Hollywood icon Paul Newman's 1968 Rolex Daytona Watch, which was a gift from his wife and actress Joanne Woodward, sold for $17.75 million, setting a world record at the Phillips Auction titled "Winning Icons — Legendary Watches of the 20th Century."
Notice of the sale was announced back in June and, since then, has been a hot topic of conversation among watch collectors. The opening price of the watch was set at $1 million, but as soon as the auctioneer got the sum out of his mouth, a bidder immediately upped the offer to $10 million.
The watch was a Rolex timepiece that Woodward most likely purchased nearly 50 years ago for somewhere between $200 and $300. At the time, it had an unusual dial that Rolex called "exotic" thanks to the three colors: cream dial, black subdial, red accents.
Woodward was a bit nervous about Newman's fast driving on and off the set. So, sometime during or just after the filming of the movie Winning (in which she and Newman starred), Woodward purchased the watch and had the back engraved with the words: “Drive Carefully" and her signoff "Me."
Bidding on the watch escalated for 12 minutes, culminating in a record for the highest price ever paid for a watch at auction. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Nell Newman Foundation and another portion will to benefit the Newman’s Own Foundation.
All images courtesy of Phillips in Association with Bacs and Russo.