Paul Newman wore it on his wrist, but it cost the winning bidder an arm and a leg.
A Rolex watch that once belonged to the iconic actor sold Thursday for a stunning $17.8 million at a Phillips auction in New York. The amount shattered the previous mark for a wristwatch ― $11.1 million fetched for a Patek Philippe in November, per Bloomberg.
According to the catalog note, Newman’s wife, Joanne Woodward, bought the stainless steel “Daytona Rolex” for Newman nearly 50 years ago. She had it engraved “Drive Carefully Me.” The two actors, who were married for 50 years before Newman’s 2008 death, starred together in the 1969 racing movie “Winning” that inspired Newman’s real-life racing career.
Newman was seen wearing the watch in hundreds of photographs, the catalog noted, and it became known in some circles as the “Paul Newman” watch. His daughter, Nell Newman, confirmed the provenance of the timepiece, which officially sold for a total amount of $17,752,500. The buyer wished to remain anonymous.
According to Forbes, Newman had given the watch away in 1984 as a gift to James Cox, who dated Nell and is still a close friend. Bloomberg noted Cox decided, in part, to sell it so some of the proceeds could benefit the Nell Newman Foundation, for which he serves as treasurer.
The largest amount paid for any type of watch is $24.4 million, according to CNN, for a Patek Philippe pocket watch sold in 2015.