Back in 2017, the watch world was set ablaze when Phillips announced they were to be auctioning off Paul Newman’s very own Rolex Daytona in the eponymous multi-coloured configuration. In an instant, speculation began concerning how much the vintage timepiece would achieve, though no one could foresee the momentous number that would eventually be realized. Representing the pinnacle of vintage Rolex collecting for many, the sale was naturally of immense importance, and ultimately yielded a similarly important sum of just over seventeen million dollars.
Following the sale, there was now no longer a need to speculate what the Cool Hand Luke actor’s personal Rolex chronograph would bring in. This inspired dealers, collectors, and enthusiasts of horology to shift their attention, and begin attempting to determine who had purchased this grail of grails. With such information known only to those working at the auction house, and naturally protected under standard confidentiality agreements, answering the question of who its new owner was proved to be a far tougher task. Though no conclusive answer has been reached to date, this hasn’t stopped those passionate about vintage Rolex and fine watches in general from suggesting potential possibilities.
If it’s ended up in a private collection, the only chance at figuring out exactly whose collection it is would likely be if the collector were to reveal themselves online. Given that this hasn’t happened in the multiple years since the record-setting sale took place, it’s safe to say this is unlikely to happen going forward. Another possibility entertained by many is that Rolex themselves purchased the historic watch for their brand archives, as they and other brands have been known to do in years past. This theory recently reemerged in light of the timepiece being on display in Los Angeles.
In celebration of last week’s opening of The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, a star-studded event was held, with multiple relics of motion picture on display no less. Despite the numerous celebrity attendees including Lady Gaga and Nicole Kidman, those focused on watches were immediately fixated on the presence of the very watch itself - Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona. Given Rolex’s notable sponsoring of the Academy Awards, many quickly assumed that this finally answered who had bought the watch, and took to the web with their opinions.
With a stir developing on Instagram and several forums, HODINKEE later put out an article noting that despite Rolex’s association with the Oscars, it was in fact not Rolex’s property, and instead on loan from a private collector to the brand, for the museum’s opening. Though this still doesn’t answer who this collector might be, it confirms with certainty that it Rolex did not purchase the watch, which many have wrongfully speculated to be a marketing strategy on the brand’s part.
Speculation aside, what is for absolute certain is the fact that individuals like you can now view Paul Newman’s Paul Newman Daytona, featuring the “Drive Carefully, Me” caseback engraving. On view at The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles for an undetermined period of time, enthusiasts are advised to check it out as soon as possible, before they lose the chance.