Paul Newman’s $7 Million ‘Big Red’ Daytona Sells at Auction

It may not have quite reached the record-breaking amount of USD$17.8 million that won Paul Newman’s Daytona in 2017, but another of Newman’s Rolex Daytona’s just sold for USD$5,475,000 at “Racing Pulse,” an auction held by Phillips in New York. The watch was originally a gift to Newman from his wife, actress Joanne Woodward, and it bears the inscription “Drive slowly, Joanne” on the back—a reference to Joanne’s discomfort over Newman’s passion for racing.

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Paul Newman's Daytona Sells at Auction wrist

“People love watches with stories to tell,” says Paul Boutros, Phillips senior vice-president and head of the New York Watch department. “They want to own watches worn by their heroes.” That sentiment held true for Newman’s watch, with 24 bids coming in. Livia Russo presented the winning bid from a buyer in Geneva. The watch sold in just two minutes.

Boutros also explained, “There has always been a strong demand for timepieces associated with famous celebrities, even before the sale of the Woodward-Newman Daytona. Getting seven figures for a watch is not easy. So I definitely believe that with the record price achieved for the Woodward-Newman Daytona there was an increase in the desirability for watches with celebrity provenance.”

Paul Newman's Daytona Sells at Auction back

Newman’s daughter Clea consigned the watch to Phillips. She had received it as a gift from her father in 2008. “He wore the watch nearly every day until he gave it to me,” recalls Clea in a press release. “He was photographed wearing it on numerous occasions as was I. It has been a treasure of mine for almost 13 years. To me, this watch shows my mother’s tolerance of his continued passion for racing and reflects the enduring love between them which remained for another 25 years until his passing.”

The watch is a Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6263, which Newman referred to as the “Big Red” Daytona. The model was originally introduced in 1969 and was offered with either a silver or black dial. Newman’s sports the black dial with white subdials and a red Daytona logo.

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