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February 22, 2020 3:58 PM   Subscribe


Sincerely happy for him!
posted by darkstar at 4:06 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed seeing that. I would like to know that man.
posted by Miko at 4:10 PM on February 22 [6 favorites]

posted by DSime at 4:14 PM on February 22 [2 favorites]

"Don't fall. I'm not done yet."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:16 PM on February 22 [7 favorites]

Wow. That's amazing for that guy!!! So happy for him
posted by chasles at 4:24 PM on February 22

Okay Boomer!

(Hell of a retirement plan!)
posted by darkstar at 5:12 PM on February 22 [2 favorites]

So cool. Best one like this in existence... So cool.
posted by Windopaene at 5:42 PM on February 22 [2 favorites]

That's AMAZING!!!

Love this.
posted by chris24 at 5:56 PM on February 22

Thanks for posting this. That was a wonderful interaction to hear.
posted by wittgenstein at 9:01 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]

Super fun. Thanks!
posted by Bella Donna at 9:21 PM on February 22

That's fabulous! Now get those fuckin' receipts out of the sun.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:22 PM on February 22 [9 favorites]

Wow, a months salary could buy a Rolex back then?
posted by captain afab at 9:57 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]

My god. His hair. The beauty of it.
posted by howfar at 11:28 PM on February 22 [15 favorites]

That man is Will Forte and none of you shall convince me otherwise.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:45 AM on February 23 [1 favorite]

That was fantastic!
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 4:31 AM on February 23

My god. His hair. The beauty of it.

My dad has this same ZZ Top grey hair thing going on. It's magnificent. Bonus points for when he tucks his beard into a shirt so that he can pull off an instant Santa cosplay.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:11 AM on February 23 [2 favorites]

Wow, a months salary could buy a Rolex back then?

They were expensive-but-reasonable for many decades; it is more recently that they shifted up several notches of cost. If I am getting the models correct, the current equivalent of that watch has a MSRP of just over $13k, so quite a bit more than a month's salary for someone enlisted in the Air Force.

Good for him, I hope he can turn that windfall into a really fun retirement.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:46 AM on February 23 [3 favorites]

Aw, this was great! Good for you, nice ZZ Top beard man!

What happens after the valuation part of this show? Does someone give him advice on how and where to sell it to get the full amount that it's worth?
posted by aka burlap at 8:22 AM on February 23

The comments on that video are interesting. The riffs on what Rick of "Pawn Stars" would have told him are funny and some of the analysis on how correct the appraiser points to the appraiser being either not an expert or something was staged.
posted by Fukiyama at 9:10 AM on February 23

I know a somewhat crooked antiques dealer, although I suspect very few are angels, who maintains tat the UK AR valuations are heavily inflated for drama reasons and it isn't good for business. I can't tell whether this is true, but it does seem to bother them.
posted by Devonian at 9:55 AM on February 23

This watch dealer's video discusses the watch evaluation at length.
posted by Rumple at 11:10 AM on February 23 [7 favorites]

I love antiques roadshow and this is one of the best reactions I’ve seen! Draft number 7 deserves a $700,000 payoff.
There’s also a part of me that wants this guy to say, “screw it, I’m keeping my Rolex” and wear it scuba diving.
posted by areaperson at 5:41 PM on February 23 [2 favorites]

It's about time.
posted by srboisvert at 5:43 AM on February 24

You guys should really watch the link that Rumple posted. I’m nobody, and I could tell that watch had been worn quite a bit. The dealer in the video breaks it down convincingly.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:48 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]

This vid has been floating around for a few weeks. I'm a big watch nerd and LOVE it.

The shift of Rolex from "expensive, but affordable if you want/need a robust, reliable watch" to "extremely expensive status item" is kind of fascinating, and has at its root two big events.

The biggest is probably the advent of quartz watches, and Rolex's response to it. Remember, before the 70s, watches were pretty much all mechanical. There were many, many makers of good watches. Most were normal timepieces for everyday wear by normal people, but the high end existed, too. Rolex, critically, wasn't the high end at the time -- as I think would be obvious from the fact that this Airman bought one (for more military-Rolex fun, check out the real story of the Great Escape). Even in the 70s, a steel Rolex was an utterly normal if somewhat expensive watch that any middle-class person could have if they wanted. I'm sure plenty of military folks wore them, since their reliability was already well established. (I mean, in steel -- start adding gold or platinum or gems, and it's a different thing.)

