We all knew this watch was a big deal, it was the only watch everyone could talk about at the Phillips auction tonight in New York City, but still jaws dropped when the auctioneer Aurel Bacs struck his hammer.
The Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239, previously owned by the legendary Paul Newman, sold for USD$15.5 million, plus buyer's premium of 12.5 per cent, for a final price of USD$17,752,500. It set the record price for any wristwatch ever sold at auction, and is now officially christened the most iconic wristwatch of this century.
We spoke to Bacs about the iconic chronograph just weeks before it went on auction and he says, "What a great story the Paul Newman watch can tell. On what days, what did this watch see?"
"I've had that crazy thought, imagine the watch could tell you the 15 years it has lived on the wrist of Paul Newman. Film festivals, car races, romantic nights, on movie sets... oh my God!"
Oh my God indeed.
To put everything in perspective, the previous record for a Rolex sold at auction, of which we also wrote about, was the Rolex Ref. 6062, nicknamed the "Bao Dai", because it was previously owned by the last emperor of Vietnam. That watch sold for USD 5 million.
Before the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona took the crown, the previous record for the most expensive wristwatch sold at auction was a Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 in stainless steel, for USD 11 million, which was also sold by Phillips, in association with Bacs & Russo.