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Gem of the Week: Man seeks owner of WWII watch

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GOODRIDGE, MN (WDAZ)—This week’s gem is on a mission to track down the owners of a gem he is looking to return, and he's hoping you can help. 

Tucked away inside a home in rural Pennington County is a mystery about an American war hero that Bruce Bjerklie has spent years trying to identify.

Who is the man that used to wear this watch?

“We have no story behind the watch,” said Bjerklie.

Rewind the watch 6 decades. Bjerklie's dad came into possession of the Bulova time piece while serving with the U.S. Army in World War II.  

“Very nice band—I don’t know if it’s gold—looks like a stainless steel back with ‘Harold Knutson’  engraved in the back,” said Bjerklie.

Shortly after the war Bjerklie's dad gave it to a family member for helping on the farm, and that family member recently gave the watch to Bjerklie.

“My father died in 1971, so that story is long gone, just want to give it to the family,” said Bjerklie.

 Hours at a time—Bjerklie is now trying to find the family of Harold Knutson.

Harold is mainly pouring through obituaries.

“Like I said, we went through having a child in war, and you never know, I don’t know if this guy came home alive,” said Bjerklie.

Along with a name, there is one other clue on the watch—a serial number beginning with “37.”

That means Knutson was from the upper Midwest, and a member of the U.S. Army.

“This is the 7 state area that Harold Knutson is from, said Bjerklie.

 Bjerklie says about a dozen times, he thought the time was here—he had found Knutson’s loved ones—only to hit more roadblocks.

“Then you have to find their children, find them home, if they will answer the phone, they might have moved in the last 20 years,” said Bjerklie.

Bjerklie says he has even reached out to local and federal veterans’ offices.  

“I did call a veterans’ service officer, and explained the situation, and he said he couldn’t tell me because of some privacy act,” said Bjerklie.

Despite the fact there appears to be no end in sight for Harold Knutson, Bjerklie’s desire to find his loved ones continues to tick.

“We want to give it back, just to make some family happy. It really means nothing to us. I think it would mean a lot.”

Bjerklie says that if he finds the family, he will hand-deliver the watch to them.