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Military Vet Collapses on 'Antiques Roadshow' When He Learns the Value of His Watch

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A U.S. Air Force veteran identified only as David collapsed on the PBS show “Antiques Roadshow” after discovering the steep value of the Rolex watch that he had purchased for $345.97.

Fortunately, he got right back up after a fall apparently done in jest.

David appeared on the show at Bonanzaville in West Fargo, North Dakota, to have his 1971 Rolex Oyster Cosmograph appraised and discovered that his special edition watch was worth up to $700,000.

Appraiser Peter Planes told David that a similar model was worn by actor Paul Newman in the 1969 movie “Winning” and that watches like his typically auction for “approximately $150- to $200,000.”

However, David’s watch is a little more special than that.

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He purchased the Rolex in 1974 while he was stationed in Thailand and intended to wear it for scuba diving but decided that it was “really too nice to take down in salty water.”

After David got out of the service, he decided he would keep it in a safe deposit box.

Not only did he stow the watch away, but he also kept all of its original documentation, receipts and boxes.

Over the last 40 years, he said, he took it out two or three times to admire it but never wore it.

Do you watch "Antiques Roadshow"?

Planes asked David if $345.97 was a lot of money for him at that time. He said that considering salaries ranged from $300 to $400 a month, that was definitely a lot of money for him.

As the appraisal went on, Planes explained that his watch was particularly special because unlike the watch worn by Newman, his watch said “Oyster” between the words “Rolex” and “Cosmograph,” which refers to the screw-down buttons on the side of the watch, making it more water-resistant than models without the screw-down button technique.

This model was only briefly made, making it a rare find.

Planes said a watch like his would typically sell at auction for around $400,000.

That’s when David fell to the ground, completely astonished.

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“I’m not done yet,” Planes continued when David got back up. “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 of this complete documentation here also, may be one of the very few in the whole world that still was never worn. Your watch at auction today — $500- to $700,000. …

“In this condition, I don’t think there’s a better one in the world. 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.”

David just shook his head and said, “Unbelievable.”

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Morgan Brantley is a former staff writer for The Western Journal. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in journalism. She and her dog, Indy, moved to the Phoenix area from Nashville.
Morgan Brantley is a former staff writer for The Western Journal. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in journalism. She and her dog, Indy, moved to the Phoenix area from Nashville.




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