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