The other was their good fortune in having Cubby Broccoli put a Rolex on Sean Connery's wrist in 1962. People laugh, but that was actually a big deal. (Newman's association was probably the 3rd big effect.)

Then quartz happened and eviscerated the market for mechanical watches for people who just needed to tell the time. Lots of Swiss makers (and nearly all American ones) went belly-up or got acquired, because their pie was getting eaten by Seiko and other folks who were better positioned to shift to quartz/digital, or who didn't poo-poo it for class reasons.

As a result the number of watchmakers who are still actual watchmakers -- which is to say, make the whole watch as opposed to companies that buy movement blanks and slap their name on the case -- is super tiny compared to the 1960s, but one company kind of stands out in that group: Rolex. (Rolex is probably also the lower bound for old-world in-house mechanical watches; most everyone else who survived doing this is much more expensive.)

They survived partly because they're owned by a trust, not rapacious profit-mongering jackholes, and so could play a long game. And their long game has mostly been about (a) not compromising quality ever and (b) gradually shifting the positioning of the watch upmarket, to a place where the consumer was willing to pay a premium for an in-house watch.

It's also worth noting that the primary line of Rolexes -- the watches they call "Oyster," and which come in a variety of levels of bling and case materials -- are completely fucking bulletproof and can be worn daily for decades with minimal service or attention. Super-high-end brand Patek loves to advertise that "you never really own a Patek; you just take care of it for the next generation," but Patek watches are fancy hothouse flowers. Rolexes are workhorse watches that get worn every day by multiple generations, no word of it a lie.

This is why you see people whose jobs are hard on watches -- for example, chefs or contractors or whatnot-- choose steel Rolexes as a "success" token: because they can wear them to work. You could probably drop a Submariner in the deep fryer and not hurt it.

If you want to know something about the pricing curve, well, I have anecdata.

My mom bought my dad a Rolex in the late 70s. We were not wealthy people, but dad was reasonably successful -- not "fancy vacation and German car" successful, but "nicer than normal house and good clothes" successful. The model in question was like $2500 at the time -- it's the two-tone variant (random Googled pic) that inspired a million copies from Seiko and Citizen and whatnot. Sure, $2500 was far from chump change in 1976 or whatever, but it wasn't grossly extravagant for an upper-middle-class home.

The current retail price for that model of Rolex is about $12,000, which in 2020 is WILDLY higher than what an equivalently successful veterinarian would entertain for a watch, even a nice one.

Anyway, the appraisal guy's watch is a unicorn, for the reasons cited in the video, and it's a unicorn variant of the single most watch-nerd popular Rolex (the Daytona, which got hot largely because Paul Newman wore one -- a gift from Joanne Woodward -- for YEARS). It's a unicorn of unicorns, and so the valuation isn't super surprising to me -- but like all such things, I suspect the valuation is time-sensitive. The owner should probably sell it, buy a new one with the proceeds if he likes, and bank the rest. ;)
posted by uberchet at 7:58 AM on February 24 [10 favorites]

Oh, and the WWII story I linked above has also been the subject of a post here:

Here you go.
posted by uberchet at 9:43 AM on February 24

Sure, $2500 was far from chump change in 1976 or whatever, but it wasn't grossly extravagant for an upper-middle-class home.

$2500 in January 1976 = $11599 in Jan 2020. So they have increased in price beyond inflation by $400 in 44 years.
posted by The_Vegetables at 10:22 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]

Burnt my fingers man.

Louis Winthorpe III:
I beg your pardon?

Man, that watch is so hot, its smokin'.

Louis Winthorpe III:
Hot? Do you mean to imply stolen?

I'll give you fifty bucks for it.

Louis Winthorpe III:
Fifty bucks? No, no, no. This is a Rouchefoucauld. The finest water-resistant watch in the world. Singularly unique, sculptured in design, hand-crafted in Switzerland and water resistant to three atmospheres. This is *the* sports watch of the '80s. Six thousand, nine hundred and fifty five dollars retail!

You got a receipt?

Louis Winthorpe III:
It tells time simultaneously in Monte Carlo, Beverley Hills, London, Paris, Rome and Gstaad.

In Philadelphia, it's worth 50 bucks.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:37 AM on February 24 [1 favorite]

(I checked with my mother; it was 1979, not '76, which makes a rather material difference in the curve -- inflation-adjusted $8900.)
posted by uberchet at 2:47 PM on February 24 [2 favorites]

@Ben Trismegistus

Not just any pawnbroker. That was Bo Diddley himself!
posted by indianbadger1 at 4:22 PM on February 24

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