Don’t you scream in amazement (and a hit of envy) when someone from TV finds out that their item is worth more than they imagined? The TV show Antiques Roadshow lives for these kinds of reactions. Anyone can be holding a precious and historic item worth hundreds—perhaps even thousands of dollars.
In the show, most people get disappointed when the item they suspect to costs a fortune turns out to be a piece of junk. But the latest episode proves to be one of the books for the show’s avid watchers.
In the latest episode filmed in Bonanzaville in West Fargo, North Dakota, a veteran of the United States Air Force, went to appraise his Rolex watch, which he has never worn. Back in his time of service in Thailand during the ‘70s, he noticed commercial airline pilots wearing Rolex watches.
“I noticed that most of the pilots that were flying those aircraft wore Rolex watches, and I was intrigued by them. I always wanted to purchase them, but they were very expensive,” the veteran said.
Years have passed, and the veteran ordered a Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Reference 6263 from his base’s exchange for $345.97—a luxurious purchase considering salaries ranged from $300 to $400 a month. He realized that he didn’t want the watch to get soaked in saltwater.
It was a good decision when he decided to lock it in a safety deposit box along with the documents and original packaging. He was up for a surprise when he heard what the appraiser said about his precious Rolex watch.
“Underneath the word ‘Rolex’ and above the word ‘Cosmograph,’ it says ‘oyster,’ and that refers to these screw-down buttons. They made this version with and without screw-down buttons . . . this was much better water-resistant because you can lock down the chronograph buttons on it…” The appraiser from Antiques Roadshow said.
The veteran’s Rolex Daytona is considered a rare find, making it one of the most sought-after watches among collectors. Paul Newman even wore a similar model in his film Winning. But the big difference between the veteran and Paul’s watch is the screw-down buttons — Paul’s didn’t have those, and similar watches sell for $150,000 to $200,00.
The catch is, the watch up for appraisal in that episode was much special.
The veteran’s watch with the ‘oyster’ inscription is rarer because these models were made for an extremely short amount of time, otherwise known as a Mark II Dial—the watch is extremely rare and auctions for about $400,000.
When the veteran heard the price, he threw himself on the ground from shock and amazement. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. His watch is a new old stock watch without any signs of wear. The original foil sticker is still intact with all the complete documentation. The final price of the coveted watch goes from $500,000 to $700,000 at auction today.
“It’s an absolute fabulous find. It’s one of the rarest Paul Newman Models, and in this condition, I don’t think there’s a better one in the world…” The Antique Roadshow appraiser said.
The veteran still overwhelmed with emotions, couldn’t fathom enough words during the appraisal. With that amount of money, it may be worth your while to dig up your grandparents’ storage for an expensive find!
Watch the video below and witness the veteran’s reaction: