Australian surfer Matt Cuddihy went viral last summer after he found a Rolex Submariner watch in the waters off the coast of Noosa in Queensland. The watch, which can fetch upwards of $10,000 and much more in some cases, was still ticking when he found it, and he discovered an inscription on the back that seemingly pointed to its owner. He eventually tracked down the wearer, Ric Outrim, after the find received media coverage that Outrim saw.
The watch was in pretty rough shape when Cuddihy pulled it up from the ocean floor. It was covered in rust and corrosion and the braided watch band was torn up from five years of rubbing against rocks and sand. Upon hearing about the situation, Rolex itself wanted to restore the timepiece to its original glory. The Submariner has since been beautifully restored, complete with a metal band, and looks as good as new.
“I would like to say ‘thank you’ to that watchmaker because it’s clear how much love and effort went into this project,” Outrim said of Rolex’s offer. “We had lunch together with the Rolex team in Brisbane. It was missing for such a while that I had sort of reconciled with this sense of deep loss. I never thought it would come back to me, but Rolex was amazing. The people there were so good to me. They gave the watch so much special attention.”
The watch holds a special place in Outrim’s heart. He received it at 18 years old from his father who once served in the Royal Australian Navy and has worn it for nearly 50 years. Needless to say, he was devastated when he lost it in the ocean off Noosa. The watch finding its way back to him thanks to Cuddihy—and Rolex’s gracious restoration of the priceless memento—felt like a miracle. “I am so grateful for this to be returned,” he gushed, per Fratello. “It’s unbelievable. You would never think this could happen. I am so emotional.”
As for the two adventurers, the experience has brought them together and made them best buddies. “I’d like to have Matt as a friend for the rest of my life,” Outrim said. “He’s a person of very high caliber.”
Talk about a lucky find.