In March, we asked you to share the story behind your first Rolex with us. After submissions closed on March 29, 2021, we had originally only planned to publish the winning entry. However, upon reading the many amazing stories you submitted, we quickly realized that one story simply was not enough. So, from now through the end of the year, we will be posting more of our favorite submissions from our community!
Eric from Austin, Texas kicked things off. You can read the moving story behind his Rolex Datejust here. Helicopter pilot Edward from Australia had an exciting tale to tell about his Rolex GMT-Master II. David from Australia did the unexpected, turning his comic book and Lego collections into a Rolex Milgauss.
In the following article, Italian-American Tito from Atlanta tells the story of how he found his Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 on the bottom of Lake Lanier – two years after having lost it there. Also starring in the story: his dog Viola.
The story of my Rolex Sea Dweller 1665
My name is Tito Mazzetta. I am an Italian American. I was born and raised in the eternal city of Rome, and have been living and working in Atlanta, Georgia since moving in the USA in 1978.
Rolex has always held a special place in my heart. My first Rolex was a graduation gift I received from my parents—a mid-sized “Datejust” in stainless steel and gold. In Rome in the early 70s, the Datejust was the dream watch of the new up-and-coming generation.
I can remember that sometime in 1978, before moving to the States, I went to an antique jewelry store, Risivi, located in the heart of Rome near Campo di Fiori. There, I traded my Datejust for an immaculate pre-owned Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 with a plastic domed crystal and helium escape valve. The market value of the Sea-Dweller, which included the original box and paper, was set at $800.
I loved my Sea-Dweller and wore it everyday. Even if I was not able to ever test the helium escape valve or the 2,000 feet of water resistance, I enjoyed its precision, sturdiness, and reliability.
I moved to Atlanta, and after a year or so, I bought a small speed boat that I kept in Lake Lanier. During the spring and summer, I would spend weekends with my friends on the boat, water skiing and having fun on the lake.
One afternoon, while water skiing, my Rolex got caught on the pulling rope, and before I knew it, my Rolex was snatched and sank to the bottom of the lake.
I spend several hours trying to recover it, but the water was too murky and deep. As much as I tried to dive to the bottom of the lake, I could not find my watch. I had no option but to give up and drive back home. However, before returning to shore, I made a mental note of the location and the general area where my watch has sunk, and I promised myself that I would return to look for my watch.
Time went by, and after more than 2 years, in winter 1981, a local TV channel reported that the water at Lake Lanier was at its lowest level in decades as the result of a drought.
This was my chance. My friends and family believed that I had lost my mind when I went out to a local store and bought a metal detector and told them that I would be going back to Lake Lanier to look for my lost Sea-Dweller.
Armed with my new device and my “only” loyal friend, Viola, I went back to Lake Lanier.
Viola was a Neapolitan Mastiff that I had brought to the USA from Italy. Viola had a beautiful silver coat, green eyes, and was incredibly intelligent and protective. Like the Roman soldiers who took their mastiffs into battles, while driving to Lake Lanier with Viola in the passenger seat, I felt I was going to war—war against logic and the non-believers.
When we arrived at the lake, I was surprised to see how much the shore had receded.
A very large section of the lake had indeed dried up. The battle against the impossible had begun. Hours passed, and I methodically scanned the bottom of the lake with my metal detector in the general area where I remembered having lost my watch.
After a few hours of a disappointing search (I had found 2 gold chains and a bunch of coins), right when my brain was starting to tell to give up, my metal detector launched into a loud scream of joy! I had found my Rolex, which had resurfaced from the mud.
I could not believe my eyes. I’d found my Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665.
I was happy and shocked. Happy because I found my watch after having lost more than 2 years prior; shocked because of the incredible, maybe even “divine” coincidence when I saw that the time and numerical date registered on the Sea Dweller corresponded exactly to the time and date when my watch was found.
I was even more surprised when I realized my Rolex was in good shape, and after shaking it for few minutes, it started back ticking without hesitation even after spending more than 2 years submerged in mud and water.
I put the watch on and wore it every day for years until ………I sold it.
Yes, I sold my “special ” Sea-Dweller.
I sold it in 1997 it for few thousand dollars.
I knew I was going to regret selling it forever as soon as I sold it.
Why did I sell it? Well, that’s another story.