Some years ago, I received an old beat up watch from my wife... she told me that she received the watch from her uncle after they went through her Grandpa's estate following his passing. No one wanted it and she knew that I loved watches so asked if she could have it. The family said sure, as it was broken and in really bad shape....
What preceded was truly remarkable...
I got the watch as a gift from her and immediately recognized that there had to be a story behind it. The watch was said to have been worn by her grandfather during the 1940's... Upon inspection I noticed that is was a ROLEX.... What type of Rolex was made during the 1940's? Off i went to see what i could find out. I asked her family first, most of my wife's auntie's and uncles only remember him wearing it, but not really knowing where it came from... I then asked a friend of mine whom is a watch enthusiast and he his first question.... "where did you get that?"... haha.
I told him the story up to this point and he then really gave me some good intel when he noted that the watch I had was a Rolex Skyrocket from 1942 or 1943 on top of which that the model i had was only issued to Canadian Bomber Pilots during WW2 and that the pilots used Rolex's due to their reliability on timings. I was amazed and decided to go back to the family to tell them about it.
After a fascinating conversation we were able to determine that indeed he wore it during the raids / sorties he flew during WW2. On top of which the military had a rule that if you flew 12 missions and survived you didn't have to go up anymore as the survival rate was averaged at only 4 prior to being KIA. My wife's grandfather flew 11 and on the 12 mission he was to fly he became very ill that evening with a fever . He wasn't allowed to go up that night..... that night mission his crew was shot down and he lost everyone he had flown with. He never went up again after that.
So, what started as a dusty old watch that no one wanted, turned into a story of sacrifice, bravery and courage. After the war, he came home, became a lawyer, business owner, farmer, father and community ambassador and every time I where it, it reminds me of the sacrifices that were made for us to live in the amazing country.
I have cleaned it, put a new band on it and it's back in action to continue it's story.
Best gift i have ever received.