Last year, on the PBS television show Antique Roadshow, an army veteran brought in a rare Rolex GMT Master Ref. 6542 that he says he purchased in 1960 at a PX (post exchange) at a military base in Germany before coming home to the United States.
The date is verified on the original papers. In fact, he saved everything – the complete kit – including all papers, box, and receipt. The bracelet had been replaced, but the owner also kept the original.
Although the host did explain the bracelet, he did not mention that the dial and hands appear to have been relumed. And nothing about the rare “Bakelite” bezel.
Although considering the price estimate he stated, $65K-$75K, he knew it was a Bakelite bezel but just failed to highlight that fact.
This being a 1960 watch means this was likely the very last year of the “Bakelite” bezel as Rolex discontinued them due to quality control issues, namely that they would crack and deteriorate.
Best of all, was the reaction of the gentleman’s face when he realized that watch which he paid $120.35 for approximately 55 years ago was now worth over sixty thousand dollars.