Saturday, December 12, 2020

Paul Newman's "Big Red" Daytona Comes To Auction with Phillips in New York

Phillips New York Auction House

Paul Newman 

"Big Red" Daytona

Sold for $5,475,000!!!!

Phillips New York Racing Pulse Auction successfully auctioned Paul Newman's BIG RED Daytona for the hammer price of $4.5 Million in London without much of a bidding war which lasted just a few minutes. 

It's hard to know for certain who won the auction although Livia Russo who was representing the winning bidder from Geneva, Switzerland bid $4.5 Million! The obvious question is 'Did Rolex buy Paul Newman's watch?' I hope so as this watch ideally belongs in the Rolex Private Museum Collection in Geneva, Switzerland, which one day will hopefully end-up in a public Rolex Museum. If you add in the buyers premium the watch sold for $5,475,000.

Paul Newman's 

Holy Grail


Newman's Own Daytona

Reference 6263

Paul Newman's Holy Grail Rolex "Big Red" Daytona picture above. This model of Daytona was nicknamed by collectors "BIG RED" as the "DAYTONA" dial designation is bigger and bolder red than on any other Rolex Daytona models. It was gifted to Paul Newman by his wife Joanne Woodward in 1983 as a gift to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

Coming To Auction 

Phillips Auction House

London, England

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Broadcast on 

Live Auction from London @ 10AM EST

Aurel Bacs Leading Auction

Ladies & Gentlemen. Start your engines!!! THE Rolex Daytona Cosmograph has become the stuff of legend in popular culture today, in large part due to one man—and that is Academy Award Winning Best Actor, Paul Newman.

Phillips Auction House made Rolex history (watch video above) when they successfully auctioned Paul Newman's exotic white dial Rolex Daytona Reference 6239 (pictured below on Paul's wrist) back in 2017 for $17.8 Million. This auction event not only set an all-time auction price record for a Rolex, but for the price paid for any wrist watch. 

This was a game-changing event as now all of a sudden everybody-and-their-mother know about "The Paul Newman Daytona" that sold for close to $18 Million dollars!!!

Understanding What Makes

A Paul Newman Daytona?

My goal with this article is to take a closer look at Paul Newman's "Big Red" Daytona which is soon coming up for auction, as well as to examine ALL the other 5 Rolex Daytona models he wore over four decades from 1971 until he passed away in 2008. Paul Newman also famously wore a stainless steel Rolex Datejust in The Color Of Money.

Context Gives Content Meaning

Before we take a look at Paul Newman's "Big Red" Daytona with a BLACK DIAL, I want to properly contextualize Paul Newman's exotic WHITE dial value proposition (pictured above and below). Paul Newman not only had an unmatched natural swagger and charisma, but supreme sporty style. Paul was the real-deal as a race car driver in the pantheon of Rolex Racing Champions.

Paul Newman received his exotic white dial Daytona (pictured above and below) watch as a gift from his wife, Joanne Woodward in 1971 with an engraving that simply  said "DRIVE CAREFULLY ME". Nell Newman is pictured below with her father, Paul Newman when she was younger and he is wearing his now trademark Rolex Daytona with a white exotic dial.


Thirteen years later, in 1984 Paul Newman gave his exotic white dial Rolex Daytona watch to his daughter Nell's boyfriend James Cox who auctioned it with Phillips Auction House in New York in 2017 for $17.8 Million. Nell Newman is pictured below with her boyfriend James Cox in the mid 1980s after Paul Newman gave his exotic white dial Daytona [Reference 6239] to James in 1984, and notice James is wearing it in this photo.

Nell Newman and James Cox remained friends over the decades and James donated most of the auction proceeds to charitable causes including Nell Newman's Foundation. The photo below is from the auction of Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona and we see James Cox with Nell Newman and as we see from the facial expression on Nell's face, she was shocked with how much the watch was going for.

The photo shows Aurel Bacs during the auction of Paul Newman's exotic dial Rolex Daytona. Aurel will be auctioning Paul Newman's 'Big Red' Daytona with the black dial on Saturday, December 12th in London at 10AM EST.

