Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona Is the Most Expensive Watch Ever Sold at Auction

In 2017, a 1968 Rolex Daytona that was once owned by legendary Hollywood actor Paul Newman became the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction.

Just 12 minutes after sales opened at New York City’s Phillips auction house, the vintage luxury watch was purchased via telephone for a total of $17,752,500. The astronomical price tag included a 12.5 percent premium on the winning $15.5 million bid.

The so-called “Paul Newman” Rolex Daytona was a gift from the Cool Hand Luke star and avid race car enthusiast’s wife, fellow actress Joanne Woodward.

“Many people are saying this is the greatest watch on the planet,” said Geoff Hess, a vintage Rolex collector and CEO of Analog Shift, per Forbes.

“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.”


“It’s a whimsical, art deco style dial,” added Paul Boutros, Phillips Senior Vice President. “There are about 2,000 to 3,000 of this type of dial in the world.” 

“Everyone has been searching for Paul Newman’s Paul Newman” for decades.

The “Paul Newman” Rolex is smashed a previous record held by the luxury watchmaker’s most expensive example—the $5 million-plus Bao Dai Rolex—and the most expensive watch ever sold at auction: an $11 million Patek Phillippe ref. 1518.

Here’s to an acting icon and his timeless timepiece.

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