A roughed-up watch bought for only £10 at a car boot sale has sold for more than £55,000. Turns out it was a rare Rolex given to Italian navy men in WWII.
It was found by a man in Cheshire, who was clearing out his late father's house. He originally expected the watch to fetch for about £500. But it was one of only 618 Rolex 17 Rubis Panerai 3636 watches made between 1941 to 1943 and ended up going for £55,660.
The watches, which were waterproof and visible in the dark, were supplied to the Royal Italian Navy for divers to use while operating human torpedos.
Wait. Human torpedos?! What are they? Well, apparently they were rideable missiles that had a detachable warhead, which could be used as a timed limpit mine on enemy ships.
Wow. No wonder they gave them a watch for performing such a dangerous task.
Anyway, the most likely reality is that this watch was taken by a British servicemen at the end of the war and brought home.
That kind of sucks.
Broken watch bought at car boot sale for £10 sells for £55,000 after it turns out to be rare World War Two Rolex pic.twitter.com/AkoPhORSLE- MW Studio (@mwstudio_uk) 21 March 2016
Niall Williams, the auctioneer who sold the watch at Wright Marshall in Cheshire said: "They are quite a rare watch and most of them were engraved by their owners but this one wasn't.
"It came to us on a valuation day by a chap with it in his pocket.
"The wind-up mechanism didn't work properly and so wasn't in perfect condition. But we had a lot of interest in it and 10 phone lines taken up by bidders.
"When I told the vendor afterwards it sold for £46,000 he thought I had said £4,000 to £6,000 and had to repeat it three times before he believed me.
"I think it is a considerable amount of money for him. It is a remarkable result."
Words by Josh Teal
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