A former American serviceman jokingly fell to the floor when he found out a Rolex he bought 45 years ago for US$345.97, is worth hundreds of thousands today.
He got the news on Monday’s episode of the TV show Antiques Roadshow.
While stationed in Thailand, the Rolex watches worn by pilots would catch his eye. He also heard they were good for scuba diving. When he found a good deal in Thailand, he pulled the trigger — spending the equivalent of about a month’s salary back then.
“It was a lot of money for myself,” the man, who didn’t share his name on the program, told appraiser Peter Planes.
But he never wore it scuba diving, or at all for that matter.
“I never used it. I looked at it and I said, you know, this is really too nice to take down in the salty water,’” the man said.
“I just kept it.”
So it sat in a safe, remaining in pristine condition. He also held on to the box, receipts, and paperwork, and brochure.
“After I got out of the service, I had other watches I wore and I just put this one into a safety deposit box,” he said.
“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.”
Planes says the man’s Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Oyster’s condition and rarity mean it should fetch up to $700,000 at auction.
Rolex Daytona’s have shot up in value, in large part because of their connection to Paul Newman. The same model he wore in “Winning” goes for around $200,000.
The model the man brought to the show isn’t the same as that one. But Planes says this one, which has water-resistant screw-down buttons, is worth even more because it’s extremely rare.
The actual watch Newman wore in the movie sold for $17.8 million in 2017.
Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.