Rolex Paul Newman
Back to the Rolex Paul Newman, a legendary watch that takes its nickname from the famous blue-eyed actor. We will discuss the history of the model, its characteristics, and the different versions. The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is a chronograph watch designed to meet the needs of racing drivers thanks to its chrono and tachymeter. The name Daytona is taken from the famous Daytona 500 NASCAR race in Florida. The 1st Cosmograph exists since 1963, with the ref 6239:
As shown in this period advertisement, reference 6239 was initially called "Le Mans", an allusion to the famous French racing circuit.
It is this same reference that Joanne Woodward offers her husband Paul with a different dial, an option priced at 3 dollars at the time. Just before giving him this famous watch, Joanne took care to have “Drive carefully me” engraved on the back of the model.
In 9 years, 14,000 Rolex ref 6239 have been produced, of which only 420 are in gold. This is what contributes to the rarity of the watch, not to mention the exact model that Paul Newman wore.
Indeed, here is an example: the two watches below are 6239s produced in 1967, one sold for $30,000 in 2013, the other for nearly $100,000. The difference ? The dial. This is what makes the Paul Newman special, a so-called “exotic” dial, prized by collectors.
Inside this watch, a mechanical caliber, the Valjoux 72B. It will equip the Rolex Daytona from 1963 to 1965. It is a 30mm movement, with a frequency of 18,000 oscillations per hour, equipped with a chronograph system and a Kif Flector shock-absorbing system.
In 1984, Paul Newman gave his first Rolex Daytona to James Cox, his daughter's boyfriend. A nice reward for fixing the shack at the Newmans' house in Westport. In 2017, Cox then put the watch up for auction, and Phillips organized its sale on October 26.
Bids started at $1 million, but when it came time to pay the commission, an offer of $10 million was announced. The legend is finally sold for 17,752,500 dollars, and becomes the most expensive wristwatch ever sold in history. But what about the variations of this watch? Today, it is one of the most complicated watches to collect, since there are multiple references, and prices vary enormously on the second-hand market. Here is the vintage Rolex catalog:
On early versions, the outer track printed in red and the text "Daytona" at 6 o'clock did not exist. On the right we can see Paul Newman's latest version, the 6263 Oyster version.
Les Paul Newman are classified according to references 6239, 6241, 6262, 6263, 6264 or 6265. Among these references, some original models were produced. Among others, the "Tiffany" version, the "Pan Am" version, or the "Linz".
At the same time, some models were produced in collaboration with Jean Singer & Cie, a dial manufacturer based in Switzerland. In 2000, Rolex bought out Beyeler & Cie and produced all of its dials in-house. Here are some Singer Dial Rolexes:
Since then, Rolex has inspired dozens of manufacturers with the "Paul Newman" design, often copied but never equalled. The very famous Lebanese collector Claude Sfeir, jeweler and gemologist by trade, owns several Paul Newman Rolexes, including a 6263 “Oyster Sotto”.