Sotheby’s have a piece of watch history up for auction on the 31st July. A Paul Newman solid 18K gold Rolex Daytona from 1969, when Newman was arguably at his peak as a movie star, after hits like Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid and just on the brink of becoming a serious racing driver in the 70s – plus fitting in the odd Hollywood classic like Slap Shot. Yep, we did say Slap Shot was a great film.
Yes indeed, Paul Newman raced cars, he didn’t just drive them in movies and hand over to the stunt guys – he wanted to win. He was actually very successful at car racing too, winning races in the USA and finishing second at Le Mans in a sports car class back in `79.
Sotheby’s say that the watch is fitted with the calibre 727 that also equipped later screw-down pusher models, references 6263 and 6265. While most of the 6264 were produced in stainless steel, a few pieces were made in yellow gold. An 18k yellow gold 6264 is a true rarity, of which only ten examples are known. It was affectionately nicknamed “John Player Special” in reference to the livery of the Lotus formula 1 painted in black with the gold JPS logo.
Nowadays, the JPS Lotus racing car is still seen as one the coolest F1/F2 machines of the glamour era of motor racing. Indeed the JPS Norton motorcycles are also pretty damn handsome to our eyes.
Here’s the spec from Sotheby’s – the estimate is about 600K and we think this one will crack one million sterling. Yep, Rolex classics have really gone that crazy and let’s face it Mr Millionaire, your bank isn’t paying any interest on your cash so watches, property, guitars and Tesla shares look pretty interesting by comparison.
Updated: it did make a million, lucky guess!
COSMOGRAPH DAYTONA PAUL NEWMAN “JOHN PLAYER SPECIAL”, REF 6264
AN EXTREMELY RARE AND OUTSTANDINGLY BEAUTIFUL YELLOW GOLD CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET
Dial: black Paul Newman John Player Special
Calibre: cal. 727 manual winding, 17 jewels
Case: 18k yellow gold, screw-down back
Case number: 2’357’405
Closure: 18k yellow gold Rolex Oyster bracelet and folding clasp
Dimensions: 37 mm, bracelet circumference approx. 180 mm
Signed: case, dial and movement
Accessories: Rolex presentation case