Australian Surfer Finds Old Rolex On Bottom Of Ocean… And It Still Works

Beats finding a pair of sunnies.

Australian Surfer Finds Old Rolex On Bottom Of Ocean… And It Still Works


Rolex lost and found at sea. We’ve all lost something whilst out in the ocean: sunglasses, board shorts, teeth… But a Rolex? You’d be frothing mad if you lost one of those. But it turns out some poor sod in Noosa did, only for one lucky surfer to come across it apparently years later.

Australian surfer Matt Cuddihy – who is currently rated 92nd on the longboard tour – came across the coveted watch while paddling and snorkelling off Noosa, one of Queenland’s most popular coastal resort towns.

“I was just snorkelling around the same areas I normally go to in Noosa, and there seemed to be a bit of sand that had shifted and exposed more rocks than normal. I found seven surfboard fins wedged between rocks. Looking over, I noticed a Rolex Submariner with its band caught under a rock. The glass was partially frosted over from the sand moving around it for so long,” Matt elaborates.

Since sharing his find on Instagram, it’s gone absolutely viral. Matt’s been absolutely inundated with messages about the vintage Swiss timepiece: he jokes that he got “28 messages about the watch and none about the fins”. (Fins can cost a few hundred dollars each, for those not in the know).

Matt’s unexpected Rolex discovery, before and after getting it cleaned up a little bit. Images: @mattcuddihy

Not only is it real – Matt also joked that he “thought it must have been a Bali knock-off” – but even more remarkably, it’s still running. A testament to the quality of Rolex’s dive watches, we suppose.

“When I bought it in from the ocean, I washed it in some fresh water, and a lot of the sand, salt, and organisms came off. It smelt pretty bad and had some major corrosion to the bezel but the second hand was still moving. The crown is jammed, so it technically still tells the time – but not in my time zone,” Matt explains.

The watch appears to be a Rolex Submariner ref. 5513, a model which was produced from 1962 to 1989. A pretty no-frills take on the Submariner, the ref. 5513 features an acrylic crystal, an aluminium bezel insert, and a movement that, unlike modern Subs, isn’t COSC-certified. It’s also only rated to 200m of water resistance as opposed to later models, which are rated to 300m. Nevertheless, it’s still a Sub, and a very cool one to boot.

WATCH our guide to the most expensive Rolex watches of all time below.

While it’d probably be pretty hard to restore the bezel on Matt’s Rolex, the acrylic crystal could easily be polished to remove those scratches (which is one of the main advantages of acrylic). It’s impressive that it’s still running but it’s almost certainly long overdue for a service, especially if the crown is jammed.

But other than servicing it, we’d err on the side of not restoring it. Sure, swap out that nasty Velcro strap, but that sort of patina is something that many Rolex collectors would die for. Besides, what a cool story – finders keepers, we say.