The sale by Phillips of Paul Newman’s own Paul Newman Daytona has propelled the profile, the desirability and therefore prices of heritage Daytona’s in general to incredible new heights. On one level, it is a measure of the new normal in the world of Daytona that Phillips can put a sale like this together so soon whilst limiting it to some truly special pieces. Though of course the market is simply responding to an audience that craves the product.
The sale is part of an overall event beginning with the ‘Daytona Ultimatum’ and then followed by two other auction sessions over the 12th and 13th. The 32 Daytona’s have been given all manner of names to no doubt inject a little more spice to the proceedings. Of the Daytona’s up for grabs include ‘The Unicorn’ a watch only recently confirmed as existing, made to special order, believed to be the only white gold Cosmograph and being sold for the benefit of Children Action. Also of note are the ‘Moka Luke’ a 1968 Paul Newman Reference 6241, ‘The Neanderthal’ being a 1966 Reference 6240 pre-Paul Newman and the ‘John Player Special’ a rare variant of the Paul Newman cased in 18k yellow gold.
Setting the names aside, the sale charts the journey of this iconic timepiece from its beginnings in the early 60’s through the early 90’s (A 2009 ref 116520 being the outlier). The fact that the focus is on these vintage examples in some ways I think highlights the current state of the market - vintage rules. There is no comparison in desirability in my opinion between these examples versus the modern equivalent. It shows too the level of experimentation in those early days (the auction catalog is a fascinating read in itself) that maybe isn’t present in the carefully measured corporate world of watch making today.
One thing is certain, with no fewer than six Daytona’s expected to sell for over a million dollars each there will certainly be plenty of interest generated by the sale, and with it, a likely further spike in the prices of fine Daytona’s in particular.