Paul Newman’s Rolex Oyster Cosmograph Daytona To Be Offered At Auction
Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo will offer one of the world's most important Rolex watches––Paul Newman's "Big Red" Rolex Cosmograph Daytona in Racing Pulse, the Flagship New York watch auction on December 12. The watch is estimated to be in excess of US$1 million and is the wristwatch Paul Newman was most often photographed wearing for over two decades until he gifted it to his daughter, Clea Newman Soderlund in 2008.
Clea treasured the watch for a dozen years and remains remarkably well-preserved, with its engraved case-back displaying the timeless and loving inscription, "Drive slowly Joanne." Bearing all the features of one of the most sought-after wristwatches of the present day, the watch is being offered with its original dial with its bold black dial with white sub-dials, featuring the distinctive "Big Red" Daytona logo at 6 o'clock.
"Throughout his lifetime, Paul Newman was photographed wearing a small handful of Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watches. Without any doubt, it is this association with Paul Newman that has led to the Rolex Daytona being universally regarded as possibly the world’s most sought after wristwatch. Of these, the watch he owned and wore the longest is the present “Big Red” Daytona Ref. 6263. It is amongst the most exclusive handful of watches with impeccable Newman-family provenance," said Paul Boutros, Phillips' Head of Watches, Americas.
According to Newman's daughter, Clea, her father's "Big Red" Daytona was presented to him by her mother, Joanne Woodward in 1983 for the couple's 25th wedding anniversary. Prior to this, Newman was injured in a motorcycle accident in 1965. Despite this, during the filming of his 1969 film, Winning, Newman discovered a love for car racing. These unpleasant memories were fresh in Joanne's mind and she felt great discomfort every time Newman went onto the racetrack for a drive. Concerned for her husband's safety, she wanted to make sure that he continued to remember to take care of himself, hence, the loving message at the watch's case back.
As Clea explains in her signed letter accompanying the watch, "He wore the watch nearly every day until he gave it to me. He was photographed wearing it on numerous occasions as was I. It has been a treasure of mine for almost thirteen 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."
Paul Newman with the "Big Red" Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (Photo: Courtesy of Geoffrey Hewitt Photograph Collection)
Clea Newman and Paul Newman circa 1984 (Photo: Courtesy of Phillips)
Clea Newman Soderlund wearing Paul Newman’s Rolex “Big Red” Daytona (Photo: Courtesy of Phillips)
Paul Newman’s Rolex “Big Red” Daytona Ref. 6263 is estimated in excess of US$1 million (Photo: Courtesy of Phillips)
Throughout his lifetime, Newman was seen wearing several generations of Daytona models––making the model not only famous but also helping fuel the growth and popularity of wristwatch collecting beginning in the 1980s. Newman's photographs where he wore the "Big Red" often show the watch with its chronograph pushers unscrewed, so that he would have easy access to begin timing events, whether it's during a race or simply in his day-to-day activities. His effortlessness and pretentiousness of his personal style and aura carried over his approach to watches.
The Rolex's Cosmograph Daytona was introduced in 1969, the Daytona reference 6263 housed Rolex's calibre 727 and featured screw-down pushers to prevent their actuation underwater. Along with the Reference 6265, the stainless steel bezel version of the watch, the two references sit proudly in the pantheon of Rolex chronograph history. It is sized a 37mm diameter without the pushers, with the gently curved lugs providing comfort for any sized wrist.
It goes without question that the Daytona is a model that will forever be associated with Paul Newman, treasured by watch collectors simply because Newman embodied an unstudied, unassuming coolness while wearing his Daytona that is not so easily captured. The popularity of the model with collectors in the 21st century has increased—thanks to its ensuring connection with Newman.
The watch will be touring Hong Kong from November 26–28, 2020. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of the timeless watch will go to charitable causes that were important to Newman and his wide, Joanne including SeriousFun Children's Network and Safe Water Network, charities that Newman himself founded.
The auction will be held in New York but live streaming is available worldwide at Phillips' office website. Overseas bidders are welcome to use Phillips' online bidding system as well as participate through phone bidding. Interested bidders will need to properly register for the online bidding, which can be done via Phillips' Watch Department teams either by phone or email if you're already registered. New bidders can email directly at email@example.com. For more information, please visit the Philips website.