A £1,500 watch which was sent into space and sparked a massive treasure hunt has finally been found after a three week search.
Lee Holland, 29, David Moffatt, 50, and Jesse Meehan, 12, spent three days braving the winds and rain trying to find the watch after it fell from space last month.
And the trio eventually tracked it down to a field in Hooton Pagnell, bringing the search to an end.
But even with a quad bike and a remote-controlled drone, the search proved difficult, and the trio from Doncaster had almost given up hope on finding it, before they struck gold.
Lee, step father of Jesse, and step son of David, said: “We had just returned home after hours of searching to have something to eat and then we saw the latest announcement on the Jura Watches’ Facebook page.
“We didn’t even finish our dinner, we just went straight back out in the rain to find it.”
The luxury Seiko Astron watch was sent into the stratosphere on Space Exploration Day - July 20 - by Jura Watches from a site in Derbyshire.
It had been missing for 20 days before being found as part of a regional treasure hunt, which saw hundreds of people trying to locate the lost timepiece.
The watch travelled more than 100km, and reached altitudes of approximately 36km above the Earth’s surface – 17km above the Armstrong line which is the commonly accepted gateway to space.
At peak altitude, the balloon burst, which would have caused the watch to fall at over 200mph due to the lack of air pressure or wind resistance.
It eventually re-entered the atmosphere where a parachute was deployed, allowing the watch to drift back down.
The launch took place in Carsington, Derbyshire, where jewellery firm CWSellors, which organised the event, has plans to build a new visitor attraction next year to allow people to immerse themselves in the world of jewellery manufacture.
From there, the balloon flew over Matlock, Chesterfield, Sheffield, before bursting above the Peak District, cutting the tracking feed, and falling to its landing spot in a Hooton Pagnell field.
Mr Holland added: “We started to worry that it might be found by somebody who wasn’t even aware of the competition.
“We found it at the right time. It was right at the edge of a corn field that was ready for a farmer to come along with a combine harvester.
"A few more days and it would have been gone. We were over the moon when we found it. We’ll never sell it, we’re all big watch fans.
“I could afford to buy a watch but you can’t buy a watch that’s been into space.”
Steve Ashby, one of the project’s organisers at Jura Watches, said: “We were thrilled and delighted to hear that somebody had found the missing watch.
“It was very exciting news, and we were able to verify the claim on Wednesday and meet the finders to hear their story – they are very worthy and deserving winners.
“Finding the package has also meant that we have been able to view the footage captured by the onboard cameras – and it’s simply stunning.”
James Sellors, manager at Jura Watches, said: “We want to extend a huge congratulations to Lee, David and Jesse for the hard work they put in to find the watch.
“We also want to express a big thank you to everybody who got involved with the hunt to find the watch. It’s been great to see people really immersing themselves in the project and getting out to try and find the prize, sending us pictures and feedback of where they have been searching."