Sold for £230,000, the rare Rolex that was plucked out of a ce­ment mixer

Daily Mail - - News - By An­drew Levy a.levy@dai­ly­

WHEN his prized Rolex slipped from his wrist and fell into a ce­ment mixer, the owner feared it would be dam­aged be­yond re­pair.

In­cred­i­bly, he man­aged to fish it out un­scathed – lit­tle re­al­is­ing its true value.

Now the Oys­ter Per­pet­ual Sub­mariner has fetched an as­ton­ish­ing £230,000 at auc­tion – de­spite be­ing val­ued at no more than £8,000.

De­scribed as one of the ‘great rar­i­ties’ by auc­tion­eer Chris Elmy, hope­ful bid­ders trav­elled to the sale­room in Suf­folk from all over the world for the chance to snap up the 1965 watch.

It only came to auc­tion after its owner – an un­named man from East Anglia – took it to a val­u­a­tion day road show and was told he might get £7,000 to £8,000 for it.

The rar­ity of the steel time­piece, which is far more valu­able than sim­i­lar ver­sions be­cause of its un­usual or­ange nu­mer­als, meant Lock­dales Auc­tion­eers needed ten lines for tele­phone bid­ding.

Around 100 other peo­ple bid on­line, and watch col­lec­tors flew in from the US, Italy and the Nether­lands to the auc­tion house in Martle­sham Heath, near Ip­swich.

The suc­cess­ful buyer was a col­lec­tor who flew in from Italy and paid the high­est price in the UK for one of the div­ing watches.

Mr Elmy said: ‘The Rolex was a record-break­ing price for us. It’s the high­est price we have achieved so far since we be­gan auc­tion­eer­ing in 1996.

‘The buyer was an Ital­ian who at­tended the auc­tion in per­son.’

The suc­cess­ful bid­der said the watch was un­usu­ally valu­able not just be­cause of its or­ange nu­mer­als but also be­cause it was in such a good con­di­tion – not bad con­sid­er­ing it once got mixed with sand and ce­ment.

Sub­mariners have been built since 1953, and were worn by James Bond in the films Dr No, From Rus­sia With Love, Goldfin­ger, Live And Let Die and Li­cence To Kill. In sub­se­quent Bond movies the spy wore Omega watches.

Early mod­els were wa­ter re­sis­tant to 660ft and be­came pop­u­lar with divers, but they can now with­stand depths of up to 1,000ft.

A heavy-duty steel ver­sion of the Sub­mariner, called the SeaDweller and later the Deep­Sea Sea-Dweller, was in­tro­duced from 1971. It was wa­ter­proof to 4,000ft.

Buy­ing time: The Oys­ter Per­pet­ual Sub­mariner was val­ued at £8k

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