An 81-year-old who put his old Rolex on eBay for £6 ($9,95 USD) was celebrating today after it fetched a staggering £41,700.
Retired neurosurgeon Bob Saxton bought the Rolex Submariner 5510 at a Navy Exchange in Hawaii in 1958 for a knockdown price of £45.
He used it as his main watch for ten years and intermittently after that until he gave it a new lease on life in the 1980s when he rekindled his love of scuba diving.
Bob, who dived with the late Superman actor Christopher Reeve in the 1980s, packed the Rolex away at his home in McGregor, Texas, USA, before deciding to sell it as part of a clearout.
He put the battered vintage watch on eBay with no reserve and a starting bid of £6.30 hoping it would fetch around £65 – but within three minutes he received three bids topping £650.
A bidding frenzy then ensued around the world as the watch-collecting fraternity – or horologists – fought to snap up the rare edition diver’s watch.
The lead bid jumped to £9,200 after half-an-hour prompting Bob to ask his son to research the vintage Rolex Submariner 5510.
It emerged the watch was one of just 300 ever made and was the model Sean Connery wore as James Bond in Goldfinger, Dr No and Thunderball.
Despite being considerably worn, the fact it was a one-owner watch in working order helped increase its value.
Bob said: ”I’m not a watch person.
”I sold an Omega for over £2,000 but I knew it was valuable because I haggled with the vendor and paid $800 for it in the 1970s, which was about half the going price then.
”I only paid £45 for the Rolex and had no good reason to investigate its worth.
”Like most doctors of my ilk, I’m a financial imbecile so I thought the market value would be established by auction on eBay.”
The price continued to soar until after 42,000 views and 49 bids, the winning offer for the Rolex was £41,700. ($66,100USD)
Amazed Bob added: ”I didn’t have a clue regarding the actual value of the piece. It’s a real shock to find it to be a very valuable and desirable item.
”I feel like someone on Antiques Roadshow who just learned the painting from Grandma’s attic was an original Picasso.”
Joanne Lewis, head of watches at London’s Sotheby’s, said: ”Sometimes you get crazy prices with Rolexes as they’re so collectable.
”The fact it’s a rare Rolex associated with James Bond makes it a sought after watch.”
Recent Vintage Rolex Submariner 5510s have sold at auctions for £27,000 and £82,000 while a new model costs around £4,000 (GBP).
Bob, whose eBay rating is 100 per cent, has previously sold 95 items through the auction website including a not-so-glamorous handheld VHF marine radio for £38 and a ticket and programme for the 30th Superbowl for £12.
Image credit: Hodinkee