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Paul Newman Rolex Daytona

Phillips auctions Paul Newman Rolex watch for record $17.8M

Paul Newman Rolex Daytona
The Paul Newman Rolex Daytona, auctioned by Phillips on Oct. 26, 2017 for $17.8 million. Image courtesy of Phillips

NEW YORK – (ACNI) Last night in New York City a Rolex Daytona wristwatch formerly owned and worn by screen legend Paul Newman was auctioned for $17.8 million. It was the highlight of the Winning Icons: Legendary Watches of the 20th Century sale conducted by Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo, and set a new world record for a watch at auction.

The New York Times reported in August that watch dealers and consultants speculated the Newman Rolex would go for at least $3.5 million but also said it could sell for as high as $10 million “if the right set of bidders got into a war.” The Rolex Daytona model is so closely associated with the late film star and race car driver, who died in 2008, that it has become known in watch-collecting circles as the “Paul Newman” model.

Paul Newman Rolex Daytona
The Rolex Daytona is now widely referred to as the ‘Paul Newman’ model. Image courtesy of Phillips

Bidding on the Newman watch opened with a staggering $10 million phone bid. After 12 minutes of spirited bidding, the timepiece sold for $17.8 million to an anonymous buyer over the phone, as more than 700 people in the packed saleroom looked on.

“This record result is a testament to the historic importance and continued legacy of this Rolex, which is responsible for creating an entirely new market and inspiring a new generation of collectors,” said Aurel Bacs, Senior Consultant to Phillips.

The watch was originally given to Newman by his wife of 50 years, actress Joanne Woodward. The back of the case was engraved “Drive Carefully,” followed by “Me.” Years later, Newman gifted the watch to James Cox, his daughter Nell’s college boyfriend.

Paul Newman Rolex Daytona
Paul Newman with his daughter Nell Newman. Photo courtesy of James Cox and Nell Newman

Cox, who consigned the watch to Phillips, stated that a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Nell Newman Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.

Visit Phillips online to read more about the Paul Newman Daytona.


By Catherine Saunders-Watson, ACNI

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Paul Newman Rolex Daytona