The 1968 Daytona Rolex once owned by Paul Newman sets the record as the highest price ever paid for a watch at US$17.8 million – that’s RM75.5 million!
The Paul Newman Daytona Rolex wristwatch has a legendary status in the books of watch collectors. The timepiece is a reference to the 6239 Daytona with a black-on-crème, three-colour exotic dial with an art deco style that is rare to about 2,000 to 3,000 pieces in the world. Thus, it is the most sought after Daytona model and nicknamed so because Paul was always seen wearing the watch.
It was reported that the late actor and race car driver had received the Rolex as a gift from his wife, Joanne Woodward, who engraved it with the words "Drive Carefully Me". He owned and wore the Daytona Rolex for 15 years or so until 1984. A young man named James Cox who was dating Paul's daughter, Nell at that time, visited the family home. Paul had asked James for the time but he didn't wear a watch, and so Paul gave him his. James then went on to wear the watch for a few decades before deciding to put it up for auction.
Today, the Paul Newman Daytona Rolex has just been sold for US$17.8 million (approximately RM75.5 million) after 12 minutes of bidding war. It is the highest price ever recorded for a wristwatch at an auction. The previous record was for a pink gold Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph that was sold for US$11 million (approximately RM46.4 million).
Mindblowing! To think the Paul Newman Daytona Rolex – officially called the Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Daytona – would have been priced at around US$200 back then. It was produced in six different series between 1963 and the late 1970s but discontinued due to poor sales.