Newman's Daytonas Sell For Over A Million!

Paul Newman's connection to car racing and his ownership of Rolex watches adds a touch of glamour and value to these timepieces, as demonstrated by their recent sale for over $1 million each.

At an auction held on June 9, Sotheby's in New York presented two Rolex Daytonas formerly belonging to the Oscar-winning actor. The watches were sold separately, with each fetching approximately $1.1 million. Bidders participated via phone conversations with Leigh Safar, the vice president and specialist in Sotheby's watches department, and the auction house confirmed the successful sales. It remains unknown whether a single bidder acquired both of Newman's Daytonas.

The auction, titled "Important Watches," showcased a total of 134 lots, with the Rolex "Zenith" Daytona and a white gold Daytona worn and owned by Paul Newman stealing the spotlight. While their estimated sale prices ranged up to $1 million each, the final bids surpassed expectations. The "Zenith" Daytona commanded a final price of $1.143 million, while the white gold Daytona reached $1.08 million after accounting for sales fees.

The Rolex "Zenith" Daytona had been presented to Newman in recognition of his victory in the GTS-1 class at the 1995 24 Hours of Daytona Race. This remarkable accomplishment made Newman, then 70 years old, the oldest driver to win the race—an achievement that still stands as a Guinness World Record. In 1999, Newman, known for his philanthropic efforts, decided to auction the watch during Antiquorum's "Famous Faces" sale. It sold for a record-breaking $39,000, with the proceeds benefiting Newman's charity.

However, sightings of Newman wearing the timepiece in subsequent years raised speculation that a close family member or friend had repurchased it for him. The watch held significant sentimental value for Newman, as it symbolized his racing career and appealed to fellow car enthusiasts.

The white gold Daytona, featuring a black dial and an automatic chronograph mechanism, held an exclusive position among Newman's collection as the only precious metal Daytona he ever possessed. It was one of just three Daytona watches gifted to him by his wife, actress Joanne Woodward. The back of the watch bore an engraving that read: "Drive Very Slowly, Joanne." The couple co-starred in the 1969 film Winning, which ignited Newman's successful foray into motorsports.

Newman wore this particular watch during his final laps at Lime Rock Park in Salisbury, Connecticut, in August 2008, a month before his passing at the age of 83. The recent auction marked the first time this watch was made available on the market.

These two Rolex sales were part of "The World of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman" auction, which commenced on May 31 and will conclude on June 13. The auction comprises over 300 individual items, including unique pieces such as the 1998 Volvo V90 "Volvette" and the racing suit Newman wore in his last professional race in 2007, as well as during his final lap in 2008.

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