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When Time Stood Still: Our Journey with the Apollo 14 Recovery Mission GMT

Paul Altieri

What a journey it’s been! From the moment we announced the auction of Tom Finley’s Rolex GMT Master 1675, the buzz was undeniable. But nothing could have prepared us for the final moments of our Apollo 14 Ocean Recovery GMT auction. It wasn’t just about a watch; it was about a piece of history that touched the heart of every bidder.

Tom’s Story Touched Us All

Vintage Rolex GMT Master 1675 Auction The Apollo 14 Ocean Recovery

There’s something incredibly special about Tom Finley and his journey with this Rolex GMT Master 1675. Picture this: a young, determined Tom, embarking on a naval career that would span over a quarter of a century. This watch was more than a tool for him; it was a silent companion through countless adventures and moments of bravery.

When Tom shared stories of his time in the service, and especially of the Apollo 14 mission, we all felt a connection. It wasn’t just the historical significance; it was the way his eyes lit up, the passion in his voice. You could feel the weight of every second that watch counted during those historic moments. This watch had been with him through thick and thin, seeing the world change, and witnessing history being made.

Selling Tom’s watch wasn’t just a transaction for us; it was a heartfelt journey. We weren’t just passing on a timepiece; we were helping to share a story of courage, dedication, and the human spirit. It’s not every day that you come across a watch with such a rich backstory, worn by a man who’s seen the world from such unique vantage points.

As we prepared for the auction, we felt a deep sense of responsibility to honor Tom’s legacy. This watch was a symbol of his life’s work and dedication to our country. We were not just selling a watch; we were passing on a piece of Tom’s incredible journey.

The World Was Watching

Rolex GMT-Master 1675 Auction watch

It felt like the whole world was leaning in, eager to be a part of this extraordinary event. When we opened the registration for the auction, we were hopeful but never expected such an overwhelming response. Registrants poured in from every corner of the globe – 234 to be exact. Each one carried their own unique story, their own reason for being drawn to this piece of history. From the snowy landscapes of Sweden to the sun-kissed shores of the Cayman Islands, from the bustling cities of France to the serene landscapes of Singapore, they all converged in this one, singular moment in time.

Each registration was a testament to the universal allure of Tom’s watch. It wasn’t just about owning a luxury timepiece; it was about being part of a story that transcended borders and oceans. We were humbled and awed by the diversity of the participants. History enthusiasts, watch collectors, and admirers of American heroism – all united by their shared passion.

This wasn’t just a luxury watch auction for a Rolex watch; it was a global event. We saw bids from a spectrum of nationalities, each bringing their own enthusiasm and excitement. The anticipation was palpable, with each new bid bringing us closer to a thrilling climax. It was a beautiful reminder of how something as small as a watch could connect people from all walks of life, from different cultures and continents.

As we watched the bids come in, we couldn’t help but feel a sense of global community. It was a powerful, unifying experience, bringing together people who, under any other circumstance, might never have crossed paths. This auction was more than just a sale; it was a celebration of global unity, a shared moment in history that we were all part of.

The Final Countdown


As the auction neared its end, the atmosphere was electric. The anticipation was like nothing we’d ever experienced. Every new bid sent ripples of excitement through our team and the watching world. It was more than just numbers on a screen; each bid was a heartbeat, each increase a collective gasp of awe.

The tension was palpable, almost like you could reach out and touch it. We had bidders from all over the United States, and one particularly determined individual from Tahiti, all locked in this beautiful dance of numbers. It felt less like an auction and more like a suspenseful finale of an epic story.

As the bids climbed, surpassing our expectations and soaring toward the stars, we were reminded of the Apollo missions themselves – ambitious, daring, and pushing the boundaries of what we thought possible. Each new bid was a step further into uncharted territory, a new record being set.

The final moments were a symphony of frantic clicks and last-second decisions. You could almost hear the bidders’ hearts pounding, their breaths held in suspense. And then, with a final, decisive bid of $25,900, it was over. The watch had found its new guardian, a fitting new chapter in its incredible journey.

This was more than just an auction closing; it was a moment of connection, of shared excitement and passion. We had all been part of something special, something that transcended the mere sale of a watch. It was a celebration of history, of achievement, and of the enduring spirit of exploration.

True to Our Mission


At Bob’s Watches, we’ve always believed in something bigger than just selling watches. This auction was a perfect reflection of that ethos. The absence of a buyer’s premium wasn’t just a policy decision; it was a statement of our commitment to integrity and fairness. We understand that every watch has a story, and our mission is to honor these stories by connecting them with people who will cherish and continue them.

This particular auction was about much more than the final sale price. It was about upholding values we hold dear – transparency, honesty, and a deep respect for the history embedded in each timepiece. We’re in the business of building relationships, not just transactions. The trust our customers place in us is something we never take for granted.

Seeing Tom’s watch reach $25,900, at the high end of our estimates, was certainly a thrill. But more than that, it was a validation of our approach. We strive to provide a platform where the true value of a watch is recognized not just in dollars but in the stories it tells and the history it carries.

This auction reminded us why we do what we do. Every bid was a vote of confidence in our mission, and every registrant was a new member of our growing community. We’re not just selling watches; we’re keeping time with history, and we’re incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do so.

A New Chapter Begins

Vintage Rolex GMT-Master 1675 and G1 Flight Jacket

In the quiet aftermath of the final bid, as the dust settled and our hearts still raced from the exhilaration of the auction, we couldn’t help but feel a profound connection to the story that was unfolding before us. The winning bid from Texas, was not just a transaction – it was the passing of a torch, a continuation of a narrative woven into the fabric of our nation’s history.

This Rolex GMT Master 1675, Tom’s trusted companion, is more than just a timekeeper. It’s a custodian of memories, a silent witness to moments of valor and human achievement that most can only dream of. The new owner isn’t just acquiring a watch; they’re becoming a part of a legacy that echoes the indomitable spirit that carried Apollo 14 to the stars and back.

As Tom bids farewell to his treasured piece, it’s with a sense of pride and nostalgia. The watch, which has been a constant on his wrist through the waves of time, will now mark the moments of another life. It’s a poignant reminder that while all things pass, some leave a mark that endures.

We at Bob’s Watches feel an immense honor to have played a role in this transition. It’s moments like these that remind us why we pour our passion into every watch, every story, every auction. As this chapter closes and another begins, we stand in quiet reflection of the past and with eager anticipation for the future.

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Paul Altieri