Paul Newman's actual exotic white dial Rolex Daytona [Reference 6239] is pictured below and in the second photo below we see the engraving on the caseback.

The Grail of Rolex Grails: Paul Newman's Exotic White Dial Daytona

This watch was a gift from Paul Newman's wife, Joanne Woodward and on the back she had the watch engraved "DRIVE CAREFULLY ME." 

Joanne gave the Rolex Daytona to Paul in early 1971 after he had played a race car driver in the 1969 movie titled "Winning".

In the photo below we see Paul Newman in a publicity shot from Winning. After playing a race car driver in the movie 'Winning' Paul Newman became obsessed with racing and started his own racing career.

Paul Newman is pictured below in a publicity photo from Winning. Ironically, he would go from playing a race car driver to becoming a "winning" race car driver.

Paul Newman completely immersed himself in his racing career and in the photos below we see him wearing his exotic white dial Daytona while racing.



Offered by Clea Newman

Paul Newman gave his "Big Red" Rolex Daytona to his daughter, Clea Newman and she is putting it up for auction with the majority of the proceeds going to charities she is a proponent of including the 30 camps for disabled children that her father Paul originally set up. Clea is pictured below in between her mother, Joanne Woodward and father, Paul Newman.

Phillips Auction House in New York will soon be auctioning Paul Newman's "Big Red" Daytona on December 12, 2020 Live from London at 10AM EST / 7AM PST and will be broadcast on and in the Phillips app for mobile devices.

Clean Newman Interview

I interviewed Clea Newman for this article and she was extremely gracious, passionate, eloquent and knowledgable. Clea mentioned her father Paul gave her his watch in 2008 when he was in the hospital in bed. He handed her his "Big Red" Daytona and said, "This is for you." She responded, "I'll take care of it for you until you get out of the hospital." Paul responded, "No. I mean it's for you. I want you to have and wear it!" Soon after her father passed away. 

Clea said, "I couldn't wear my dad's watch for a couple of years as every time I would look at it, it would make me really sad as I missed him so much. Years later, I put it on my wrist and would wear it all the time, even when swimming. It was kind of like I had my father with me. It never even dawned on me that it was of any value to anybody but me—for sentimental reasons.

When I learned of my father's exotic white dial Daytona selling for $17.8 Million I was shocked!!! After that I didn't feel comfortable wearing it in public any more. When Covid hit, I realized there were many great non-profit organizations that were struggling so I decided the best thing I could do would be to pass it along to a collector who would appreciate it, and that would allow me to take the proceeds to help many organizations who really need it.

Clea Newman is pictured below with her father, Paul Newman back in 1975 when she was 9 years old and notice Paul is wearing his exotic white dial Rolex Daytona.

I asked Clea when she reflects back in the rear view mirror of her life what thoughts come to mind about her father? Clea said "When I was young my father was extremely loving, affectionate and caring about me and everything. It was just his nature. He cared deeply and took great care of everything and everybody in his world. As I grew older he remained extremely supportive, and he became my best friend."

I asked Clea about her mother, Joanne Woodward and her relationship with her father Paul Newman. Clea said "It was a truly remarkable love story. Growing up with them as parents I initially took it for granted, but when I was younger, a friend of mine was staying with me for a couple of days. My friend asked me: 'have your parents alway been so affectionate with each other?' At first I had no idea what she was talking about so I asked her to be more specific? She said, your parents are so affectionate with each other!?!! Your mom and dad keep kissing and hugging and affectionally hugging each other!?!!" I had always assumed every married couple was the way they were and that was the first time I realized they loved each other so much.

Photo of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman from Life Magazine.

Clea and I also discussed Paul's Rolex Daytona watch models Joanne gave Paul. Clea said, "It funny as my father was always put forth as a fashion-plate by the press. People would always talk about how well-dressed, color coordinated and stylish he was. The truth is that my father was actually colorblind, and my mother carefully chose all his clothes for him as she had excellent taste." 

