The ref. 6239 “Paul Newman” Daytona — a rare, somewhat goofy-looking reference of the Rolex Daytona — is one of the most sought-after and expensive Rolexes on the collector’s market today. Though it was originally rejected by consumers for its “Exotic” dial, it was eventually made famous by actor and race car driver Paul Newman (go figure) who wore his daily for years, up until the mid-’80s. It’s always been believed that the watch stayed within Newman’s family, but info on the actual whereabouts of the watch was unknown until now.
Oh, and it’s also up for sale.
WSJ. Magazine reports that the watch will be hitting the auction block this October at Phillips’ first-ever watch auction in New York. Additionally, it has the story of how the watch ended up changing hands: Apparently, in 1984 Newman gave the watch to Paul Cox — who was dating Newman’s daughter Nell at the time — when he asked him for the time and Cox responded that he didn’t have a watch. Newman then gave Cox the watch and told him, “Here, here’s a watch. If you wind it, it tells pretty good time.”
Cox has held on to the watch since, but will now be putting it up for auction, with a significant portion of the proceeds from the sale going to the Nell Newman Foundation. Given the circumstances around the sale, it will be an interesting lot to watch this fall. Paul Newman Daytonas have surged in value in recent years, with examples in good shape starting at around $150,000, and with some particularly special versions fetching over $1 million. But this is the Paul Newman Daytona (it even features an adorable “Drive Carefully Me” engraving on the back from Newman’s wife) — it’s in great shape and was worn by one of Hollywood’s most legendary leading men. Phillips expects bidding to exceed $1 million; we’ll see by how much.