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Saturday, 13 April, 2002, 02:04 GMT 03:04 UK
Titanic timepiece sold
The Titanic setting sail from Southampton in 1912
The Titanic's fatal voyage took place in 1912
A watch which froze in time as its owner plunged from the Titanic into the icy Atlantic waters has been sold at auction for just under 20,000.

The hands of the gold-plated Waltham watch, rescued from the body of John Gill, 24, have remained permanently at 3.21.

Watch from the Titanic
The watch fetched 20,000
That was the moment eyewitnesses reported the "unsinkable" vessel disappearing under the ocean.

Passed on through Mr Gill's family, the watch was fitted with a new mechanism and dial, but the original dial was kept and has remained at the same time to mark the sinking which killed 1,521 people.

The watch was one of 316 objects sold at an auction organised by the British Titanic Society Convention to mark the disaster's 90th anniversary.

The convention is being held in Southampton, the ship's home port.

The stern of the Titanic, the final part of the 882-foot-long to sink from sight, was last seen at 2.20 am on 15 April 1912.

New life

Mr Gill, a chauffeur from Clevedon, had married wife Sarah two months earlier on Valentine's Day but had set out alone to America, having bought a second class ticket for 13, to start a new life for them.

His body was pulled from the water on 23 April and the watch and other items including coins, a comb and a collar stud were recovered.

Both the watch and the mechanism were kept by the family until last year when they were auctioned under one lot with other mementoes.

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See also:

16 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Titanic deckchair fetches 30,000
26 Jul 01 | UK
Outcry over Titanic wedding
15 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
Titanic survivor's watch not sold
25 Sep 01 | England
Sale takes the Titanic biscuit
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