Rolex watch bought for £70 in 1964 and featured on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow could fetch over £45k at auction

The rare watch featured on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow

A rare Rolex watch bought for £70 nearly six decades ago and which featured on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow could fetch more than £45,000 at auction. Peter Barnett, 57, inherited the timepiece from his father Simon Barnett, a Royal Navy search and rescue diver, just before he died in 2019 aged 80.

But he said it is too valuable to wear day in and day out, and has since decided to sell the watch with TW Gaze auction rooms. The rare watch will be sold tomorrow (May 12) and is expected to attract in the region of £45,000.

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Peter, from Diss, Norfolk, said: "The watch is very precious to our family and it’s not a fashion piece - it was involved in a number of important rescue missions. It’s been a hard decision, but I feel selling it now is the right thing to do."

The historic 1963 Rolex Submariner watch was bought by Simon, a chief petty officer, while he was deployed in Singapore in 1964. It remained on his wrist throughout his 23 year career, helping him keep track of time while he was involved in a number of dangerous rescue missions.

Four years after his death, Peter has decided to sell the watch after experts on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow last year valued it at between £50,000 and £60,000. While bittersweet, the appearance on the BBC show helped Mr Barnett piece together more of his father’s career in the navy.

And after the show, a number of former servicemen got in touch to share the adventures they had with him. The watch can be seen in countless photographs taken of Mr Barnett during his time in the Royal Navy, capturing its place in naval history. The sale is accompanied by a number of newspaper cuttings, letters and images - with the lot carrying an estimate of between £30,000 and £45,000.

Peter, a retired police officer and dad-of-one, said: "I would wear it all the time and I felt very close to my father while wearing it. But after finding out how much it was worth I couldn’t walk around with £60k around my wrist.

Historic 1963 Rolex Submariner watch set to be auctioned on Friday May 12Historic 1963 Rolex Submariner watch set to be auctioned on Friday May 12
Historic 1963 Rolex Submariner watch set to be auctioned on Friday May 12 | Peter Barnett / SWNS

"Unfortunately I stopped wearing it and kept it safe at home and have now decided to sell it. They think it will go for between £30,000 and £40,000, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see on the day."

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