Air Force Veteran Collapses When He Finds Out His $375 1971 Rolex Watch Is Now Worth $500K to $700K

In an amusing segment of the PBS series Antiques Roadshow, appraiser Peter Planes was in the midst of a one hour Bonanzaville appraisal in Fargo, North Dakota when he had the opportunity to assess a beautiful 1971 Rolex Oyster Cosmograph watch belonging to an Air Force veteran who bought the watch as a splurge in 1974 for $375. The unworn watch, however, and just sat with its accompanying paperwork and packaging in a safe deposit box for many years.

I just kept it. After I got out of the service, I had other watches I wore and I just put this one into a safety deposit box. It stayed there for 30 or 40 years. I only took it out, like, two or three times to look at it, and that was about the extent of it before I brought it here.

The fact that the watch remained in storage and unworn, worked to the owner’s advantage as the numeric seal remained intact as did all of the paperwork. Planes was so impressed with the condition of this Rolex that he told the veteran that Rolex watches like his were worth $400,000. That’s when the veteran literally hit the floor.

Vet Is Floored to Learn How Much His 1971 Rolex Is Worth

Planes urged him to get up as he had more to say.

Don’t fall. I’m not done yet. 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.

To which the veteran responded “You got to be @#*%!$ kidding me.”

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.