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Most Expensive Rolex Ever Sold

October 5, 2018 - Watch Articles
The most expensive Rolex ever sold was Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona in October of 2017. This truly iconic watch was owned by Paul Newman himself, the renowned Oscar winning actor, racecar driver, activist, director and philanthropist. All eyes were on this watch as its price climbed at auction and sold for nearly $18 million dollars USD (about £13,570,000). You may be wondering just what made Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona the most expensive Rolex ever sold. Keep reading as we take a close look at the history of Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona, what set it apart from other Daytona models, and who currently owns the most expensive Rolex ever sold.


What is the most expensive Rolex ever sold?

Paul Newman’s 1968 Rolex Daytona, reference 6239, sold for $17,752,500 USD (about £13,570,000), making it the most expensive Rolex ever sold by a long shot. Previously, the most expensive Rolex ever sold was the Bao Dai, which sold for a little over $5 million dollars USD (about £3,800,00). As for why Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona sold for such an astronomical price, Hondinkee stated, “The value of the Paul Newman Daytona comes down to provenance and market influence.”

Most Expensive Rolex Ever Sold

Paul Newman’s Rolex was described as having an “exotic” dial and only 2,000 to 3,000 of these models were produced. This dial is off white with a black inner ring, three black subdials, a red seconds track and Art Deco numerals. This distinctive timepiece because known as the “Paul Newman” in the 1980s since the actor was frequently seen wearing it on movie sets, while racing and in his personal life.


History of the most expensive Rolex ever sold?

Paul Newman received his Rolex Daytona from his wife, actress Joanne Woodward in 1968 who purchased the timepiece in a Tiffany & Co. store. She had “Drive Carefully Me” inscribed on the watch’s caseback, as a reminder to her husband who had an intense passion for racecar driving. Newman loved his Rolex Daytona and was constantly seen wearing it. When Rolex first introduced their line of chronographs, there was very little interest in them. However, once Paul Newman was seen frequently sporting these Daytona’s, they became much more coveted, especially Daytona’s with the “exotic” dial.

In 1984 Paul Newman passed his Rolex Daytona onto his daughter’s boyfriend, James Cox. At that time, Cox was helping the Newman family build a treehouse and when Paul Newman learned that Cox did not have a watch, Newman gifted him the Daytona stating that it, “keeps good time.” Cox treasured this watch and explained that Paul Newman, “would’ve wanted me to do something amazing with it.”

In 2017, James Cox and Nell Newman, Paul Newman’s daughter, decided to jointly put Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona up for auction. When asked why Cox would sell this iconic watch, he said, “The responsibility of selling this is not just that of bringing it to the watch community and letting them share the excitement and see the watch, but also bringing the attention to Paul Newman.” The two planned to have part of the watch’s profits go towards the Newman’s charities.

Most Expensive Rolex Ever Sold

Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona went up for auction in October of 2017. There was massive coverage surrounding this auction that extended far past the world of watch enthusiasts. To explain this timepiece’s populariaty Geoff Hess, CEO of Analog Shift, stated, “This watch appeals to people way beyond the watch world. It of course attracts those who love and admire motor sports and cars, it also appeals to people who love Hollywood memorabilia. It’s also a piece of Americana, so it appeals to the American history community.”

The bidding for this highly coveted watch began at a million dollars USD (about £764,700), and rapidly rose. After 12 minutes of heating building, the watch reached a recording breaking bidding offer of $17,752,500 USD (about £13,570,000), easily making Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona the most expensive Rolex ever sold.


Who owns the most expensive Rolex ever sold?

After providing such a monumental bidding offer, you may be wondering just who owns the most expensive Rolex ever sold. The truth is that the owner of Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona remains a mystery. During the auction, this person was only known as an anonymous phone bidder. Whoever they are, we can safely say that they must have a breath-taking watch collection and gladly welcomed Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona into their assortment.


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Bio: Written by one of our diamond, designer jewelry or luxury watch experts. With over 150 years of combined experience, our experts are able to comment on trends, share industry knowledge and provide diamond, designer jewelry and luxury watch education.

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