2 More of Newman’s Own Rolex Watches Head to Auction

AuctionsApr 12, 2023

2 More of Newman’s Own Rolex Watches Head to Auction

Paul Newman’s Rolex Ref. 16520 “Zenith” Daytona and a Rolex Ref. 116519 Daytona will go up for auction June 9 at Sotheby’s.

20230412_Paul Newman Rolex Daytonas.jpg
Actor and watch collector Paul Newman’s Rolex “Zenith” Daytona, left, and another Daytona that was a gift from wife Joanne Woodward are the highlights of Sotheby’s upcoming “Important Watches” auction.
New York—Two more Rolex watches that belonged to film icon, racecar driver and watch enthusiast Paul Newman will go up for auction this spring at Sotheby’s, the auction house announced late last month.

A Rolex Ref. 16520 “Zenith” Daytona and a Rolex Ref. 116519 Daytona will hit the auction block June 9 in New York as the headlining lots of Sotheby’s “Important Watches” auction. 

Newman received the Zenith Daytona in 1995 when, at age 70, he became the oldest driver to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a 24-hour endurance race held annually at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. 

The Oscar winner and champion racer put the watch up for auction at Antiquorum in 1999, where it sold for $39,000, money that went to Newman’s charity, The Hole in the Wall Gang

However, Sotheby’s said, Newman was seen wearing the watch later in life, leading to speculation that a member of his family bought it back for him at some point.

The Ref. 116519 Daytona, meanwhile, was a gift from Newman’s wife and fellow Oscar-winning actor Joanne Woodward, the last of three she gave to him during the course of their relationship. 

Newman wore the circa 2006 watch later in life, including on Aug. 13, 2008, when he took his last lap as a racecar driver, circling Lime Rock Park in Salisbury, Connecticut.  

He died about a month later at 83. 

As she did with Newman’s own “Paul Newman Daytona,” which sold for a record-setting $17.8 million in 2017, Woodward had a loving note of caution inscribed on the back of this Rolex, too. 

“Drive very slowly,” it reads. 

While both watches being offered this spring at Sotheby’s are Rolex Daytonas owned by Paul Newman, neither one is a “Paul Newman Daytona,” a term applied to six specific references with “exotic” dials, starting with the Ref. 6239.  

The pre-sale estimate for both is $500,000 to $1 million. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

While the timepieces will headline Sotheby’s “Important Watches” auction, they are being sold against the backdrop of a series of dedicated sales of personal items that belonged to Newman, who died in 2008, and Woodward, who is 93 and has been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for the last 16 years.

“The World of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman” auctions will take place both in person and online in June and feature more than 300 individual items including film memorabilia, family photographs and antique furniture, as well as Woodward’s wedding dress and ring.

Sotheby’s said the sales will “closely trail” the events of their lives as told in “The Last Movie Stars,” the Ethan Hawke-helmed six-part documentary series about the couple that first aired on HBOMax last summer.

“Paul Newman is a name in the world of horology that has withstood the test of time. Newman cemented his legacy with watch collectors through his influence on Rolex’s most sought-after model, the Daytona,” Sotheby’s watch specialist Leigh Safar said. 

As Rolex celebrates 60 years of the Daytona this year, we are proud to share in that milestone and present two models worn and owned by the Hollywood legend, which narrates the everlasting love he shared with his wife, Joanne, and his deep passion for racing. We are grateful to the Woodward Newman family for choosing Sotheby’s to present their parents’ collection to the world, with these watches standing as one of the most coveted and highly prized in the world.”

Sotheby’s officially unveiled and exhibited Newman’s Rolex Daytona watches April 1-7 in Hong Kong, coinciding with events held to mark the auction house’s 50th anniversary in Asia.

There, the timepieces had some very valuable company. The 10.57-carat purplish-pink diamond expected to break jewelry auction records also was unveiled in Hong Kong as part of the anniversary festivities. 

Newman’s Rolex Daytonas are set to make stops in Los Angeles and Geneva, among other locations, before arriving in New York ahead of Sotheby’s June 9 Important Watches auction. 
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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