Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Paul Newman's Stuntman to Sell Gifted Rolexes

Another Newman-Gifted Rolex to Be Sold

The Best Publicity

for Rolex

Stuntmen and famous actors driving fast cars, auctioning off personal sports Rolexes—and getting huge returns—remind us of the true strength of the brand.

By Danny Crivello

A 79-year-old gentleman named Stan Barrett will have three Rolex watches on display in Monterey, Calif., this week in preparation for auction. And this is why it’s notable: Mr. Barrett is a former boxing champion turned leading Hollywood stuntman for the likes of Paul Newman, Burt Reynolds and Dustin Hoffman.

He was also an established NASCAR driver who piloted the Budweiser rocket car in 1979 on his quest to become the first man to travel faster than the speed of sound on land. Anheuser-Busch gifted him a yellow gold Rolex GMT-Master 1675 for his trouble (above). 

The other two Rolex watches displayed starting Wednesday — a steel GMT Pepsi and a steel Daytona 6262 — were gifted to Mr. Barrett by Hollywood legend Paul Newman whose own Daytona 6239 broke the world record for a wristwatch at auction, selling for $17 million. 

Mr. Barrett, who worked as Mr. Newman’s stunt double in many of the actor’s most famous films, shared a love of cars and watches that would glue the two together for the duration of their 40-year friendship.

Stuntmen and famous actors driving fast cars, auctioning off personal Rolexes and getting 10X, 100X, 1000X returns remind us of the true strength of the brand. And because that publicity is made organically, it easily surpasses brand ambassadors’ Insta posts.

Shortly after Newman's high-profile 6239 auction, in a 2017 podcast, I said such an auction was "great for the buyer, great for the charity, great for Rolex, great for the vintage world in general for the publicity it received. It was great for all the owners of mechanical watches in a world of updates and throwaway and always getting the new iPhone or Apple Watch ... Some things just last for a long time. For a lifetime." Little did I know how much the Rolex market would explode that following year emptying Rolex cases at ADs the world over.

The December auction of Mr. Barrett’s Rolexes — two gifted by Mr. Newman — will be a much-needed shot in the arm for the watch industry though in a smaller measure compared to record-setting Newman’s 6239. But let’s remind ourselves that $17 million Daytona had been a gift also: from Mr. Newman to his daughter’s boyfriend, James Cox.

Jake, who has spoken at length with Stan Barrett, will take us on a journey to learn more about this Rolex-wearing extraordinary daredevil (my favorite kind) and one of Newman's best friends.


By Jake Ehrlich

Stan Barrett was best friends with Paul Newman and if you think he looks a lot like Paul Newman, you are right. As a matter of fact, he was Paul Newman's stunt double in many famous movies, and another thing they shared was a love for Rolex. It was actually Paul Newman who turned Stan Barrett on to Rolex when he began giving him Rolex sports watches as gifts. Stan Barrett is pictured above in a recent photo, still wearing his loyal and trusted Pepsi GMT-Master.

"My Rolex watches have been like good luck charms for me—especially since many of them were gifts from my best pal, Paul Newman."  (Stan Barrett)

This is not only a fascinating story about man and machine but a story about a man's man who constantly pushed the envelope. As we will learn, Stan Barrett is The Real Deal. How real? He was a Golden Gloves boxing winner and has two black belts in Karate. Oh, and he used to work-out with Bruce Lee.

Stan Barrett is pictured below with his good pal, Paul Newman, and notice both are wearing Rolex sport model watches. The photo was taken in 1975 at a mud race track one weekend when they were filming the movie, The Drowning Pool. Stan is wearing his Pepsi Rolex GMT-Master and Paul Newman is wearing his trademark Paul Newman Daytona with the exotic white dial. Later in this story, we will delve into their friendship that lasted 40 years.

Supersonic Speed King

Rolex has an amazing history with land-speed kings, beginning with Sir Malcolm Campbell, who wore a Rolex while setting multiple land speed records back in the 1920s & 1930s. Today, Rolex is a sponsor for the Bloodhound SSC, with Andy Green driving, which is scheduled in 2017 to attempt to set a new land speed record at 1000MPH, which is 239 miles faster than Supersonic. 

Let's go back to 1979, and take a look at the man who was the very first to shatter the Supersonic sound barrier on wheels, and his name is Stan Barrett.

In the photo below we see Stan Barrett wearing his Pepsi Rolex GMT-Master and Rolex Daytona on his left wrist as he prepares to become the first man to drive a vehicle on earth past the speed of sound. The Rolex Daytona on his wrist is no ordinary watch. Stan Barrett's best friend, Paul Newman gave him that Daytona especially for the occasion of his attempt to break the sound barrier. 

Stan Barrett's Daytona with original velcro slip-through strap pictured below in a recent photo from Sotheby's as it is going to auction the way he wore it when he became the first to break the sound barrier driving on dry land in 1979. In other words, the dark navy blue velcro slip-through strap pictured below is the exact same one on his wrist in the photo above taken as he prepared to drive his Budweiser rocket car into the history books...One could argue THIS is an ultimate example of a Rolex Tool Watch...

