The man said he paid only $345 bucks for the watch.
An Air Force veteran was in absolute shock when he found out a Rolex he bought for $345.97 in the 1970s could now go for several hundred thousand dollars.
The man appeared on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow earlier this week to have his practically unworn 1971 Rolex Oyster Cosmograph evaluated by appraiser Peter Planes in Fargo, North Dakota.
The unidentified veteran said that he was stationed in southeast Asia in the 1970s when he became enamored by Rolex watches after noticing many airline pilots wearing them. He added that he liked to scuba dive back then, and thought the Rolex would endure water well. He ordered the watch in November 1974 via the military base exchange and received it in April 1975. "I found this particular watch where I could afford it, and I never used it. I looked at it and I said, `You know, this is really too nice to take down in salty water,' " he said. "I just kept it."
When he told the veteran that the watch could be worth $400,000 at auction, the man fell to the ground in pure shock.
"You OK?" Planes said calmly as the man got up. "Don't fall. I'm not done." Planes continued, "Because of the condition of it, basically, it's a new old stock watch, no wear on it. We have all this complete documentation here, also, maybe one of the very few in the whole world that still was never worn, your watch, at auction, today, $500,000 to $700,000."
The veteran said: "You got to be (expletive) me." The particular Rolex model is cherished by collectors because Paul Newman wore it during the 1969 movie Winning, the appraiser said.
Watch the viral moment (below).