Rolex "Prince" Wristwatch, ca. 1930
Appraised Value: $5,000 - $6,000 (1999)
$6,000 - $8,000 (2013)
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (2:28)
GUEST: The watch belonged to my uncle. The story is when my father died, my uncle came to live with my mother, and when he died, it was left in my mother's care. My mother went into a nursing home and when we were cleaning the house out, the watch was in a Polident box in the cabinet. I shook the box and I said, "There's something in it." I opened it up and there was the watch, only the body. I've only had it cleaned once and that was all I had to do.
APPRAISER: Now I see on the front it says "Eaton." And for people not from Toronto or Canada, Eaton's...
GUEST: Is a department store. It was a major department store at one time. My uncle was an employee of Eaton's and he started out in the livery stables and he used to take the sleigh and the cutter and go to the Eaton house and pick up Mrs. Eaton and bring her back down to the city. And all his life he worked within the confines of the Eatons.
APPRAISER: Eaton had these watches made as presentation watches for their valued employees. If you look on the dial, it says in big block letters: "1/4 Century Club." And then on the back of the watch, they engraved your uncle's name, "Oscar Alver."
APPRAISER: 1916 through 1941, he gave his service to the company. Now what's interesting is when we open up the watch, you'll see here that it's signed "Rolex and Company."
APPRAISER: This particular model that Rolex made in the 1930s was called the Rolex Prince. They made it in a few variations, but it was a very high-grade 18-jeweled movement. Rolex, the company itself, was started in 1905, so this watch was made relatively early on in their career, and they're still in business today. One other thing I just want to note is that this band is probably not the original band. It usually came with leather straps.
GUEST: It had no band on it when I got it. It was only the body of the watch in there when I got it.
APPRAISER: Just to give you an idea, he must have been a very good employee and he didn't crash too many cars because in today's market, fair market value at auction, this watch is worth between $5,000 and $6,000.
GUEST: Oh my gosh, you're kidding!
APPRAISER: I'm not kidding.
GUEST: Oh, my God. Holy cow.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.