In the photo below we see Stan Barrett on his Budweiser rocket car, sporting his red K-Swiss sneakers just after shattering the Speed Of Sound Barrier, and notice he is still wearing two Rolex watches on his left wrist. 

On Jake's Rolex World I specialize in sharing the stories behind the stories, and this is no exception. In order to really understand this story, I recommend first watching the two compelling video documentaries below, as they offer an amazing historical context.

The first video below showcases live video from the Stan Barrett's event when he drove the Budweiser Rocket Car past the speed of sound–right into the history books. I highly recommend watching this fascinating documentary. 

The next video below shows the live coverage of the event from 1979, and I highly recommend watching it as well. It is particularly fascinating to gain Chuck Yeager's insight and passionate perspective.

Stan Barrett is pictured below just after becoming the first man to break the sound barrier on land, and that is no other than Chuck Yeager standing over him. Stan was recorded driving at 739.666 Miles Per Hour in the Budweiser Rocket car in 1979. 

Many other famous Rolex wearing speed demons were also present to witness his achievement, not just Chuck Yeager,  but also, Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, and William J. "Pete" Knight, who, to this day holds the all-time speed record for level flight, when he flew an X-15 at Mach 6.7

Paul Newman was also Stanton Barrett's Godfather, and in the photo below we see Stanton Barrett wearing his father's Rolex Daytona that Paul Newman gave him back in the early 1970s.

Stanton Barrett wore the Rolex Daytona Paul Newman gave his father until recently when the Barrett's learned how valuable the watch is, and now the Rolex Daytona lives in a Safety Deposit box. It's difficult to guess how much this actual Paul Newman Daytona #2 is worth today, but I think it's worth a fortune!!! Stan Barrett is pictured below hugging his son Stanton Barrett who is wearing his Paul Newman Daytona #2. Stan Barrett is pictured below with his son Stanton and Supermodel Carol Alt.

Stanton Barrett took the exclusive photo below of the Rolex Daytona his father wore when he set the land speed record. The Paul Newman Daytona #2 was a good luck charm gift from Paul Newman to his best friend, Stan Barrett in the early 1970s.

Stanton Barrett Barrett is pictured below wearing his Paul Newman, Paul Newman Daytona. Ironically, Stan Barrett told me that Paul Newman took this Rolex Daytona watch off his wrist when he have it to him back in the early 1970s around 1972 to 1973. This means Paul Newman had two Rolex Daytona models back in the early 1970s.

An Amazing Friendship

Stan Barrett and Paul Newman were best friends for four decades. Stan told me, "Paul and I were as close as two straight guys could be for over forty years, sharing many wonderful and fun times, and a few challenging days as well." The photo below of Stan Barrett and Paul Newman was taken in the early 1970s and shows Stan Barrett holding his cast which he cut off so he could go skiing with Paul Newman.

Stan Barrett and Paul Newman first met, when Stan began as Paul Newman's stunt double. Paul was 18 years older than Stan, and used to tease him by saying Stan was his illegitimate son since the looked and were built similar. The photo below was taken in Yosemite in 1975.

In the next set of photos below, we see Paul Newman climbing into the Budweiser Rocket to check it out. These photos were taken at Bonneville.

In the next image below we see Stan Barrett with his back to us, as he helps his best pal, Paul Newman climb in the Budweiser Rocket. In the photos, we see Paul Newman, who was an accomplished race-car driver struggling to get in the Budweiser Rocket, which demonstrates just how challenging it was to get in and out of.

In the next two images taken at the same event, we see Stan Barrett and Paul Newman sharing some smiles.

Stan Barrett said to me in an interview, "We were like father and son in some ways due to our 18 years age difference, but more than anything we were just great pals. We would spend countless hours talking about everything you could imagine."

This next set of images is not only interesting but offers rare insight into Paul Newman's sense of humor. In this first image, we see Paul Newman and Stan Barrett hanging out at a NASCAR racing event where Stan was racing.

Paul Newman sent the signed photograph below to Stan Barrett as a signed memento. It is really funny if you think about it. Stan is saying "Can I open my eyes now?", and Paul's character says "No Autographs PALEASE!" Then Paul signed it, "Two dunces in search of character!"

I believe the photo below is one of the last photos of Stan Barrett and Paul Neman taken before Paul passed away. Stan told me "I really miss Paul and Hal Needham as they were my closest friends. Actually, they were more like kin."

The photo below is a recent close-up wrist-shot of the GMT-Master Paul Newman gave Stan Barrett, which Stan still wears.

The photo below, taken by David Concannon shows the case back engraving on Stan Barrett's Pepsi GMT-Master which reads"

 "STAN BARRET, 739 MPH, MACH 1.0106, 12-17-79."