The auction of ultra-rare Rolex replica watches for sale which had been sitting in its owner’s drawer for decades could bring in as much as £120,000 when it goes under the hammer on Wednesday.
A Perthshire diving enthusiast, who wished to remain anonymous, took the government-issued AAA US fake Rolex 5513/5517 Military Submariner dive watches to Crieff-based antique dealer Nick Brewster, who said on “first sight of this exquisite watch, I felt that there was something about it”.
The high quality replica Rolex watches, known as a MilSub, was issued to a former Royal Navy diver in the 1970s by the Ministry of Defence and was bought from him by the current owner in the early 1980s.
From then on the rare item became his go-to dive best Rolex copy watches until the bezel fell off in a dive in 1996 and it was then stored in a chest of drawers.
But on Wednesday, the wholesale replica Rolex MilSub watches will go on sale at Bonhams, in London’s New Bond Street, with an estimated price of between £80,000 to £120,000.
Mr Brewster, of Nick Brewster Art and Antiques, said: “The market for exceptional watches is buoyant at the moment. The last original luxury super clone Rolex MilSub watches to reach the Bonhams London saleroom made £180,000, back in February.”
It is thought between 1971 and 1979, only 1,200 of the top Rolex fake watches were issued as standard basic equipment by the MoD, mainly for use by Navy submariners and their leading divers and mine-clearance personnel.
Today it is estimated there are only 120 to 180 that still exist.
Mr Brewster said: “It is really fantastic when customers bring in their antiques and art for me to value and sell, even better when it is something so special.
“Although not a jewellery or watch dealer, on first sight of this exquisite watch, I felt that there was something about it that made it stand out.
“After a wee bit of research, I realised that it was original China replica Rolex MilSub watches, bar the missing bezel, one of the rarest and one of the most collectable watches today.”
Auctioneers said the Rolex Military Submariner’s unique military-designated features of tritium “T” on the dial, sword hands, 60-minute bezel, fixed lug bars, nylon strap, non-reflective case and military engravings to its back set the MilSub apart from any other Swiss movements Rolex Submariner replica watches.