The Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 “Big Red”, which belonged to the legendary racing driver and actor Paul Newman, has been auctioned by the Phillips auction house in New York for 5,475,000 US-Dollars.
In 2017, the Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman” Ref. 6239 was also sold, which likewise belonged to the racing driver. It changed hands for the record price of 17,752,500 US-Dollars. No other wristwatch has ever been auctioned at a more expensive price than the “Paul Newman” Daytona. Although the selling price of the “Big Red” does not come close to the legendary “Paul Newman”, it still easily exceeded the expected profit of around million dollars.
The Paul Newman Daytona “Big Red”
Paul Newman received the Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 “Big Red” from his wife Joanne Woodward in 1983 for their 25th wedding anniversary. She left the inscription “Drive slowly Joanne” on the caseback. Newman liked the watch so much that he gave his “Paul Newman” Ref. 6239 – The Record Watch – to watchmaker James Cox. The racing driver wore his new Rolex daily before finally passing it on to his daughter Clea in 2008, after 20 years on his wrist. Clea Newman Soderlund has now put the watch up for auction and would like to donate the proceeds to charity.
The Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 was presented in 1969 and is housed in a 37 mm steel case. In addition to the model with a black dial, there is also a variant with a silver dial. Both variants of the chronograph feature a stainless-steel bezel with a tachymeter scale. Above the small seconds at 6 o’clock, there is also the model-typical red “Daytona” lettering, to which this watch owes its nickname “Big Red”. Inside is the calibre 727, which is based on the Valjoux 72 and is manually wound.
The auction took place on December 12, 2020 in London and was broadcast live around the world. Shortly after the start, auctioneer Aurel Bacs, who also auctioned the Ref. 6239 “Paul Newman” in 2017, received a bid of 2,000,000 US dollars for the “Big Red”. There were 24 bids in total. In the end, the watch went to an anonymous collector from Geneva for a purchase price of $5,475,000 – the third highest price ever paid for a Rolex watch at auction.
This Paul Newman Daytona “Big Red” cannot quite measure up with the sales price of the legendary “Paul Newman”, however, the auction of this timepiece shows once again that the emotional value of a watch can far exceed the value of the individual parts.
Cover picture © Photo credit Geoffrey Hewitt, Photograph Collection (right) & Phillips (left)