Back in 1996, Only Fools and Horses fans rejoiced as Del Boy and Rodney Trotter finally achieved their lifelong dream of becoming millionaires.
The Time On Our Hands episode was the highest ever watched sitcom episode of the 1990s, pulling in 24.35 million viewers when it debuted on the BBC making it the most-watched Only Fools episode of all time.
It was a fairy tale ending for the Trotters as they finally became millionaires.
Although this wasn’t the final episode, the loveable rogue’s bid farewell (well temporarily) to Trotters Independent Traders, it was the last time Del Boy, Rodney and Uncle Albert would ever share the screen.
So what happens in Time On Our Hands?
The episode sees a nervous Raquel Turner planning a family dinner at the Trotters’ famous Peckham flat with her parents, Del Boy, Damien, Rodney and Cassandra – but thing’s don’t go quite to plan when all her hard work is ruined by a huge blunder caused by clumsy Uncle Albert.
The next day the Trotters’ lives are well and truly turned upside down when Raquel’s dad makes a discovery that lands the family a mighty windfall.
When James Turner picks up his car from the Trotters’ garage the antique dealer spots an old pocket watch sitting on a gas cooker.
After closer examination, he suggests the watch is the work of John Harrison – the same person who designed and built the world’s most successful maritime clock back in the 18th century.
Experts confirm the watch to be a Harrison “lesser watch”, a semi-mythical piece whose designs exist but it was unclear whether the watch was ever made, and the timepiece goes to Sotheby’s for auction.
Del Boy promptly (and rather hilariously) faints after hearing the opening bid of £150,000, but after recovering the wheeler-dealer and Rodney rush back into the auction room as the bidding continues.
The final bid was confirmed at £6.2 million and when Rodney re-reads Sotheby’s statement in the yellow reliant van, the Trotter Brothers begin whooping hysterically, rocking the van with joy as they are now millionaires.
Later in the episode, the brothers reminisce on their life in Peckham and how their ducking and diving lifestyle will change now they’re wealthy.
How much would the antique watch be worth in 2021?
Time On Our Hands was set in 1996 and the watch was worth £6.2 million.
According to the Bank of England, inflation averaged 2.8 percent each year between 1996 and 2020.
So £6.2 million in 1996 is the equivalent to exactly £11,901,859.23 in today’s money.
The Trotter’s would have had nearly £6 million each if the watch had been sold today.