The Culling Collection of Military Watches

Date of Auction: 9th June 2020

Sold for £120

Estimate: £60 - £80

German military: A ‘Granit’ wristwatch, by Zentra, early 20th century, the signed silvered circular dial with luminous Arabic numerals and hands, outer minutes track and subsidiary seconds dial, the jewelled movement signed ‘Zentra 480’, within angular steel case, the snap on back stamped ‘Krupp-Stahl’ and later hand engraved with the monogram ‘D.H.’ and ‘Lorient 1941’, with hinged lug shoulders to black leather strap, dial diameter 23.5mm. £60-£80


The watch co-op Markenuhren-Verein or Markenuhr GmbH (Watch Brand Company) was founded in 1924 by Willi König and Willibald Felsing in Berlin. In 1927 the company formed the brand Zentra and the company soon had stores throughout Germany.
As was typical at the time, Zentra watches were built from various components: most cases came from Germany, while movements were German or Swiss. The company advertised using the slogans, ‘
die Uhr mit dem Reifezeugnis’ (the watch with a certificate of maturity) and ‘die treue Gefährtin’ (the faithful companion), emphasising reliability.

Keroman Submarine Base was a German U-boat base located in Lorient, a town on the South coast of Brittany, France, during World War II. The base was capable of sheltering thirty submarines under cover. Lorient was held until May 1945, by the Germans' Wehrmacht Heer regular army forces. Although surrounded by the American Army, the Germans refused to surrender. Since they could not destroy the base and its submarine pens, the Allies had decided to flatten the city and port of Lorient to cut the supply lines to the U-boat bases. Without resupply of fuel, weapons and provisions, it became impossible for the U-boats to return to war patrols in the Atlantic Ocean. Between January and February 1943, Allied aircraft dropped nearly 500 high-explosive bombs and more than 60,000 incendiary bombs on Lorient; nearly 90% of the city was flattened.
After the war the base was rechristened by the French as Base Ingénieur Général Stosskopf, after Jacques Stosskopf, a German-speaking Alsatian Frenchman who had been the deputy director of naval construction for the Germans at the base while secretly in the French Resistance, and had given valuable information on submarine movements to the Allies during the war until his activities were discovered and he was killed.