According to a bizarre story, first reported in The Telegraph, a British sailor has been contacted by Christie’s regarding a watch he thought he had lost at sea, 18 years ago. The watch has suddenly resurfaced, in Geneva, Switzerland, and its current owner would like to know if Philip McColl, 68, would like to quietly negotiate the price, seeking approximately Â£10,000, according to reports.Â
The unorthodox approach has raised certain questions about the watch’s provenance, and McColl has asked investigators to find out if the watch was not lost, but stolen by the man who contacted Christie’s. “I’m not prepared to negotiate â they’re holding me to ransom,” said McColl.
The watch’s original owner could easily be identified, since his name is engraved on the Submariner’s caseback: âIl Moro di Venezia, Phil McColl world champion, maxi yacht, 1988.â McColl said he received the watch from his former employer, Raul Gardini, after winning a maxi yacht World Championship in 1988 with a boat owned by Gardini’s company.
McColl thought he had lost the watch for good in 1998, believing it had fallen into the water during a day at sea near Falmouth, Cornwall. McColl says he spent three weeks diving in the area before surrendering all rescue missions. The loss was devastating according to McColl, who felt he had “let him
The watch is currently being held in Switzerland, pending a legal investigation. A spokesman for Christie’s said, “As part of our research into provenance, Christie’s contacted Mr McColl. [He] recognised the watch, which he had owned in the late 1980s. The matter was passed to our legal department to investigate the question of ownership. Christie’s is holding the watch in safekeeping while the legal position is clarified.â