Rolex Daytona is now the world’s most expensive watch ever auctioned

The Rolex Cosmograph ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona (reference 6239), a watch made famous by the late Hollywood icon has long been a sought-after item by collectors. The first watch of its kind, worn by the film legend himself, sold for a record price yesterday.

Paul Newman is one of four actors to have been nominated for an Academy Award in five different decades. The others were Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine and Jack Nicholson.

The timepiece , which went under the hammer yesterday at Phillips New York sale, sold for a whopping US$15.5 million. Adding the buyer’s premium, the final price rounds up to more than US$17.75 million, a record for any wristwatch at auction.

The previous record for a Rolex at auction was set in May when the Bao Dai Rolex sold for more than US$5 million, also by Phillips, and the previous record for a wristwatch at auction was US$11 million for a Patek Philippe ref. 1518 timepiece, also by Phillips.

Rare 5.62ct green diamond to go on auction at Phillips

Rolex Paul Newman Cosmograph Daytona sold for a record price at Phillips auction in New York.

The auction, by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, attracted more than 700 people to the sale room, bidding online and over the phone. After a 12-minute bidding war, the Paul Newman Daytona sold to a bidder on the phone.

The Rolex Paul Newman Cosmograph Daytona.
The Rolex Paul Newman Cosmograph Daytona.

The caseback carries the inscription “Drive Carefully Me”, which was engraved by Newman’s wife Joanne Woodward, when she bought him the watch as a gift.

Newman’s 1968 model was a gift from Joanne Woodward, his wife of 50 years, when the actor became consumed with motor racing – He won several national championships as a driver, and later owned an IndyCar team.

In 1984, Newman gave the watch to James Cox, his daughter Nell’s college boyfriend, who had no inkling that it would later become so valuable.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the Nell Newman Foundation as well as Newman’s Own Foundation.

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