Paul Newman's Rolex Now Most Expensive Watch Ever Auctioned

It sold for $17M after 12 minutes of bidding
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2017 3:02 PM CDT
Paul Newman's Rolex Just Sold for a Whopping Sum
The watch is shown in an image from the auction house.   (Phillips)

Pre-auction estimates for Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona—an icon in the watch world—went higher than $1 million. But it ended up selling for 17 times that, Esquire reports. Its $17,752,500 sale price after 12 minutes of bidding set a world record, making it the most expensive watch ever sold at auction, per auction house Phillips. The watch, known as the "Paul Newman Daytona," was purchased for him at Tiffany & Co. by Newman's wife, Joanne Woodward, in the late '60s for likely around $300, reports the Wall Street Journal in an in-depth look at the watch's history.

Newman had started racing cars around that time, and the Daytona has a stopwatch function that is useful for race-car drivers. Woodward had it engraved on the back with "Drive Carefully Me." Phillips says he wore it every day between 1969 and 1984, when he gave it to James Cox, then-boyfriend of Newman's daughter Nell, to thank him for rebuilding the tree house on their Connecticut property. Years later, when Cox (who is still friends with Nell) realized how valuable the watch could be, he decided to sell it and give what the Journal calls "a significant portion of the proceeds" to the charitable foundation Nell started after her father's death. (More Paul Newman stories.)

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