More from the Bolaffi auction: record sum for the Eberhard & Co. 'Magini System

Eberhard & Co.'s "Magini System", in a version called "Mod. Mag.", was one of the stars of the Bolaffi auction on 21 October and fetched an extraordinary 156,000 euros. The famous split-seconds chronograph, which went into production in the early 1940s, contributed to the success of an Italian Air Force operation and was named after the heroic pilot to whom it was given, Publio Magini. The watch was in fact at the centre of a little-known episode of the Second World War, the Rome-Tokyo flight and return of 1942. At that time, the Axis powers could not communicate with each other by radio because their secret codes had been decrypted by the Anglo-Americans. Italy, Germany and Japan then decided to connect the three countries with a regular air service to exchange strategic information. The Italians were the only ones to succeed in this secret mission, thanks to this timepiece that became one of the key instruments of astronomical navigation at the time. The watch struck by Bolaffi is only the second example of the Magini Chronograph to have been found, after the prototype used during the epic military mission, now owned by an important collector.