Man Makes $35,000 Off A Thrift Store Watch

Zach Norris spotted a LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm at a Phoenix Goodwill store. This is what happened next.

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[Above: The 1959 LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm and its original Goodwill receipt/Hodinkee.]

In this world where everything is available via a simple Google search, it can feel like there are no mysteries left. Everything seems to have been found, cataloged, and accounted for. But, luckily, this is not so, as one observant man found when he recently stepped into a Phoenix, Arizona, Goodwill shop looking for a push-pull golf cart. Instead he found a watch that turned out to be worth $35,000.

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[Above: The 1959 LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm/ Hodinkee.]

In a bin of dusty, mundane quartz watches, Zach Norris spotted a Deep Sea Alarm from Jaeger-LeCoultre, something the watch aficionado knew was worth just a bit more than its $5.99 price tag. Though he snapped it up immediately, he was still unaware that he now owned one of the most sought-after LeCoultre watches ever made.

Fewer than 1,000 LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm watches were made for sale in the United States, and further, as he found when he took it to an authorized dealer, this one was old, dating to about 1959, the first year this model was made. The watch also features one of the first examples of vibrating alarms used by divers underwater.

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All of this attracted the attention of Rolex dealer and collector Eric Ku, who offered Norris $35,000 (about 6,000 times what he paid for it) and an Omega Speedmaster Professional for the rare find, an offer he gladly accepted.

[Above: The 1959 LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm next to Zach Norris's new Omega Speedmaster Professional/Hodinkee.]

This article was originally published on Esquire.com


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