The most expensive Rolex ever fetches $17.8M

Daytona sold for what officials said was a world record for a wristwatch at auction. Credit Ron Galella

Daytona sold for what officials said was a world record for a wristwatch at auction. Credit Ron Galella

The two actors, who were married for 50 years before Newman's 2008 death, starred together in the 1969 racing movie "Winning" that inspired Newman's real-life racing career. Cox replied saying sorry, he didn't know, as he didn't have a watch.

Newman later gifted the watch in 1984 to James Cox, who was dating Newman's daughter Nell at the time.

Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, a watch auction house, set a new world record for any wristwatch at auction on October 26. Factor in the additional "buyer's premium", and the watch's final price tag went for a whopping $17.8 million. The watch is considered to be one of the most iconic in history. In a signed letter accompanying the watch, Nell explains the moment the watch got handed down to Cox.

According to NY auction house Phillips.

Phillips' inaugural NY auction, titled Winning Icons - Legendary Watches of the Twentieth Century, made history with the monumental sale of the unique Rolex "Paul Newman" Cosmograph Daytona owned and worn by actor Paul Newman. "If you do not forget to wind it, it tells pretty good time'".

"Pop asked James if he knew the time". Nevertheless, it was the Italian collectors that started calling these Rolex Daytonas with the exotic dials "Paul Newmans".

The actor and racing legend got it from his wife in 1968, with the caseback engraved with the words "Drive Carefully Me".

Before last night, the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction was a Patek Philippe 1518, which featured the first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph.

The timepiece was so "rare", so "famous" and so "legendary", that watch collectors and dealers exhausted of adjectives and turned to full-throated phrases.

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