "Monoblocco"

Reference 3525

Year circa 1941

Case No. 185985

Bracelet leather with a stainless steel Rolex buckle

Diameter 35 mm.

Caliber 13'''

Signature Dial, case (with engraving) and movement signed


Brownlee was born January 9, 1915, son of the late George Lewis and Elizabeth Caldonia Plemper Brownlee. He was a veteran of Air Force, Bombandier WW II in the 303rd Bomb Group. German Prisoner of War.

On October the 11th 1942, the B-17 Flying Fortress 41-24582 named the “One O’Clock Jump” (that is the name of the plane) was assigned out, again on October 16th and December 12th. The last was a bomb mission on a German air depot in France but the weather caused problems. The plane ended up being assigned to bomb the marshaling yards at Rouen/Scotteville. Their aircraft went into a spin from German attack and crashed near Fontainebleau, France. Leon had bailed out while serving as Navigator on the December 12th mission. He and the others on the aircraft became prisoners of War and was later sent to a German POW camp at Stalag 7A in Moosburg, Bavaria. He was finally freed on April 30th 1945.

Rolex and Prisoners of War
Surviving past documentation shows that Rolex (and perhaps other watch factories) were engaged in the regular supply of watches to men incarcerated in Prisoner of War camps although this was probably limited to just one or two "model" camps such as Stalag Luft III, which was regarded as very civilised internment. How the prisoners chose their watches is not known and the officers, presumably because of the cost, were the main purchasers. The present watch was valued by Rolex at 250 Swiss Francs in 1943 although the purchasers were told that they would not be expected to pay until after the war. The supply of these watches to the prisoners was very enterprising of Rolex although not without obvious financial risk, by doing this they were helping the war effort and at the same time knowing that the watches given to the prisoners were very likely to be paid for after the war by those who survived. This enterprise also gave Rolex another opportunity for testing their products in extreme conditions, this is evident because in surviving correspondence Rolex always asks how the watch has performed for the wearer.