Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ watch commands $578,100 at Morphy’s

DENVER, Pa. – Morphy’s Dec. 5-6 Fine & Decorative Arts Auction, which realized more than $4 million, had star power working in its favor. An 18K gold Rolex timepiece that had created a buzz in the watch-collecting community ever since its consignment was first announced soared to the top of prices realized when it sold for $578,100 (inclusive of buyer’s premium).

Rolex Paul Newman

Top lot of Morphy’s Dec. 5-6 auction: 1969 Rolex Daytona Ref 6241 “Paul Newman” 18K gold chronograph, ‘John Player Special’ dial with gold subdials, sold for $578,100. Morphy’s image

Known as the Daytona Ref 6241 “Paul Newman” model in the ultra-rare John Player Special black-and-gold color scheme, the 1969 Rolex had come to Morphy’s directly from its original and sole owner, who purchased it new in 1970.

“Every Rolex Daytona watch bound for the United States had a three-letter export code stamped on its movement. The one we auctioned did not, because it was not made for export,” said Ron Ciarmello, Head of Morphy Auctions’ Watch Division. “It was purchased from a premier jeweler in Zurich and remained privately held in Switzerland for close to 50 years. All of these factors made the watch extremely desirable, and we had no doubt it would easily reach its pre-sale estimate of $400,000 to $800,000.”

Detailed postsale coverage of Morphy’s Dec. 5-6 auction will appear in Auction Central News later this week. Click to view the fully illustrated catalog, complete with prices realized, on LiveAuctioneers.

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