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Benjamin Sexton (24) had all but given up on getting back his family's Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch after losing it in the Meridian mall on Sunday and ''couldn't believe it'' when a Meridian manager yesterday brought it into Michael Hill Jeweller, where he works.
''The guy walked in with my watch in his hand. I was playing with earrings and then I looked up [and saw it].''
''I [had] actually started accepting it was gone and I was getting quite down about it.''
The watch was left to him following the death of his father, after whom he is named.
Being reunited with the watch meant he would be able to wear it at tomorrow's University of Otago graduation, where he will graduate with a bachelor of commerce degree.
This was of special significance to him and his family and he were planning to give the watch to his brother, so he could wear it when he graduated later this year.
Before losing the watch he had spent hundreds of dollars having it restored and had just got it back from a Queenstown-based jeweller after it was rebuilt with original Swiss parts.
It turned out Mr Sexton had lost the watch only metres from his work, where it was found by a Meridian cleaner.
The cleaner, who was off work for the next two days, handed it in after seeing the story in yesterday's Otago Daily Times.
Mr Sexton met the cleaner yesterday afternoon and was going to thank him by buying him some beer.
He also wanted to thank police and the Meridian staff who had helped track down the watch and everyone who had offered him support on social media.
''The Dunedin community has been so supportive - it's been awesome. It makes me proud to live in Dunedin.''