Punctuality is the Politeness of Kings

Clean continued: "My mother even chose his Rolex Daytona watches and gave them to him as gifts. That being said, my father loved his Rolex watches and would regularly speak about how precise they were as timekeepers. He would always talk about how great they were and would even brag to people about how accurate it was. Sometimes he would call POPCORN (767-1212) on the phone to show people how perfect of a timekeeper his Rolex was!" Clea mentioned her father was alway super prompt and on time and used to always say: "Punctuality is the Politeness of Kings", which was a favorite quote of his from King Louis XVIII of France.

In our conversation we spoke about many other topics including Stan Barrett who Clea adored and said was alway around and was always a very upbeat positive person. She mentioned despite the fact Stan and Paul looked alike she thought it was uncanny how identical Stan appeared as Paul's stunt double in movies.

I mentioned my seminal article I wrote back in 2008 about her father named "Profiles In Coolness: The Complete History Of The Paul Newman Daytona" had a Chapter named "Saint Paul", which in my mind aptly describes her father's extremely gracious and kind philanthropic endeavors. As we see, Clea is a chip off the old block as she is following in her fathers footsteps by donating the majority of the proceeds from this upcoming auction to so many organizations that need it and will utilize it well :-)


Nick Gould was the first to discover and document the superb image below of Paul Newman on the cover of The Sunday Times Magazine which was taken in 1984 that shows Paul Newman wearing his black dial "Big Red" Rolex Daytona (Reference 6263) on an alligator bund fatstrap in a photo taken by the ultra-talented iconic photographer, Annie Leibovitz.

Back in 2008, I was the first horological journalist  to significantly quantify, contextualize and showcase 5 of 6 of Paul Newman's personal Rolex Daytona watches he wore during his life. That article included Paul's exotic white dial (Reference 6239) as well as his "Big Red" (Reference 6263), along with 2 modern stainless steel Rolex Daytona models as well as one white gold Daytona. 

Stan Barret's 'Paul Newman Daytona'

I discovered and documented the 6th 'Paul Newman Rolex Daytona' owned and worn by Paul Newman when I wrote my original story about Supersonic Speed King, Stan Barrett back in 2016. Stan Barrett was Paul Newman's best pal and leading stunt double and Paul gave Stan a stainless steel Daytona (Reference 6262), which Paul told Stan he had worn for a while before gifting it to Stan.

Stan Barrett was the first man to drive past the speed of sound and break the sound barrier which he did in 1979 at Edwards Air Force Base, ironically with Chuck Yeager (who passed away a few days ago) by his side. Stan is pictured above wearing the Reference 6262 that Paul Newman gave him as a 'good luck' charm.

In the photo below we see Stanton Barrett who is one of Stan Barrett's sons wearing his father's 'Paul Newman Daytona' which is somewhat fitting as Paul Newman was Stanton's godfather.


I remember the first time I ever heard the term "Paul Newman Daytona" which was back in the late 1990s. I also remember the first time I saw an actual "Paul Newman" Rolex Daytona model with an exotic white dial model in person (obviously not Paul Newmans actual watch). Paul Newman's actual 'exotic white dial Daytona' is pictured on his wrist below.

Paul Newman "Big Red" Daytona
[Reference 6263]

1st Look: Stainless Steel Rolex Oyster Bracelet

In Part 1 of 8 in my seminal 2008 Profiles In Coolness: The Paul Newman Daytona article I covered Paul Newman's exotic white dial Daytona in great detail which is pictured above.

In Part 2 of my 2008 Paul Newman Daytona article I chronicled Paul's "Big Red" stainless steel Daytona [Reference 6263] which included the photos below that show Paul Newman wearing his "Big Red" Daytona with a black dial. 

Just to be crystal-clear, this is the actual watch Paul Newman owned and wore which coming to auction this coming Saturday, December 12th in New York by Phillips Auction house. 

