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Paul Newman's Rolex Sells For Record $17.8 Million

The most iconic wristwatch of the 20th Century, the legendary Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona, reference 6239, just sold for a world record price of $17,752,500 at a Phillips auction house in New York City this Thursday. The star sale of the evening ending after a 12-minute bidding war replaced the previous record for most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction; the Petak Philippe that sold for $11.1 million at Phillips last November.

The timepiece that once belonged to Newman was a gift from his wife and former co-star, Joanne Woodward, who engraved on the caseback, “Drive Carefully, Me”, which is still fully visible and crisp today. In the following decade, this timepiece steeped in sentimental value travelled the world over strapped to the Hollywood legend’s wrist, and became so synonymous with the him that vintage-watch aficionados decided to dub the model after him.

After his staple watch mysteriously disappearing from his wrist around the 1980s, it was finally revealed that the star had gifted it to his daughter’s college boyfriend, James Cox, in 1984. Having donned it proudly for years, Cox decided it was time to sell the piece, in part, to raise funds for the Nell Newman Foundation – an eponymous philanthropic foundation set up by Newman’s daughter Nell.