Paul Newman Rolex Daytona sets watch world record

Paul Newman’s personal Rolex “Paul Newman” Cosmograph Daytona just set an enormous world record for a watch at auction.

Offered with a conservative valuation of $1m+, it achieved $17.8m.

That's a considerable advance on the previous record, set at $11m for a Patek Philippe ref 1518 earlier this year.

Paul Newman Daytona

This is the world's most valuable watch 

So what’s all the fuss about?

The watch is a rare variant of the standard Daytona, released in 1963 with a slightly different dial. At first it was not a big seller. But in the 1970s, Newman (one of the world’s biggest movie stars at the time) was spotted wearing this one.

Almost overnight, the unloved Daytona became "the Paul Newman Daytona" - one of the most sought after watches on the secondary market.

Newman actually gifted this watch to his daughter Nell’s college boyfriend in the mid-1980s, while they were renovating a tree house at the family vacation home in Connecticut.

Nell explains in a letter of provenance: “Pop would frequent the river bank to check on James’ progress.

“During one such encounter, Pop asked James if he knew the time.

“Apparently Pop forgot to wind his wristwatch that morning.

“James responded that he didn’t know the time and didn’t own a watch. Pop handed James his Rolex and said, ‘if you can remember to wind this each day, it tells pretty good time.’”

Nell and James parted ways many years ago, but have remained close friends. Earlier this year, they teamed up to auction the watch together.  

The funds from the sale will go to the Nell Newman Foundation and the Newman’s Own Foundation.

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