Veteran collapses after learning value of old Rolex on Antiques Roadshow

He originally purchased watch for $345.97 in 1974

Veteran collapses after learning price of his old Rolex

An Air Force Veteran who appeared on Antiques Roadshow was so surprised by the $700,000 estimated value of his old Rolex that he collapsed.

In a clip from Monday’s episode, which has since gone viral, a man in West Fargo, North Dakota, only identified as David, explained that he purchased the Rolex in 1974 while he was still in the Air Force for $345.97.

But, while he knew the watch was valuable, he didn’t realise just how much his 1971 Rolex Oyster Cosmograph, a collector’s item, was worth - anywhere from $500,000 to $700,000 at auction.

According to the veteran, he had originally become interested in the watch brand after seeing pilots wearing them. His interest in owning a Rolex only increased after learning that their water resistance made them good for scuba diving.

“I found this particular watch where I could afford it, and I never used it,” he told appraiser Peter Planes of Luxe Auctioneers. “I looked at it and I said: ‘You know, this is really too nice to take down in salty water.”

Instead of wearing the watch, David put it in a safety deposit box for 40 years, only taking it out a couple of times to look at it. He also kept the original brochure, receipts, and watch box.

After informing the veteran that that type of watch is a collectible, because Paul Newman wore it in the movie Winning, the appraiser said the watches usually go for $150,000 to $200,000 at auction, before adding: “Your watch is more special.”

According to the appraiser, because of the “oyster” stamp on the watch, it is “extremely, extremely rare” - meaning it’s worth goes up to about $400,000 at auction.

At learning the initial value, David tumbled over backwards from shock, before he was informed that his watch is actually worth even more.

“Don’t fall. I’m not done yet,” Planes said. “I said: ‘A watch like yours.’ Because of the condition of it - basically it’s a new old stock watch: no wear on it; the original foil sticker on the back of it; and the fact that we have all this complete documentation here, also, maybe one of the very few in the whole world that still was never worn - your watch, at auction, today, $500,000 to $700,000.”

“You gotta be s****ing me,” the veteran replied.

After informing David that he believes there’s not a “better one in the world,” Planes said: "I can't thank you enough for bringing me one of the greatest watches to ever see on 'Antiques Roadshow.

“And thank you very much for your service."

In 2017, Paul Newman’s own watch broke the record for the most expensive watch ever sold at auction with a price of $15.5m.

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