Meet The Lucky Fellow Who Found Out His $500 Rolex Is Now Worth Over A Million
Perhaps the purest pleasure within the world of rare and collectible watches (and depending on who you ask, there are many pure pleasures within the community) is reading the story of someone who's stumbled upon a sickeningly valuable watch, acquired it, and then made a vast sum of money for it. It happens at least a couple of times a year, from the woman who found a $370k Rolex in a charity store couch, to the collector who happened to find a $35,000 vintage Le-Coultre timepiece in the jewellery cabinet of his local Goodwill.
The gentleman you'll see in the below clip from the American version of Antiques Roadshow, however, has them both trumped.
His name is hidden, but what we learn is that the man was a former Air Force member who flew in Thailand during the Vietnam war in the 1970s. We also know that he bought the Rolex on the table after getting into SCUBA diving during the mid '70s, but never wore it. Incredibly, he was able to get it for $US345.97 (or roughly $500) from his Air Force base’s exchange. Of course, that was far more money back then — about a month of his wage, in fact — but still. The lucky sumb*#ch even got 10% off.
What we know now is that the watch is a 1971 Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Reference 6263, otherwise known as an even rarer variant of a Paul Newman Daytona, and is in fact similar to the exact watch Newman himself wore in the film Winning.
Most people familiar with such watches will tell you that anything that can be verified as a 'Paul Newman' Daytona — notable for the black chronograph set against its white face — is extraordinarily valuable for the intrinsic link it has to the style favoured by the legendary actor. Newman was, and to some, is, the symbolic face of Rolex, and Newman's Own (had to do it) personal Daytona was, up until late last year, the most expensive timepiece ever sold.
The watch in the video, as an Oyster variant, is even rarer, as it was only produced for an extremely short period of time.
It's clear, however, that our unnamed Airman is less than familiar with the works and/or horological history of one Mr. Newman. Because he's rather shocked when told that the watch he bought for what was back then a month's paycheck is now worth well over $675,500 USD. In fact, he faints.
Part of the reason for the particular watch's value is because it was kept with a stoic commitment to preservation, despite the fact the Airman never really had any interest in watching it. He kept every single paper, many of which were blank, including the warranty agreement, brochure and registration documents. It even has the foil sticker on the back, making it probably one of the most well-preserved examples of its kind, anywhere.
In more watch news, These are most expensive luxury watches sold on eBay in 2019 and check out The best metallic grey watches on show at LVMH Watch Week Dubai.