Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona Sets Record For Most Expensive Watch Sold At Auction

Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona (ref. 6239) 6 photos
Photo: Phillips
Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona (ref. 6239)Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona (ref. 6239)Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona (ref. 6239)Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona (ref. 6239)Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona (ref. 6239)
Manufactured since 1963, the Rolex Daytona is one of the most desirable series of wrist watches ever created. In production to this days, the rarest and most desirable Daytona chronographs are the four-digit numbers. No. 6239 used to belong to American actor Paul Newman, and wouldn’t you know, the watch in question recently sold for an utterly startling $17.8 million at auction.
The centerpiece of the Winning Icons: Milestone Watches of the 20th Century auction, the Rolex Daytona pales in comparison to the 18-karat gold Paul Newman Daytona sold earlier this year for $3.7 million. Phillips highlights that a portion of the proceeds will go to the Nell Newman Foundation, the daughter of the actor who voiced Doc Hudson in the first Cars movie.

What about the provenance of no. 6239? According to the auction house, the Rolex Daytona comes from James Cox, who dated Nell Newman in the past. As the story goes, Cox received the watch from Paul in 1984 while helping the actor’s daughter repair a treehouse. Considering the $17.8 million winning bid, it appears that giving a helping hand to Nell was lucrative for Cox.

The watch entered the Newman household via actress Joanne Woodward, who gave no. 6239 to Paul in 1968. Other than the motorsport-inspired dial, the second most interesting detail about the world’s most desirable Rolex Daytona is the “DRIVE CAREFULLY ME” engraving on the case back.

In addition to the timepiece, the winning bidder also received an original copy of provenance attestation letter signed by Nell Newman, as well as a photograph of the Paul Newman’s and Woodward’s so-called “Nook House.”

Worn by Newman over the course of 15 years, no. 6239 was also used to keep track of Paul’s lap times. The legacy of Newman lives on through his movies, as well as the first-in-class result at the 1979 edition of Le Mans.

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Mircea Panait
Mircea Panait profile photo

After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories