An Apple-branded watch from 1997 is now worth 50 times more than it was a year ago, thanks to the imminent release of the company's new Watch.

Created as part of a promotion for Apple's Mac operating system in the 1990s, the quartz watch has a 35mm case with metallic blue bezel and rubber strap. It isn't known how many were produced, but as recently as March 2014 one sold on eBay for $54.02 (£37). A identical watch is currently listed for $2,499.99.

Two more of the same watch are listed for $1000 and $750, but none had received any bids at the time of publication.

The surge in value - or estimated value until one actually sells - is down to the Apple Watch, a smart wearable announced in September 2014 and due to go on sale on 24 April. The gadget opened for pre-orders on 10 April and almost immediately sold out, with orders placed a day later given estimated delivery dates between May and August.

Apple Watch ebay

The same model of watch sold on eBay in March 2014 for just $54.02

Apple Watch ebay listing
A year ago, nine months before the Apple Watch was announced, this timepiece sold for just $54. eBay

Unlike all Apple-branded wristwear to go before it, the Watch has a touch screen, can handle notifications like texts, calls, emails and Facebook messages, and can track the wearer's exercise and heart rate. The Watch starts at £299 for the aluminium Sport model; a stainless steel version costs between £479 and £949, while the gold Watch Edition is priced from £8,000 to £13,500.

The vintage watch listed for $2,500 has never been worn and comes with a new battery. The US-based seller, who deals in rare Apple products, claims to have two. They also have a set of two fourth-generation iPods from 2004 listed for $36,000, and an original iPhone from 2007 for $9,000.

For anyone wanting a vintage Apple watch, there are a few different styles to choose from, - including this, which runs backwards. There's no telling if Jony Ive commissioned the unique design, but no one can criticise the creator for not 'thinking different'.

Apple Watch backwards
This Apple Watch runs backwards, can\'t be blamed for not \'thinking different\' WikiMedia Commons