1968 Paul Newman Cosmograph Daytona

A 12-minute bid brought in the world the most expensive wristwatch to be sold till date, the “1968 Paul Newman Cosmograph Daytona”.  It obliterated the previous record for most expensive Rolex ever sold, held for just six months by the bargain basement Bao Dai moonphase. Before getting into the details about the watch and the thunderous price that it was sold for, let’s just know a little history of the masterpiece.


In the world of watches, Paul Newman’s Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is one of the rarest and most highly sought-after watches in the world. This extraordinary timepiece was owned by the movie legend, Paul Newman, as a gift from his wife Joanne Woodward, to commemorate the start of his professional racing career. She bought it from Tiffany & Co store in New York in the year 1968 and got “Drive Carefully Me” engraved on it because of his alternate career choice. The Oscar winning actor, after 15 years in 1984, gave it to her daughter’s then boyfriend James Cox only because the boy didn’t own a watch. Later, the watch was put on auction and brought almost €15 million, with all proceeds donated to the Newman’s Own Foundation and Nell Newman’s Foundation.

What makes 1968 Paul Newman Cosmograph Daytona most expensively sold wristwatch ever?

So, the experts say that, this Rolex masterpiece is still in a great condition considering its age. The case shows some signs of light polishing to the lugs in the past however there are still some light scratches on the case band and case back. The dial of the watch is still as perfect as it can be with a beautiful patina. The tritium lume plots are all there except for at 3 and 9 o’clock and most importantly, the original bracelet has the folded links and is not at all stretched out.

Known for its steel bezel and push-down chronograph buttons; this timepiece is powered by oh-so-dependable Valjoux 722 movement, this is pretty darn close to being the ultimate chronograph.

The dial of the “Paul Newman” was also a little different from the usual watches making it exotic”. The dial had acrylic doomed crystals on it and the sub-dials of a “Paul Newman” Daytona have block markers instead of plain lines, have crosshairs across each sub-dial meeting at the Centre and the seconds sub-dial (placed at 9:00) is marked at the 15, 30, 45 and 60 positions. The outer track of the main dial is finished in a contrasting color that matches the color of the sub-dials. The original Daytona watches were not quiet in demand when produced and were relatively inexpensive also, but later, they became highly collectible and fetched super-high prices at the auctions.

The Auction:

On October 26th, 2017, the world saw its one of the most iconic wristwatch become the most expensive watch ever sold in an auction. This exotic black-and-cream dial beauty was sold in an auction at Phillips auction house and that too by a phone caller, yes you read it right! A phone caller who wants to remain anonymous, as said by Phillips, swept away the icon in just 12 minutes of the “bidding-war” session. There were a lot of pre-assumptions about the bid of the watch, and the experts said it would be auctioned around $1 million, but surpassing all the assumptions, the phone caller took away the “exotic-beauty” at $17.8 million. Yes, it will take a minute to sink in the price that this beauty is sold. In INR, it costs around Rs.1,30,81,10,715 approximately, making it the most expensive wristwatch sold, ever in the history of wrist watches.


Numerous examples of the famous watches that have been sold for massive prices over the years, but none of them came close to the price of the one worn by Paul Newman himself. A watch, whose existence was missing a few years back, became the most expensive watch ever. One of the extremely sought-after watches of our time, 1968 Paul Newman Cosmograph Daytona, has reached the number 1 spot in the world of watches and will enjoy that position for some time till it finds a competitor in the market that can come close to its uniqueness, style and most importantly the aura and feelings attached to it. A definite watch to be remembered!

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