In a heartwarming episode of Antiques Roadshow, a Vietnam War veteran who served in the Air Force received the surprise of a lifetime when he learned the true value of a watch he purchased for $345.97 decades ago. The watch in question is a Rolex Daytona with a Panda Paul Newman dial, a timepiece that left viewers and experts alike in shock.
The watch’s remarkable history adds to its value. It was acquired through mail order via a military base exchange in 1974 and received in 1975. Astonishingly, its date stamp indicates it was manufactured in the first quarter of 1971 and has never been worn.
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The owner took good care of the watch to avoid the risk of any wear and tear, eventually moving on to other watches. For years, it has been safeguarded in a secure deposit box, only occasionally brought out. The narrative of preservation is nothing short of remarkable.
What sets this Rolex Daytona apart is its comprehensive collection of authentication documents and paperwork, which includes the original box and outer packaging. Remarkably, a foil sticker with the reference number 6263 is still affixed to the case back due to its pristine, unworn condition.
Enthusiasts of Paul Newman Daytonas often consider this model the ultimate milestone, despite not being the most authentic (that distinction goes to ref. 6239 with a steel bezel and without screw-down pushers, known as the “Oyster”).
It became evident to the show’s crew that they had something extraordinary on their hands when they filmed this segment. However, the watch’s owner appeared unaware of its true value.
When expert Peter Planes from Luxe Auctioneers in Palm Beach, Florida, initially estimated the watch’s value at around $400,000, the veteran’s reaction was pure disbelief—he literally dropped to the ground in shock.
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It took a moment for him to regain his composure, and when Planes explained that, owing to its unworn condition, the Rolex was valued between $500,000 and $700,000, the veteran’s response was filled with joy and excitement, saying, “You gotta be kidding me!” and ‘further goes on to say, ‘unbelievable’. The evaluater then says, ‘you can’t wear it though’
In conclusion, this extraordinary discovery on Antiques Roadshow serves as a poignant reminder of the hidden treasures that can emerge unexpectedly, showcasing the timeless appeal and enduring value of vintage watches.
This heartwarming moment will undoubtedly be cherished not only by the veteran but also by viewers who appreciate the beauty of life’s unexpected surprises.