A Breitling Emergency watch, one of two which were worn on the first ever flight around the world in a hot air balloon, sold yesterday (July 23) in a Birmingham, UK auction.
In March 1999, Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard completed their historic 19 day flight around the world in a Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon. After 21 failed attempts from the would-be aviation pioneers - including Virgin boss Richard Branson - the British and Swiss team broke distance, endurance and time records to become the first men in history to complete the daring feat.
As sponsors of the flight, the Breitling company supplied both men with their own Emergency watch, which was originally intended for pilots and air crews stranded at sea. The multi-functional piece features a built-in microtransmitter, which broadcasts on the aircraft emergency frequency and can be activated by extending a hidden antenna, which will then broadcast for 48 hours with a range of 90 nautical miles.
Along with a signed and mounted piece of the record-breaking balloon, a signed copy of the duo's book on the flight and a signed Swiss first day cover stamp, the watch sold at the low end of its pre-sale estimate for £5,000.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a superb Longines Olympic Series wristwatch - a fantastic addition to your collection. For more of the latest from the world of watch collecting, visit our dedicated Watches & Jewellery news section.