Longines C.O.S.D. “Tuna Can” British Military Wristwatch c.1945

Longines C.O.S.D. “Tuna Can” British Military Wristwatch c.1945


Stock Number: W0401 Category:

Longines C.O.S.D. “Tuna Can” British Military Wristwatch c.1945

These very rare and unique timepieces were originally thought to have been produced for British WW2 special forces and paratroopers for use during D-Day and Operation Market Garden.

However, this long-established theory now seems unlikely and it is now believed these watches may have been designed and issued for use by specialist underwater demolition teams.

The design of the watch, with its iconic oversized crown and “Tuna Can” waterproof casing, certainly lends itself to the notion it was manufactured for use in underwater activities.

The markings on the case back, C.O.S.D, stands for “Combined Operations Stores Depot”.

The Combined Operations Command was established in 1940 by Winston Churchill immediately after the evacuation of Dunkirk and its sole objective was to undertake offensive operations against the enemy via a combination of land, sea and air forces.

Full details regarding The Combined Operations Command can be found on their website, a link to which is as follows: https://www.combinedops.com/

Intriguingly, very little is known for certain about these wonderful watches and their specific history and purpose remain unclear. However, what we can be sure of is they are exceptionally rare and very difficult to find, especially in such lovely original condition as the example offered for sale.

A video regarding the history of the watch and its service by the renowned horologist, Simon Freese, can be viewed here on our YouTube channel.


Due to the increasing appreciation and awareness of these special watches, Longines has recently produced a homage watch based on the unique wartime design of the C.O.S.D “Tuna Can”. Naturally, this has further enhanced the interest and demand for good original examples, such as the one listed for sale.

The watch for sale is one of the very best examples you could ever hope to find and comes with an extract from the Longines archives.

The Longines C.O.S.D. “Tuna Can” is in wonderful overall condition having been recently serviced by our highly skilled and experienced horologist.
The dial is in beautiful overall condition with some wonderful radium burn to the dial.
The hands and crown are all correct to the original specification of the watch.
As expected, there is some tarnishing, marks and scratches to the outer casing of the watch, which is commensurate with age.
The 12.68N calibre movement is in excellent condition and is currently running well and keeping excellent time.

The watch comes complete with a free six-month warranty, two new NATO straps and a bespoke presentation watch box.

Diameter: 36mm (ex crown)