Longines C.O.S.D. British Military Wristwatch c.1945
Originally, the “Tuna Can” variant of these very rare and unique timepieces was 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.
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.
The example for sale features a fabulous original dial and handset with a stainless steel Dennison case. Interestingly, the watch was later re-issued to British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) personnel. This is confirmed by the markings on the reverse of the case back.
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”.
The watch comes complete with an extract from the Longines archives and will no doubt be of great interest to any serious military watch collector or Longines enthusiast.