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The Most Expensive Wristwatch Ever Sold: Screen Legend Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona


October 26, 2017 was a significant event in horological history. After a 12-minute bidding war, Hollywood icon Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona wristwatch was sold to a phone bidder at Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo (the watch department at Phillips auction house) in New York for a record-breaking final price of $17,752,500.

The auction, which started with a phone bid of $10 million, had participation from bidders across 43 countries.

The iconic wristwatch is a gift from Newman’s wife Joanne Woodward. From 1969 to 1984, Newman is said to have worn this wristwatch every day until he gave it as a gift to James Cox, a former boyfriend of Newman’s daughter, Nell, for fixing his treehouse.

Cox had worn and kept this precious, sought-after piece all these years, but he finally decided to auction it off last June for the benefit of the Nell Newman Foundation, which addresses environmental issues.

The Paul Newman Daytona beat the previous record of a Rolex watch sold at an auction—with the Bao Dai Rolex sold for $5 million also at Phillips last May—as well as the previous record auction price of $11 million for a stainless steel Patek Philippe timepiece.


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