How would you react if you found out an item in your possession was worth thousands more than what you originally paid for it? Well, an unidentified Air Force Veteran jokingly collapsed on a recent episode of the Antiques Roadshow after learning the estimated value of his watch. When told his watch was worth at least $400,000 but could auction for up to $700,000, the veteran couldn’t contain his emotions and stated, “You’ve gotta be f— [with] me.”
While stationed in Thailand from 1973-1975, the veteran purchased the 1971 Rolex Oyster Cosmograph due to its popularity amongst other pilots. At the time, he paid $345.97 for the watch through the military base exchange with a 10 percent discount, which was a lot of money considering his monthly salary was between $300-$400.
In spite of the cost, the veteran couldn’t bring himself to wear the watch. According to People.com, he claimed, “I found this particular watch where I could afford it, and I never used it. I looked at it, and I said, ‘This is really too nice to take down in salty water.’ I just kept it.” For nearly 40 years, he kept the watch unworn and in a safe deposit box along with its original packaging, warranty, and receipts, only taking it out to look at it a few times. Based on its pristine condition, the show’s appraiser Peter Planes stated, “In this condition, I don’t think there’s a better one in the world.”
Similarly, Paul Newman wore a close model of this watch in the 1969 movie, “Winning” which sells between $100k-$200k at auction, further proving how rare the veteran’s timepiece is.