THE lingering scent of patchouli and a nine-year-old girl with a sense of smell that would rival a sniffer dog have reunited a Dundowran Beach woman with one of her most treasured possessions.

Sandy Fletcher was on her usual daily beach walk about two weeks ago when, without her noticing, her watch came off and fell in the sand.

"It was my mother's - she's in her 80s and she gave it to me before she went into a nursing home in Victoria," she said.

"It's just got a lot of sentimental value to me - I like to have it on my wrist because I think of mum."

It wasn't until later that night when Mrs Fletcher was playing her piano that she realised her precious piece of jewellery was missing.

"I turned the house upside down," she said.

After retracing her footsteps and calling every shop she had been to that day, she had almost given up hope.

"I didn't have my name on it, it was just a watch - what were my chances of getting it back?" she said.

Enter the Webb family, who only knew Mrs Fletcher's face from passing her on their walks along the beach.

Jane Webb's son, Alex, stumbled across the watch not long after they passed Mrs Fletcher that very day.

But it was her daughter Ella's nose for scent which matched the smell of the watch to the distinctive patchouli oil Mrs Fletcher wears.

"She's got an exceptional sense of smell," Mrs Webb said.

"We put it in a bag and kept it until we saw Sandy again.

"The next day we saw her and she was so thrilled."

Mrs Fletcher said it was a surreal feeling when Ella rushed up to her.

"I could have kissed her," she said.

"I've smelt and smelt that watch and it just smells like metal to me.

"To get it back and the way I got it back is just a miracle in itself."

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