A good Rolex that once belonged to Paul Newman became the priciest wristwatch ever sold at an auction since it fetched $17.8 million on Last Thursday night in New York City. Simply nicknamed Paul Newman Daytona, It was the buzz word for collectors, dealers and watch enthusiasts for the almost quarter century in modern history.
The iconic stainless Steel Paul Newman Daytona was the star of the evening that auctioned more than 50 unique watches under Philip’s “Winning Icons—Legendary Watches of the 20th Century”, auction. The original valuation expected Paul Newman Daytona would sell for over $1 million. The prior record for a most expensive wristwatch belonged to a stainless Patek Philippe that sold for $11.1 million by Phillips Auction house.
Winner of the Newman’s former Daytona went to a mystery bidder on the phone who would like to remain anonymous. The auction lasted 12 mins, and the initial bid of $1 million quickly skyrocketed by $10 million 2nd mystery bidder from Asia. Action packed last five minutes finally ended with a showdown between 2 bidders that fueled the price tag up to $17.8 million. It is a World record price for a wristwatch sold at auction, but in 2014, a pocket watch that made by Patek Philippe sold for more than $24 million.
Actor turned race car diver Paul Newman got his Daytona from his Wife Joanne Woodward during the film production, Winning together in 1969. Winning together, which lead Newman to a racing career. The wristwatch Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, reference #6239, manufactured in 1968 equips with a once unpopular exotic dial, with three dark chronograph subdials, and iconic red Daytona letters and Woodward’s engraving on the case back “DRIVE CAREFULLY Me.”
In the next decade, the watch was part of Newman’s daily life until it disappears from his wrist in early 1980’s. It was part of Newman’s aficionados appearing in advertising materials, journals and documentary footage.
As it happens, in 1984, the Paul Newman gave the Rolex Daytona as a present to James Cox, then boyfriend of Nell Newman. Cox said he wore it happily for a long time and later, safely kept away after he learns that there is a cult following Newman’s Watch.
Cox decided to sell the piece, mainly, to improve the growth of the Nell Newman Foundation where Cox works as a treasurer, Nell Newman foundation charity facilitates environmental and healthy living.
The watch is the “Holy grail of the watch-collecting world,” said Aurel Bacs the auctioneer and a senior advisor for Phillips, in a declaration.