A North Dakota man was stunned when he found out a Rolex he purchased in 1974 for US$374 (AU$553) was worth a whopping US$700,000 – so much so that he literally fell down.
The man told appraiser Peter Plane on the PBS series Antiques Roadshow that he purchased the watch while travelling with the military, and while he initially intended to use it for scuba diving, it was “too nice”.
“This is really too nice to take down in salty water,” he said.
“I just kept it. After I got out of the service, I had other watches I wore and I just put this one into a safety deposit box. It stayed there for 30 or 40 years. I only took it out two or three times to look at it, and that was about the extent of it before I brought it here.”
While US$375 seems like a small price to pay, the man said monthly salaries ranged between US$300 and $400.
The man had kept the original Rolex brochure as well as the original receipts and the original box.
His particular model, the Daytona “Oyster” model, was worn by Paul Newman in a movie called “Winning”, and usually fetched anywhere between US$150,000 and US$200,000 at auction, Planes said.
But Plane’s watch was worth even more than that.
“Your watch is more special,” the appraiser said.
“It says ‘Oyster’ on it. They did that for an extremely short period of time. We refer to that as a Mark II dial. And this particular model, being marked ‘Oyster’, is extremely, extremely rare.
“A watch like this at auction is worth about [US]$400,000.”
But, given the condition was so pristine, the man’s watch could fetch even more.
“It could actually be worth between US$500,000 and US$700,000.”
“You got to be kidding me,” the owner said, before he fell down.
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