The Royal Navy ordered a series of watches from Rolex for use by their specialist personnel. These watches have fixed bar lugs and the hands are of sword shape so they are more legible under low light conditions. The dials are also marked with the “Circle T“, which is the international symbol for Tritium, a treatment the watch received to help the wearer see the hands in the dark.
A military issue Rolex wristwatch, originally purchased for under £1,000, was recently discovered by the BBC Antiques Roadshow to be worth several times the expected amount, now valued by Bonhams at £50,000-70,000. It is offered at Bonhams Fine Watch Sale, taking place 16 December.
The vendor was first alerted to the potential value of his Rolex whilst watching an episode of BBC series, the Antiques Roadshow, when he saw a similar watch to his valued at a considerable amount more than he’d anticipated. When the Roadshow came to Lincolnshire in early 2015, the vendor took the watch along to have it valued. He was delighted to find that it was worth a great deal more than originally thought.
“After the Antiques Roadshow valuation, the vendor was very excited to bring the watch to Bonhams,” said Jonathan Darracott, Bonhams Head of Watches. “It is a rare double reference version of the Military Submariner, issued to the British Navy in the early 1970s.”
The case backs are engraved on the interior with the serial number and also on the outside case back with the Ministry of Defence issue number. The wristwatch was shown on BBC Antiques Roadshow on Sunday 8 November at 8pm.
It will be sold at Bonhams Fine Watch Sale, taking place 16 December at 101 New Bond Street.