Actor, philanthropist, and Newman’s Own creator Paul Newman was also an avid collector of watches. Recently, the late actors’ most sought-after watch sold at auction for just over USD 17.8 million, making it one of the world’s most valuable watches to date.
The 1968 Rolex Daytona was dubbed the “Paul Newman” back in the 1980’s, a time when the actor was seen more often than not sporting the luxury watch. The design features an unusual and exotic dial, representative of the art deco era.
On October 26th, 2017, the “Holy Grail” of the watch world went up for auction at the Philips’ New York headquarters. After 12 minutes of bidding, one lucky bidder became the proud new owner of the Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman” and subsequently found their pocketbook $17,752,500 lighter. Though they bid $15.5million via phone, the auction house charges a 12.5% buyer’s premium, bringing the grand total to just under USD 18 million.
Previously the Bao Dai Rolex held the record for the most expensive watch when it sold for over USD 5 million (twice). But now that title has been passed onto the “Paul Newman,” considered to be a transcendent piece of American history due to its appeal to not only watch collectors but also Hollywood enthusiasts, historians and sports car lovers.
Paul Newman himself was a lover of automobiles, so when his wife, Joanne Woodward gifted Newman the 1968 Rolex Daytona, she had the back engraved with three simple words, “DRIVE CAREFULLY ME.”
The piece of Americana was gifted to James Cox, a former boyfriend of Newman’s daughter, Nell. Since receiving the watch in 1984, Cox held onto the Paul Newman and sought the advice of a lawyer once looking to sell. Through various avenues and recommendations, Cox eventually found himself in the hands of Phillips and promises to donate a substantial portion of his profit to the Nell Newman Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping fund education, animal welfare, and human services.
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