In the photo below we see Paul Newman later in his life wearing his 'Big Red' Daytona on a standard Rolex Oyster Bracelet. It is a fact Paul wore and owned his 'Big Red' Daytona far longer than his exotic white dial.

I have an interesting Rolex Daytona anecdote to share with you: I first noticed the Rolex Daytona back in the 1990s. A good friend of mine first told me about it. I remember him saying the stainless steel models were really hard to find and there were multi-year waiting lists to obtain one. He mentioned the stainless steel model came with either a white face or black face.

He also mentioned to me that Paul Newman had worn a Daytona and introduced me to a friend of his who had the same vintage Rolex Daytona model that Paul Newman had worn.

My pal and I both ended up purchasing Stainless Steel Zenith Daytona models. He bought the model with the black dial and I bought the one with a white dial, and I later replaced it with the first in-house stainless steel Rolex Daytona, also with a white dial.

It is totally fascinating to me that Paul Newman's two most famous vintage Rolex Daytona models look as opposite as do current Rolex stainless Daytona models as one had a white dial, and one had a black dial. There is really something to said about that dichotomy of black and white Daytona models.

1965 Rolex Daytona Chronograph

A Classic Rolex Icon Is Born

In early 1965, Rolex published the following advertisement which tied together the Rolex Chronograph with racing, but did not go so far as to use the name "Daytona."

Later in 1965. Rolex Rolex re-introduced the same Rolex Chronograph as the Rolex Daytona Chronograph!!!

1965 Rolex Daytona Chronograph Ad Courtesy of David Concannon Collection

1970 Rolex Daytona Cosmograph Brochure

Paul Newman "Big Red" Daytona
[Reference 6263]

2nd Look: Stainless Steel Rolex Jubilee Bracelet

When I first wrote about Paul Newman's "Big Red" watch in 2008 there were some unusual details I noticed and chronicled regarding Paul Newman's Daytona (Reference 6263) including the fact he always wore it with the screw-down pushers unscrewed, which still seems to be highly unusual!?!!

In the photo above—which we see blown up below—we see Paul Newman wearing his "Big Red" Daytona with the screw down pushers unscrewed. My best guess that would explain this unusual behavior is Paul did not want to have to unscrew the pushers every time he used the Chronograph function. I also noticed and documented over the years, the fact Paul Newman wore his "Big Red Daytona" on MANY different bracelets and straps as we witness in the photo above and below where we see him sporting it on a classic Rolex Jubilee Bracelet.

Paul Newman "Big Red" Daytona
[Reference 6263]

3rd Look: Rolex President Bracelet

I also discovered and published the photos below that show Paul Newman very strangely wearing his "Big Red" stainless steel Daytona on a Rolex 'President' Bracelet!?!! When I first published the image below of Paul with his daughter Clea I kept tripping on the bracelet which I imagined was a Rolex Oyster bracelet, but I kept looking at it thinking it looked like a Rolex Day-Date "President" bracelet!?!!

It took me a little while to figure out as it really made little sense since Rolex NEVER offered this unique combination of a President bracelet on a stainless steel Daytona? Paul Newman, obviously being a watch nerd, somehow figured out how to create this highly unusual combination. I originally published my discovery that Paul Newman wore his Daytona on a "Rolex Presidential Bracelet" back in 2017 where I discovered 'hiding-in-plain-sight' on the cover of the October 1989 cover of Esquire Magazine.

I have to say I was genuinely shocked when I discovered Paul Newman sporting this odd combination, but when I zoomed in I could see all the telltale signs and characteristics of a Big Red Daytona (Reference 6263).

In this next photo from Esquire we get a crystal-clear side view of his unmistakably and highly iconic Rolex "President" bracelet attached to his stainless steel 'Big Red' Daytona.

If we zoom in even closer we see can see the hidden invisible clasp with the Rolex Crown logo latch.

In this next image we see Paul Newman with Tom Cruise at a racing event and Paul is rocking his stainless steel Rolex Daytona "Big Red" on a Rolex President bracelet.

