When, in 2017, a Paul Newman Cosmograph Daytona watch sold for an eye-popping $17.8 million, it set the record for the most expensive watch ever sold at an auction and it remains, this day, the priciest Rolex ever auctioned.
Now, three years later, another Paul Newman-owned timepiece is set to go under the hammer and industry professionals are calling it “one of the world’s most important Rolex watches.”
The piece in question is an extremely well-preserved Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6263 that the award-winning actor received as a gift from his wife, actress Joanne Woodward, for their 25th wedding anniversary in 1983. Newman who was an avid racer had gotten injured in a motorcycle incident a couple of decades earlier, so Woodward had the caseback engraved with a loving message: “Drive slowly Joanne.”
“He wore the watch nearly every day until he gave it to me,” said Clea Newman Soderlund, the actor’s daughter, in a press release. “He was photographed wearing it on numerous occasions as was I. It has been a treasure of mine for almost thirteen years. To me, this watch shows my mother’s tolerance of his continued passion for racing and reflects the enduring love between them which remained for another 25 years until his passing.”
Newman preferred wearing the “Big Red” Daytona, as it was famous, with its chronograph pushers unscrewed so he could quickly start timing events. The Winning actor often paired the 37 mm case with a bund strap, a Rolex President strap, a Jubilee bracelet, or a classic Oyster strap.
This particular model was introduced by Rolex in 1969 and was fitted with a caliber 727. It was offered either with a silver or a black dial, as the one Newman had, and sports white subdials with a bold red Daytona logo at 6 o’clock.
Another highlight of the upcoming auction is a Heuer Monaco timepiece worn by Steve McQueen in the 1971 racing movie, LeMans. It is the last of two known Monaco timepieces kept and gifted by the late actor to be sold publicly and is dubbed “one of the most celebrated wristwatches of the 20th century.”
Both timepieces will be offered during the Racing Pulse auction in New York City on 12 December, organized by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo.