Sotheby's Sunday: The Watch Dedicated to Sport's Enthusiasts

Posted On: 22 04 2018

Sotheby's Sunday: The Watch Dedicated to Sport's Enthusiasts

From vintage to modern, the first Geneva Watches sale of 2018 brings together some of the most desirable watches of the world’s most renowned manufacturers. Highlight of the auction is a very rare ‘Paul Newman’ Rolex Daytona chronograph 6239, dedicated to sport enthusiasts and worn by Paul Newman who has massively popularized the watch in the 1980s by wearing it in films and by being photographed wearing it in magazines.


Why a Defective ‘Paul Newman’ Rolex Daytona Became so Desirable



Rare Rolex Daytona

The reference 6239 was the first Daytona and was introduced in the early 1960’s. It set the standards for Rolex chronographs for nearly 25 years.

The watch was made to be the most reliable, precise and easy to read.

The movement, based on the Valjoux 72, was gradually upgraded to achieve the best precision. The dial was produced with contrasting subsidiary counters to facilitate easy and accurate reading. In the same effort, the tachymeter scale was moved from the dial to the bezel. The watch also featured proven elements such as the Oyster bracelet and the screw-down crown and case back.  The result was a robust yet elegant sports tool watch.

It is today regarded as the most iconic and collectible wristwatch ever produced.

The vintage Daytona world is vast and some references and characteristics are particularly sought-after. The reference 6239 is perhaps the most renowned. Not only is it considered as the ’original’ model, but it is also the model Paul Newman himself wore. This association has gained it such renown among the watch community.

The exotic or ‘Paul Newman’ dial, named after the actor was presumed to have worn one in the 1969 while promoting the film ‘Winning’, is the most distinctive and striking element. It is recognizable by a white or black dial with contrasting subsidiary dials and outer minute ring. It also has squared hour indexes and divisions in the subsidiary dials. The present lot is equipped with its original three-color Paul Newman dial.

Nonetheless, what will impress and charm even the long-time collectors is the most-attractive natural tropical patina of the subsidiary dials. Over the years, their color changed from black to an appealing shade of “toffee” brown. This phenomena is caused by the reaction of certain materials of the dial to elements such as the sun and other forms of light. The white part of the dial has also turned to an attractive cream color. Very few examples of Rolex Paul Newman are known which such an appealing patina. What was originally considered as a defect has become today highly desirable and coveted.

Furthermore, this exceptional watch is consigned by its original and only owner. This ‘fresh to the market’ piece comes with an incredibly full set, comprising the original guarantee, invoice, box and outer packaging.

There is no exaggeration in stating that this lot is a trophy piece, a dream come true for a demanding collector.

Purchased new as a gift in 1975 at the time of its sale the watch was already seven years old and had a price tag of only £134. With a cheque made out for £135, and a £1 note received as change, the watch was packed in its presentation case, its certificate was completed and a receipt written.  Ever since, the watch has remained a treasured possession of its original owner and, beneath the cuff of his jacket, the watch was hidden, unknown to the market within which it has now become so incredibly sought after.  In a marketplace that is ever more filled with suspicion and scepticism this watch is, frankly, a sigh of relief.



Other highlights of the auction include an exceptional yellow gold Daytona 6265 from Rolex to Patek Philippe’s inaugural perpetual calendar chronograph, the sale will also feature complicated modern pieces by Panerai, F.P Journe and Chopard.











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