About Last Night: A Recap of the Phillips Winning Icons Auction featuring Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona


Wow.

It’s all over.

Months of anticipation led to last night’s sale when Paul Newman’s legendary Daytona sold for a hammer price of $15.5 million — $17.75 million after auction premium and before taxes. This makes it the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction, but not the most expensive watch overall — the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication takes that prize.

The atmosphere was electric at Phillips showroom on Park Avenue. After Aurel Bacs started bidding at $1 million, an anonymous telephone bidder jumped the price immediately to $10 million. Over the next 12 minutes, two bidders battled while Mr. Bacs — ever the showman — deliberating between the two, consistently reminding the audience that whatever sum is reached is going towards the Nell Newman Foundation. Finally, the bidding slowed before settling at the astronomical price tag of $15.5 million. With a drop of the gavel, the most anticipated wristwatch in auction history was gone.

Here is the rest of the top ten lots from last night.

Lot #50:

Patek Philippe, Ref. 1518

A pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph with moon-phase indication and tachymeter scale from 1951 that was estimated to sell for between $600,000 and $1,200,000. It sold for $975,000.

Lot #47:

Philippe Dufour, Duality

A platinum wristwatch with double regulator, certificate and fitted presentation box from 1996 that was estimated to sell for between $200,000 and $400,000. It ended up selling for $915,000.

Lot #18:

Audemars Piguet, Ref. 5516 Perpetual Calendar

A yellow-gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with leap-year indication, moon-phase aperture, and additional dial from 1957 that was estimated to sell for between $300,000 and $600,000. A world record for this reference, it sold for $615,000.

 

Lot #12:

Rolex, Ref. 8171 “Padellone”

A well-preserved triple calendar wristwatch with grainé dial featuring luminous hour markers and hands from 1950 that was estimated to sell for between $400,00 and $800,000. It sold for $603,000.

Lot #19:

Patek Philippe, Ref. 1463 ‘Tasti Tondi”

A stainless-steel chronograph wristwatch with two-tone silvered dial with outer tachymeter scale from 1949 that was estimated to sell for between $300,000 and $600,000. It sold for $591,000.

Lot #33:

Rolex, Ref. 6200 Submariner

A stainless steel wristwatch with black glossy Explorer dial, gilt hands, presentation box, and hangtags from 1954 that was estimated to sell for between $250,000 and $500,000. A world record for this reference, it sold for $579,000.

Lot #34:

Rolex, Ref. 6284

A 14k yellow-gold wristwatch with a cloisonné enamel dial depicting North and South America from 1950 that was estimated to sell for between $300,000 and $600,000. It sold for $567,000.

Lot #43:

Rolex, Ref. 6062 “Stelline”

A yellow-gold triple calendar wristwatch with star dial, moon-phase indication and bracelet from 1953 that was estimated to sell for between $250,000 and $500,000. It sold for $495,000.

Lot #45:

Patek Philippe, Ref. 3448 “Padellone”

A well‐preserved white-gold perpetual calendar wristwatch with moon-phase indication, and rare reversed date dial, original literature, and presentation box from 1972 that was estimated to sell for between $250,000 and $500,000. It sold for $471,000.

 

6 Responses to “About Last Night: A Recap of the Phillips Winning Icons Auction featuring Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona”

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  1. Jorge Robles

    Good for the Foundation, bad for the value market!!!!. I bought one of those Rolex Chronos from a retailer that still had two or three of them left from old stock in 1969 or 1970, and I liked it at first, but it gave me problems, and took it to the dealer two or three times for service in the two years I had it, never coming back to me with the problem solved. I eventually sold it to a friend of mine who lost it while doing mountain climbing(?). I also bought an used Omega Speedmaster before the Professional logo and that watch NEVER gave me a single problem like that Rolex. Maybe if I had saved that Rolex for the future I would had profited from its fame, but at the time it was a lemon for me, and not worth it. I really think I got a lemon, not characteristic from Rolex, but still prefer my Omega, that I still have, and that have been joined by more Omegas like a 1970 Ploprof, a Speedmaster 125, and the most valuable for me, a 1045-equipped automatic Speedmaster from 1989(The “Holy Grial” according to the late Chuck Maddox). I used all of them interchangeably daily, I could never do that with that Rolex…..

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  2. Otsenre Matos

    It’s a source of a wishful dream, the owner can wear and dream of driving a fancy race car with Paul Newman. When he close his eyes and listen to the watch ticks!!

    Reply
  3. Ian Woollard

    15.5 million is outrageously expensive,and I do understand it’s a special watch but when is enough is enough? I love watches but I think spending money like this becomes a competition to see who’s the wealthiest and how much they can make off it in the future. It’s certainly not about telling the time. What do you think good,bad or otherwise? I’d been interested to know what fellow watch enthusiasts have to say.

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    • Dave Hammond

      @Ian Wollard: none of buyers if rare watches at auction are ever buying a watch to tell the time! They’re buying a rare, generally unique piece of watchmaking history; and, yes, they’re speculating that the investment will increase in value. In the case of someone spending hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars on a watch, it’s never money that they otherwise “need” — these individuals are so wealthy that these sums are almost insignificant to them.

      In the case of the PN Daytona, the buyer now owns the most well-known and coveted Rolex that has ever been produced. In the Rolex world, while obviously not a significant feat of watchmaking prowess, it is still arguably on par with Patek’s Graves super-complication, or Breguet’s Marie Antoinette.

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