Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 13:41 UK

55,000 clocked up for rare Rolex

Rolex SBS Submariner
The Rolex SBS Submariner was sold for 55,000

A rare military watch worth more than 50,000 has been discovered after its unsuspecting owner took it to a jewellers to have its strap changed.

The Edinburgh shop staff were stunned when they saw the Rolex SBS Submariner, which was created in the 1970s for the British Special Boat Service.

It was identified after its owner, who had no idea of the watch's value, brought it in for repairs.

Staff at Laing The Jeweller realised the significance of the timepiece.

It was sold this week for 55,000 to a private collector who is thought to be based in the Midlands.

The watch's owner, a Fife man who wants to remain anonymous, was gifted the Rolex by his uncle, who served in the Merchant Navy and was based at Rosyth.

This one is about as good as Rolex collecting gets
Ian Malone
Laing The Jeweller

He had bought the Rolex at a Naval auction for less then 100.

Fewer than 1,000 of the Submariner watches were made and they were only ever issued to the military.

They were specially ordered from Rolex by the Royal Navy for use by commandos.

"We do see a few rare watches, but it's incredibly unusual to see something like this," said Ian Malone, service manager at Laing.

"The gentleman asked if we could put a bracelet on it instead of its current canvas/nylon strap, but that couldn't be done without drilling out the fixed pins.

"Once modified the watch wouldn't have been in a collectable condition.

"This one is about as good as Rolex collecting gets."

Jeweller strikes it lucky
07 Aug 03 |  Scotland

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