Watches and Cars: Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona going up for auction

If you’re passionate about cars, there’s a chance that you have a strong passion for watches as well. Both are mechanically impressive and both have rich histories in racing, so car enthusiasts often really like watches. Though, there are a few timepieces that really speak to car enthusiasts. The Tag Heuer Monaco is one of them, as it was famously worn by Steve McQueen. But the other is the Rolex Daytona, which was famously worn by Paul Newman. The latter is arguable the most famous and Newman’s own Daytona is now up for auction. Any car enthusiasts should be interested.

The Rolex Daytona was probably the best automatic chronograph in the world at the time Newman wore it, in the 1960’s. Especially so for auto racing, ass its chronograph could be used to accurately time laps, again and again, without fail. Plus, it looked beautiful and was made with Rolex’s typically superb quality.

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In 1963, Newman’s wife Joanne Woodward bought him this specific Rolex Daytona at Tiffany, as she knew of his love for racing. While acting was his profession, Newman’s passion was on the track. So a Daytona was the perfect gift. Not only was the watch perfect in itself, Joanne had the caseback engraved with “Drive Carefully Me”, telling him to be careful, from her. Not only is this watch special because of who owned it and the story behind it but because of its rarity. Only 2,000-3,000 Daytonas were made with black subdials and a white face.

The watch will soon go up for auction from the Phillips Auction House on October 26. It’s expected to sell for over $1 million and a portion of the money will go to the Nell Newman Foundation. While a $1 million seems like a lot of money to spend on a watch, it’s not hard to imagine a wealthy collector wanting not only one of the most historic watches in the history of both watches and motorsport but one that was owned, worn and loved by one of the most famous actors and racing drivers in history.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.