Paul Newman’s Personal Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Coming Up For Auction

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When it comes to vintage Rolex, few are as sought after as the Daytona Cosmograph “Paul Newman.” Mainly recognizable by their two-tone dials, the watch got its nickname from the famous actor, who’s personal watch is coming up for auction for the first time.

Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona
Paul Newman received the watch a gift from his wife Joanne Woodward, presumably in 1968/69, to mark the start of his racing career. This also explains the endearing engraving on the back of the watch which says “Drive carefully me.” Driving Paul Newman did for sure, as he had a very successful, and indeed safe, racing career with finishing third overall and won the GT-class of the 24-hour endurance race at Daytona in 1995, celebrating his 70th birthday only eight days before!

Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona
Newman wore the watch on a cuff style strap and had been photographed on numerous occasions wearing it. Although now more Rolex Daytona’s have the nickname “Paul Newman” his one was a reference 6239. It featured a steel bezel and pump style pushers that operated the manual wind chronograph movement that is inside the watch. It is, however, the dial, in two-tone and with art deco-style graphics, that makes it a true “Paul Newman” (although that is a bit strange to say about his own watch). At the time this type of dial was not very popular, and many of Rolex customers preferred the more traditional version, one of the reasons that they are so rare today.

Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona
The watch itself will be auctioned off by Phillips in the auction in New York City on October 26 of this year, being offered by James Cox, who was once involved with Nell, Paul Newman’s daughter. Next to an actor and a race car driver was Paul Newman also an avid philanthropist. It is there for quite fitting that a significant portion of the proceeds of the sale of this watch are being donated to the Nell Newman Foundation, as well as Newman’s Own Foundation, both dedicated to supporting projects in line with his legacy.

Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona
As Paul Boutros, Head of Americas and Strategic Advisor of Phillips watch department puts it so fittingly:
“It is an incredible honor that we were entrusted with the sale of what is, without a doubt, one of the world’s most important timepieces. Paul Newman’s one and only Daytona, fitted with the “exotic” dial that inspired the legendary “Paul Newman” nickname, is the top lot of our inaugural New York auction. When I first saw the watch, as my heart raced, I was thrilled to see that his Daytona survived in all original condition, having never been polished or restored. Paul Newman was at one point the world’s most generous philanthropist. With the consignor’s decision to donate proceeds of the sale to the Nell Newman Foundation, Paul Newman’s spirit of giving continues, just as he would have likely done if he were with us today. »
Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona

The bidding is starting at a cool $1.000.000,- but you can expect the gloves to come off. In fact, it wouldn’t even be surprising when Paul Newman’s Daytona would become the most expensive vintage Rolex ever sold. That means it would have to dethrone the Bao Dai Rolex, which sold last May for CHF 5.066.000,-. But then again, how often do you have the opportunity to purchase a watch worn by one of the most famous actor’s, which actually became the nickname of one of the most desirable vintage watches ever?


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