In this next image we see Paul Newman again wearing his Big Red Daytona on his Rolex President bracelet wearing a Tuxedo. One thing I have never been able to figure out about this combination is if this Rolex President Bracelet was white gold or platinum?

Paul Newman "Big Red" Daytona
[Reference 6263]

4th Look: Dress Lizard Strap

In this next image we see Paul Newman again wearing a tuxedo, but this time he is wearing his Big Red Daytona (Reference 6263) on a skinny black lizard strap. This is the fourth way he wore his Big Red.

Paul Newman "Big Red" Daytona

[Reference 6263]

5th Look: Alligator Bund 2-Piece FatStap

The fifth way Paul Newman wore his "Big Red" Daytona was on a 2-piece alligator bund strap which he was famous for. Today, I spoke on the phone with my good friend, Stan Barrett who was Paul Newman's best friend, as well as his primary stunt double and I mentioned I was writing this article. Stan told me he never liked Paul's bund strap as he thought it was "gangterish". This might explain why Paul liked it so much as he felt it gave him a more masculine vibe.

Paul Newman is pictured below in 1986 wearing his "Big Red" on his alligator fat-strap on the set of "The Color of Money" as he accepts an Honorary Academy Award, and ironically he would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his command performance in The Color of Money. 

I was the first person to discover and publish the fact that Paul Newman's Big Red Daytona (Reference 6263) was in the possession of his daughter, Clea back on June 15, 2017 as witnessed with this photo I published at the time with her rocking her dad's 'Big Red' Rolex Daytona on a Rolex Oyster bracelet. This is the same watch that will be up for auction this coming Saturday at Phillips Auction House in New York.

"Dad gave it (his Rolex Daytona) to me straight from his wrist...and it had been given to him by my mother (Joanne Woodward), so although it is his watch, it is also somehow hers too, which makes it very much the most precious thing I own." 

—Clea Newman 
(Paul Newman's youngest daughter)

The following pages are from Phillips Auction catalog and offer fascinating insight into this watch.

Clea Newman is pictured below with her father and we see him sporting his "Big Red" Daytona on a Rolex President Bracelet.

Drive Slowly

An Amazing Love Story

Paul Newman is pictured below with his wife, Joanne Woodward when they were young. Joanne Woodward is Clea and Nell Newman's mother.

In this next photo taken on the set of Winning (1969) we see Paul Newman with Joanne Woodward sharing a moment.

In this next family photo we see Clea (bottom right) and Nell (bottom left) with mother, Joanne Woodward and father, Paul Newman. Paul is wearing his exotic white dial Daytona in this image.

Joanne Woodward gave her husband, Paul Newman his first exotic white dial Daytona (Reference 6239) which had an engraving on the back the read "DRIVE CAREFULLY ME." Pictured below we see the reverso case-back engraving on the "Big Red" Rolex Daytona Joanne gave paul and it reads "Drive slowly, Joanne."

The exclusive photo below came from Clea Newman who I intervied for this article. It shows Paul and Joanne Newman later in life sharing a kiss, and ironically we see Paul wearing his Rolex Daytona. This makes me think about the Rolex slogan that says "It doesn't just tell time. It tells history."

I texted my pal Stan Barrett last night that Chuck Yeager passed away and he texted me back this morning and mentioned Paul Newman's brother passed away as well.

The $64,000 Question everybody is wondering about now is how much will Paul Newman's 'Big Red' sell for at Phillips Auction house on Saturday? Your guess is as good as mine!?!! I imagine it will be up there in the stratosphere as Paul Newman wore it far longer than his exotic white dial Daytona. I will feature live coverage of Phillips Auction on Saturday so stay tuned...

You can learn more by visiting and you can see the Phillips print catalog as well which also features some other AMAZING watches!!!

Since 2008, I have chronicled Paul Newman wearing 6 different Rolex Daytona models and in this excellent portrait from Hugh Stewart we see Paul wearing his more modern Zenith Dayton with a black dial.