ARMED raiders who smashed their way through a jewellery shop with an axe and a gun escaped with a haul worth £1m – but failed to snatch Scotland’s most expensive watch.

The men wearing hooded tops who walked into the ROX store on George Street in Edinburgh at 5.15pm on Monday may have been targeting the rare time-piece from Swiss brand Girard-Perregaux which is worth £500,000, but it was not in the shop at the time.

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The watch was unveiled amid a blaze of publicity at the store, which was opened in October by TV personality Cat Cubie and rap artist Labrinth.

One man had an axe while the other was carrying what looked like a gun. They began the heist by using the axe to smash the glass display cases before a shop assistant was grabbed and forced to open a window display.

The pair left with the haul of jewellery made their getaway wearing red and white helmets on a motorbike which was later found abandoned less than a mile away in Northumberland Street Lane North.

The axe has also been found and sent for forensic analysis.

Two women were working in the shop when the men came in shortly before closing time, one brandishing what is believed to be a dark-coloured handgun.

After placing large quantities of jewellery with an estimated value of £1million into rucksacks both men fled the store and made off from the area on a black Honda 650 motorcycle.

Officers are now keen to speak with anyone who remembers seeing any suspicious activity in either George Street or Northumberland Street North West Lane on Monday evening.

High-visibility police patrols have been deployed in the area and will meetlocal residents and businesses to offer reassurance and crime prevention advice where required.

The axeman is described as wearing a dark-coloured top and jogging bottoms with a stripe down the sleeve and leg.

The other man is described as wearing a dark top and dark jogging type trousers.

Witnesses describe one of the men speaking with an English accent, while the other is described as having a local accent.

Detective Chief Inspector Bobby Deas said: “This was a terrifying ordeal for the shop staff to endure, although, thankfully, neither was injured as a result.

“An estimated £1million worth of jewellery was stolen during this incident and we are conducting various lines of enquiry to trace these items and identify those responsible for their theft.

“The motorcycle, which was used during the suspects’ getaway, is believed to have made a lot of noise as it sped off and members of the public who were nearby would have heard it.

“We would now urge anyone who remembers seeing or hearing the bike, or who recognises the description of the riders to contact police immediately.

“Similarly, anyone with any other information that can assist with our inquiries is also asked to come forward.”