Paul Newman

Any watch fanatic (especially a Rolex enthusiast) is probably aware of the infamous Paul Newman Daytona, which has already gotten its fair share of press attention in 2017. We wrote about the watch back in June of this year, where we predicted that it could be sold at the highest price ever at auction. At the time, that was just south of $12 million.

Well…we didn’t exactly see this coming.

Just recently, the highly coveted Daytona sold for nearly $18 million at auction. That blows everything before it out of the water, and it’s not even close.

Here’s what happened with the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona

To understand how a watch could sell for such a staggering amount, you have to understand how big of a deal the Newman Daytona is. During his life, Newman became synonymous with the Daytona model, and was ultimately the reason that the watch has gained such a massive following.

Everything that Paul Newman did, whether it was acting or racing cars, was objectively cool as hell. His persona essentially became one with the watch, and Rolex capitalized on it brilliantly by teaming up with Newman himself to produce collaborative Daytona models.

The specific reference that sold at auction, the Rolex Daytona 6239, is a work of art in its current form. It has aged exceptionally over the years, and features a rich patina without any damage to the exotic dial or hands.

Paul Newman Daytona sells at auction

It also has a customization on the case back that reads “Drive Carefully Me”. Newman’s wife, Joanne Woodward, famously gave the watch to her husband after he took up stock car driving as a hobby. While she wasn’t a fan of him racing cars at all, she still supported him (even though she feared he would die in a crash).

The back story behind the watch, Newman’s life story, and the watch itself all created the perfect storm of events to lead to a massive sale.

The auction

According to Bloomberg, the auction only lasted for 12 minutes. Originally, the Paul Newman was valued at roughly $1 million. Within the first few seconds of the auction, the bids were already in excess of $10 million!

The bidding war heated up, but eventually stalled out around $15 million. However, a final bid of $17.8 million came in anonymously over the phone, and the final hammer came down.

Since the bidder requested to remain anonymous, this could be one of the last times that we’ll see the Paul Newman in public for quite some time. However, when it goes up for auction again, we’ll probably see another eye popping number for the most famous Daytona in existence.

Images courtesy of the Wall Street Journal and Hodinkee.

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