Champion sailor could be reunited with £10000 Rolex lost overboard 20 years
He subsequently attempted to take the auction house to court as his watch was also claimed by the seller, known as Mr Guidi and under international law was returned to him.But the 71-year-old celebrated sailor was declared the rightful owner of the watch under UK law last week in a court order from Truro County Court.However the watch had never been with auctioneers in the UK and the order from Truro County Court does not reference the status of the watch under Swiss and Italian law.Christie’s Geneva said it was therefore obliged to return the watch to the seller who claims ownership under Italian law.“The watch is of no value to me, it’s not about the money, it’s effectively my Olympic gold medal, Mr Gardini gave it to me after our crew won the San Francisco World Championships in 1988,” Mr McColl told The Sunday Telegraph.In a letter addressed to Mr McColl dated January 2017, Rolex confirmed that the watch was listed on the manufacturer’s stolen database in 1999 and a month later, they confirmed it was registered by Falmouth Police as stolen around the same time. In April this year, a Christie’s representative contacted Mr McColl to discuss the return of his watch, asking him to collect the watch himself, or declare whether he needs it to be shipped.A spokesperson for Christie’s said: “Christie’s has made every effort to seek a resolution to this situation on behalf of the two parties. We have now ensured the parties are in touch direct in order the ownership question can be resolved between them. “The court has dismissed any claims against Christie’s. The court has not addressed the question of ownership as a matter of Italian law, which is where the watch was latterly purchased. “Under no circumstance would Christie’s knowingly offer any object where there are valid concerns over the ownership.” A Champion British sailor was offered the chance to be reunited with his prized Rolex worth £10,000 that he lost 20 years ago overboard, after it emerged for sale in Switzerland.Christie’s auction house in Geneva offered the engraved watch to its owner Philip McColl, years after they phoned him and asked if he would “negotiate” to get his long-lost Rolex back. It claimed he refused to engage in negotiations.The yacht engineer was given the precious engraved Rolex Submariner in 1998 by his now deceased former employer and friend, Italian businessman Raul Gardini, who had an estimated £2.2 billion fortune at the time.But he lost his beloved watch – estimated to be worth around £10,000 – while on his passenger boat off the British coast in 1998, believing it went overboard.But Mr McColl became suspicious the watch may have been stolen and reported it to Devon and Cornwall police. In 2016, the sailor said the auction house contacted him on behalf of a seller to ask if he owned the watch engraved with his name and to see if he wanted to buy it back.Mr McColl said that the auction house would have known it was his and had been stolen, due to the Rolex being listed on an Interpol list. However Christies said that the item was not listed on Interpol list at the time of checking. The Rolex which Mr McColl will be reunited with Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.