Paul Newman's Rolex Just Sold For A Mind-Blowing Sum At Auction

Camille Rivera
October 28, 2017

"The Color of Money" Academy Award victor Paul Newman, left, wearing his iconic watch, and with his Oscar-winning actress Joanne Woodward, who gave him the timepiece. I replied, 'I don't know - I don't have a watch.' He was clearly surprised.

Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona has been sold for $17.8 million, breaking the record for the most expensive watch ever sold at auction. An engraved message on the back reads: Drive Carefully Me.

Newman was seen wearing the watch in hundreds of photographs, the catalog noted, and it became known in some circles as the "Paul Newman" watch.

The "Cool Hand Luke" star - who died in 2008 aged 83 - always wore an iconic Rolex Daytona timepiece until he mysteriously stopped in the 1980s, but the wristwear resurfaced on Thursday (10.26.17), when it went under the hammer in New York City.

Phillips auction house in NY, which has been marketing the story of the timepiece around the world all year, took just 12 minutes to bring the hammer down on a price of $15.5 million (£11.85m). With more than 700 people in the room watching the auction take place, competing phone bidders went back and forth until the hammer price of $17.8 million was settled on by the victor. However, Newman's Rolex isn't the most expensive watch of all time because a pocket watch made by Patek Philippe in 1933 for the prominent banker Henry Graves sold for $24.4 million at Sotheby's in 2015. During one such encounter, Pop asked James if he knew the time. "If you wind it, it tells pretty good time".

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Rolex will go to a charitable foundation founded by her called the Nell Newman Foundation.

The timepiece was so "rare", so "famous" and so "legendary", that watch collectors and dealers exhausted of adjectives and turned to full-throated phrases.

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