If You Buy a Nice Watch, for God’s Sake, Keep Your Papers

The difference could be tens of thousands of dollars.


This clip is a year old, but it just made the rounds among our office’s watch nerds. There are a few amazing things going on here. First, the watch: a 1960 Rolex GMT Master reference 6542, the first GMT Master ever made, and one of our all-time favorite watches.

Second, our guy. He bought the watch in Germany in 1960 at the end of his military service there and had never heard of Rolex before. His sergeant told him to buy one and, for $120 (more than his monthly salary in the army, which was $100), he did. (He bought one for his dad, too. Good man.)

With all its papers (chronometer bulletin, brochure, hang tags), its box, the original bracelet, and even its receipt, it’s worth about $75,000 at auction today. (Without complete papers, it’s closer to $35,000.) The look on our guy’s face when he finds that out is a great feel-good moment, and also a reminder that a fine watch, bought at the right time and place, can be a hell of a good investment. Save your papers, folks.

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