Golf legend Jack Nicklaus just announced he’ll auction his iconic Rolex Day-Date later this year to benefit his charity, the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. The last time a celebrity vintage sports watch went to auction, it sold for a record shattering $17.8 million dollars. That would be the infamous Paul Newman Rolex Daytona that was sold in 2017.

See also: The Paul Newman Rolex Daytona Breaks Auction Record

Who is Jack Nicklaus

Golf fans around the world know him as the ‘Golden Bear’ and perhaps the G-GOAT (greatest golfer of all time). The 79 year old retired golfer won a record 18 major championships in a 25 year span. Nicklaus competed in 164 major championships during his 50 year career, more than any other player ever has.

Why the ‘Golden Bear’? The nickname officially was coined by an Australian sports writer back when Jack Nicklaus had just gone pro. Nicklaus had signed his first contract with a shirt company, and was deciding on an official logo. After disembarking from his plane on an Australian tour, the first airport newspaper headline he read was ‘Golden Bear from U.S. to Arrive Today’ and the name stuck.

According to his wife, “The high school he went to was the Upper Arlington Golden Bear. And so he said, ‘Well, I’ve been a Golden Bear all my life. I might as well continue to be a Golden Bear.’”

The Jack Nicklaus Rolex Day-Date

Nicklaus has worn the same 18-karat yellow gold Rolex Day-Date since 1967. He acquired the watch after he was invited to a Rolex hosted event during the 1966 World Cup in Japan. Not a bad choice for a first ever timepiece. Yep- that was Nicklaus’s FIRST ever watch. It’s been worn during practice rounds, tournaments, and while winning the last 12 of his 18 major titles.

That watch went everywhere. “Anytime I won a tournament, or finished any round, I’d take the watch out of my bag, put my wallet in my pocket, put my watch on, and we’d take pictures,” Nicklaus told Golf magazine.

Nicklaus’s Rolex Day-Date features an 18-karat solid yellow gold band and case with a champaign colored dial fitted with 18-karat gold hour markers. The hour markers were tapered and faceted to resemble golf tees. The Rolex Day-Date is the most prestigious of the entire Rolex collection. Present day models retail for $31,550.

Auction Predictions for the Jack Nicklaus Rolex Day-Date

The action house Americas for Phillips will handle the sale, which will take place at Phillips’ Manhattan headquarters on December 10. The watch is expected to do well, but Phillips’ senior vice president Paul Boutros is hesitant to guess how well.

Nicklaus’s Rolex Day-Date will go on tour later this year, with its first stop at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio. Then it will head on to other golf events across the world. Boutros and his team will then have an idea on how high to set the starting bid.

The Winning Bid Will Be Donated To Charity

Proceeds from the Jack Nicklaus Rolex Day-Date will benefit the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. The organization was founded by Jack and Barbara Nicklaus in 2004 to provide families access to world-class pediatric healthcare. All monies raised go toward the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, and 14 outpatient clinics along the Florida coast. 

The organization has raised more than $100 million dollars for children’s health care, and the Nicklaus family is hoping the Rolex Day-Date auction provides a substantial addition.

Stay tuned for more auction coverage later this year!

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