Watch which mounted Everest returns to where story started

Loomes watch
Photo: Alun Richardson
Loomes watch Photo: Alun Richardson
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The watch which was worn by Gurkhas to reach the summit of Everest and made by a Stamford firm returned to where it’s story started this week.

Watchmakers Loomes and Co, of St Mary’s Hill, Stamford, specifically made the watch for the Mountain Trust, and handed it over to the Royal Gurkha Regiment climbers during a special ceremony at Stamford Town Hall in March 2015.

And on Tuesday, the watch returned to Stamford Town Hall for a special one-day photographic exhibition before it is auctioned off to raise money for the Mountain Trust, a Cambridgeshire-based charity which raises money for education and healthcare in Nepal.

The photos on display were from the climb and were taken by British mountain photographer Alun Richardson, who accompanied the Gurkhas.

Robina Hill, managing director of Loomes, said it was fitting that the watch should return to the hall.

During a special event for invited guests Nepali canapes made by Prem Devkota were served, while traditional Nepali music was played on a sitar. Drinks from Adnams were served.

Robina told the guests that it had been a privilege to be involved in the project, while Charles Malcolm-Brown from the Mountain Trust, which helped organise the project, said it had been “serendipitous”. He met Robert Loomes, the owner of the firm, by chance because he needed his own watch fixing.

Mayor of Stamford Tony Story, who was there with wife and Mayoress Val, said it was important to support communities and people less fortunate than those.

The watch will be auctioned online by Bonhams Auctioneers. The auction begins at 10am on Thursday (October 26) and runs until 3pm on Thursday, November 9.

Robina said she hopes the watch raises at least double it’s retail value of nearly £10,000, because it’s a “very special watch”.

Calendars for 2018 have also been produced featuring some of the photographs and are available at Loomes and Co. Proceeds from the sale will also go to the Mountain Trust.

Nepal suffered devastating earthquakes in 2015 when the first attempt to climb Everest wearing the entirely British made watch had to be abandoned as the team turned instead to disaster relief work.

Hand-built in Stamford using a 19 jewel Smiths based mechanism, the watch has a unique dial. Visit www.bonhams.com/auctions to find out more about the auction.