Monday, 30 October 2017 07:18

Paul Newman Rolex sells at auction record

Written by Martin Trickett

Paul Newman's own 1968 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6239 sold for a record price of $15.5 million. After 12 minutes of bidding, the watch was sold to a telephone bidder, setting a new record for the highest price ever achieved for a wristwatch at auction. Including the buyer's premium of 12.5%, the final price came to an incredible $17,752,500.

The Rolex Daytona has an unusual "exotic" dial design, and was dubbed the 'Paul Newman' in the 1980s because he was always seen wearing it, according to Paul Boutros, Phillips Senior Vice President and Head of Watches for the Americas.

According to Boutros "there are about 2,000 to 3,000 of this type of dial in the world." and I’m sure their owners have paid very close attention indeed to this particular auction.

There is no doubt that Rolex Daytona’s are very popular, commanding very strong pre-owned values as anyone chasing one will attest. It is also clear that given the coverage generated by this sale in particular, the values of pre-owned Daytona’s will only increase further. Anyone chasing any of the other Paul Newman’s out there may have to dig far deeper than before.

Perhaps at a more subtle level though I think this auction will serve to generate an even greater level of interest in the world of fine vintage timepieces and that I think is a good thing.

I’ll sign off with one last thought. I’m sure the new owner of Paul Newman’s Paul Newman is absolutely delighted with their acquisition. I wonder though what comes next for it. I question whether eventually a collector selling Paul Newman’s Paul Newman will see the same benefit? That is of course a question of passion versus economics. Here at Atlas Fine Watches we recognize in both. For most of us, the proportions with which we listen to the two are a particularly individual choice.

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