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A watch owned by Hollywood star Paul Newman has sold for a world-record cinching price
A watch owned by Hollywood star Paul Newman has sold for a world-record cinching price

Hollywood legend’s watch sells for $23 million

A Rolex Daytona that once belonged to the late movie star Paul Newman has become the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction.

The Phillips Winning Icons – Legendary Watches of the 20th Century auction took place on 26 October in New York, with the Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona timepiece bagging US$17.8 million ($AU23 m).

A statement released by the auction house noted that the watch sold to an anonymous buyer after 12 minutes of “spirited” bidding.

The 37 mm, stainless steel 1968 Cosmograph Daytona timepiece featured a crocodile ‘bund-style’ strap, tachymeter bezel and an ‘exotic’ off-white dial.

It is believed Newman’s wife Joanne Woodward purchased the watch for her husband, who was a fledging race car driver, and inscribed the back with the phrase ‘Drive Carefully Me’.

Fabled timepiece

According to reports, the timepiece seemingly disappeared in 1984 after Newman began wearing a new Rolex Daytona.

That was until earlier this year when it was revealed to be in possession of James Cox, an ex-boyfriend of Newman’s daughter Elinor ‘Nell’ Newman.

It is understood a portion of the sale will go towards the Nell Newman Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation.

The winning bid far surpassed the watch’s pre-sale estimate of US$1 million (AU$1.3 m) and also smashed the previous record for a wristwatch sold at auction.

This record was previously held by a Patek Phillippe stainless steel watch that sold for US$11 million (AU$14.3 m) at a Phillips auction in November 2016.

The Paul Newman watch, however, is not the most expensive timepiece ever sold. This title is held by the Henry Graves Supercomplication, a gold pocketwatch made in the 1930s by Patek Philippe that sold for CHF23,237,000 (AU$30,359,533) at a Sotheby’s auction in 2014.

The Watch

The watch was inscribed with
The watch was inscribed with 'Drive Carefully Me' by Newman's wife
It was also accompanied with an original letter signed by Newman
It was also accompanied with an original letter signed by Newman's daughter, Nell Newman
The stainless steel chronograph wristwatch featured an off-white dial and tachymeter bezel
The stainless steel chronograph wristwatch featured an off-white dial and tachymeter bezel

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Sunday, 19 November, 2017 09:18pm
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