A Rolex GMT Worn During The Apollo 14 Recovery Is Headed To Auction

Own an exceptional piece of horological history.

(Bob's Watches)

Purpose-built watches are often built for extreme conditions, but there’s only one watch with a story quite like the Rolex GMT-Master owned by U.S. Navy Captain Thomas Francis Finley Jr.: That watch adorned the helicopter pilot’s wrist as he flew rescue missions for the 1971 retrieval of Apollo 14 astronauts.

“Extreme conditions” doesn’t quite begin to cover it, and that remarkable piece of functional history is why Finley’s watch is set to be auctioned off by Bob’s Watches later this week.

(Bob’s Watches/Courtesy of Thomas Francis Finley Jr.)

The watch itself is part of a series of remarkable Apollo 14 souvenirs included in the auction lot, a list that’s filled with historical gems.

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(Bob’s Watches)

Those include a framed NASA photo featuring Finley’s helicopter above the Kitty Hawk spacecraft, along with Finley’s own 1967 issue G1 flight jacket and multiple patches from the jacket.

The auction lot even includes an aviator’s flight log, plus the flight schedule for the day of the Apollo 14 retrieval mission itself.

(Bob’s Watches)

The watch is exceptional in its own right, as Bob’s Watches notes that it “tells the story of an American hero.”

Finley acquired the timepiece on shore leave in Hong Kong in 1969 at the recommendation of other service members, as he searched for a reliable watch to replace his waterlogged standard-issue field watch.

Beyond that, he kept the original box and papers for the 1675 Rolex GMT-Master circa 1968 over the years, another remarkable turn of events that speaks to the longevity of many a Rolex watch.

(Bob’s Watches)

Finley served for 28 years before retiring as a Navy Captain, and he volunteers to this day on the USS Midway at Navy Pier in San Diego.

(Bob’s Watches)

Rolex watches tend to fetch record-breaking numbers at auction, but this timepiece is a bit more attainable: It’s expected to go for between $15,000 and $30,000.

All the same, Bob’s Watches rightly notes that “every item in this lot not only adds monetary value but deepens the sentimental journey that the new owner will undoubtedly cherish.”

Keep an eye out for a chance to bid on numerous pieces of history (and one incredibly cool watch) starting November 10th.

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