Almost exactly one year ago I posted an article about a Rolex that I found in front of my apartment while I was living in Boston. I brought the watch to work, snapped some pics, asked around the online community a bit and got solid confirmation that the watch was legitimate. That evening I turned the watch into the Brookline Police Department. I told the officer that I wanted to find its original owner as I imagined someone was looking for it, and stated that if the original owner came into claim it to pass along my phone number as I wanted to hear the history of the watch. At this point the officer said to me in a very smooth Boston accent "So a watch collector finds a vintage Rolex on the street and turns it in to find the original owner?.....Good man." Honestly, that alone was worth turning it in. I really wanted to find the original owner because if I lost it I would hope like hell someone was trying to find me.
Along with turning it into the local police department I spent the next couple of months posting on watch forums, and on Craigslist etc etc seeing if I could aid in the search. I opted to not post pics and rely on the owner being able to describe the watch to me so not just anyone could claim it. If I was contacted I would have put them in touch with the police department.
Fast forward to a year later, I contacted the property/evidence officer at the police department and was told that no one had claimed the watch and now I could consider it mine. Needless to say I was quite excited. There was only one problem...I moved to Seattle, I was literally across the country. In speaking with the detective he told me that if I arranged it I could have someone pick it up in my absence. I found a good friend in the area who agreed to proxy me and pick up the watch. I told the detective his name, put them in touch with each other and...Bingo Bango...The watch arrived in the mail today.
So here it is, it's commonly referred to as a "Rolex Rebberg", or "Rolex Trench Watch". I have it dated somewhere between 1914-1920 but am still waiting for confirmation on that. The name "Rebberg" refers to the movement that it has, it's possible this model has a proper name, I just don't know it yet.
Since I started the watchmaking class which has every tool I could possibly need I am going to be able to disassemble, clean, reassemble and oil, regulate and time it myself. The only change I am going to make is the hands, in doing some research I see that the hands have been replaced, I have already found modern equivalents to the originals and will be getting a pair of them. They should look something like THIS.
So all in all it's not a bad way to get a vintage classic...Finding one on the street. I was definitely fortunate that the watch ended up in my hands, and to its original owner, where ever you may be, I promise that your old watch is now in good hands [ask around] this piece will be pampered and cared for properly. I'm sorry you lost it, but am relieved that it no longer needs to spend its time in a police station not being fed daily.