Man’s $5.99 thrift store purchase actually rare Swiss timepiece worth thousands

  • An amateur watch collector stumbled upon a hidden gem at Goodwill
  • The vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre only cost him $5.99
  • He ended up selling it for a 583,233% profit

Published on Jan 09, 2024 at 8:00 PM (UTC+4)
by Andie Reeves

Last updated on Jan 11, 2024 at 1:43 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones

Man’s $5.99 thrift store purchase actually rare Swiss timepiece worth thousands

Imagine finding a Jaeger-LeCoultre hidden amongst cheap junk at a thrift store.

That’s what happened to one lucky watch collector.

He walked into Goodwill looking for a golf cart and ended up with enough money to fund his wedding.

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Zach Norris is an amateur watch collector from Arizona.

One day he inherited an Omega Seamaster, the same watch favored by Buzz Aldrin.

He then became fascinated with timepieces, watching videos about vintage watches and keeping an eye out for special pieces at second-hand sales.

On his way out of his local Goodwill recently, he decided to rootle around the shop’s watch basket.

When he saw one with the Jaeger-LeCoultre name on it, he knew he’d found a gem.

The timepiece was priced at just $5.99 and he could barely bring himself to hand it to the cashier to ring up.

“I was like, ‘You can scan it in my hand if you want to’,” he said.

“I just didn’t want to let it go.”

Norris knew his find was worth more than its price tag, but he had no idea just how much more.

He took it to a watchmaker to have it valued and left knowing he could make a life-changing amount of money from it.

The LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm was launched in 1959 and was one of the first alarm watches made for divers.

Jaeger-LeCoultre produced less than 1,000 of this model, making it one of its most desirable pieces.

Norris weighed up his options: keep the watch as a collector’s item or sell it.

When he received an offer from Eric Ku, a celebrity in the world of watch collecting, he couldn’t refuse it.

Ku bought it for $35,000, meaning Norris made a 583,233% profit.

He’ll use the funds raised to pay for his wedding and to buy his dream watch: an Omega Speedmaster Professional.

Norris is not the only person to strike gold with a second-hand item recently.

One man found a vintage Rolex in a drawer which turned out to be worth $195,000.

While another bought an old photo for $2 that featured Billy the Kid and is now insured for $5 million.

Best you get to your local thrift store ASAP.


Andie Reeves

Andie is a content writer from South Africa with a background in broadcasting and journalism. Starting her career in the glossy pages of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, Andie has a broad portfolio, covering everything from sustainability solutions to celebrity car collections. When not at her laptop Andie can be found sewing, recording her podcast, taking board games too seriously or road-tripping in her bright green Kia.