A Rolex Double Red Sea-Dweller Story

As a watch lover and an avid vintage buyer there’s one story that repeats itself time and time again in my head (and I’m sure I’m not the only one), that is the unexpected/amazing basement/attic find at a deceased family members house. Nothing is more exciting than the idea of finding a valuable forgotten  timepiece that once belonged to a grandfather. There’s one friend in particular I often discuss this fantasy with and yesterday he sent me a message with an Ebay link to a 1967 Rolex Double Red Seadweller. For those that don’t know, the Double Sea-Dweller is one of the most collectible watches in the world but this particular one came with a story, the same story I’ve spent so many hours dreaming about.

Here is the story of the watch of how it was found by the current owners:

“While knee-deep in the basement, looking for items to sell at a charity event, I was just sifting through your common basement detritus when I moved an item off a shelf above my head. Accompanied by years worth of dust and an old dial telephone, an envelope literally fell into my lap. Being the curious turd I am, I opened the envelope and there, staring me in the face was this watch, case and band wrapped tightly in an old eyeglass rag. As I stated before, I wasn’t; until recently, versed in anything Rolex. I have a lot of friends who own Rolex’s; Daytonas and such, but I never gave them a second thought. To be honest, I’m more of a Timex guy, wearing something like this to work would be foolish. I’m in law enforcement so whatever I’m wearing would be subject to some extreme conditions, dirt, gore, asphalt and not to mention suspicion. It’s not common for any of us in this profession to wear something as valuable as a Rolex, not to say it doesn’t happen, it’s just not common.

So, once I identified the watch, first thinking it might be a fake, I went upstairs and showed it to the wife. It was at that time, family history reared its head and things started to make sense. A relation no longer with us had at one time been a diver. Unfortunately, as history some time does, much of what happened during this persons life is lost forever, taken from us with very little record and distorted by aged relations. We have and still are gathering SOME information from other sources within the family. Apparently, the original owner of the watch had been a commercial diver, working jobs in the Lake Michigan region and apparently worked on some jobs associated with the Mackinaw Bridge construction in Northern Michigan. We’re still gathering information and are attempting to talk with the Mackinaw Historical Society, Mackinaw Bridge Authority and other entities that might have something to offer. It’s an ongoing process.

Once we got our ducks in a row, we took the watch to an established watchmaker-repair shop not far from where we live. The wife had taken some rather expensive timepieces for repair in the past to this gentleman. The guy took the watch, looked at it, removed the back and said, “Nice watch, it would take me a lot of time to fix it”, “I’ll give you $50.00 bucks for it.”….we left….with the watch.

Months went by, the watch tucked securely in the wife’s purse, forgotten. We laugh today thinking of how many times she left her purse unattended in the shopping cart, turning her back on it to reach for a carton of milk at the store. We live in a very nice and safe part of the country, but still….dummies. So, if I haven’t bored you enough, just within the last week or so, curiosity got the best of me during another fund raiser and I sat behind the computer looking for information. I got an education on Rolex, learned that this might be a very valuable piece, told it was a historical timepiece etc. It’s been fascinating. We’re in the process of investigating avenues to have this watch serviced; by VERY experienced hands and by someone who doesn’t have to ask twice “What did you call it? A DRSD 2000?”

So there ya have it. A condensed or Readers Digest version of how Mr DRSD performed its amazing rebirth.”

Check out the watch here.

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James is the Founder and Editor of The Versatile Gent.

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