$17.7m World Record for Newman’s Wristwatch

A Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, Ref 6239, owned by Hollywood actor Paul Newman, has sold for a record breaking $17,752,500 at a New York auction, making it the most expensive watch to ever go under the hammer.

In sterling this equates to £13,493,675; Swiss Francs CHF 17,709,894; and Euros €15,228,095.

The watch is one of the world’s most legendary and sought after of all the mechanical wristwatches and is the only ‘exotic’-dialled Daytona that Newman owned. It inspired the legendary nickname for the most prestigious version of Rolex’s Daytona.

Over 700 people packed the saleroom on 26 October for the inaugural auction – Winning Icons – by Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo. In total collectors from 43 countries competed for the 49 lots. 

The auction was led by its star lot and the Daytona sold to any anonymous phone bidder after just 12 minutes.

Also selling well was a Patek Philippe

Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, ref 1518, in pink gold which sold for $975,000 and a Philippe Dufour’s Duality, crafted in 1996, which exceeded its estimate of $200,000-$400,000, reaching a staggering $915,000. The whole sale realized $28,875,750.

Head of Watches, Paul Boutros, said: ‘It was a tremendous honour to have been entrusted with the sale of the watch that started it all – Paul Newman’s very own Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona. The significance of this watch cannot be overstated and we are proud of the enthusiastic response we have seen from collectors internationally, as the watch toured across the globe and as it went under the gavel.

‘We were delighted to work so closely with James Cox and Nell Newman on this memorable sale from which a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Nell Newman Foundation and Newman’s own Foundation, helping to ensure they can both continue working towards their important missions.’

Photographs courtesy of Phillips.

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