The $17.8 million winning bid is a world record.

When Paul Newman’s own Paul Newman Rolex Daytona was going up for auction last fall, whispers immediately started circulating in the watch world. Despite a conservative estimate that the timepiece would fetch upwards of $1 million at auction, some believed it would get more than that – a whole lot more.

The general feeling seemed to be that this watch was poised to set a new world record. And they were right! When the lot came up, the bidding was opened at $1 million, but a telephone bidder immediately placed a bid of $10 million, stunning the room into silence. Following a 12-minute bidding war, the reference 6239 Daytona (known among collectors as the Paul Newman Daytona with its black-and-crème exotic dial) became the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction for a whopping $17.8 million dollars.

The Cosmograph Daytona was a gift to Newman from his wife, actress Joanne Woodward, in 1968 while the two were working on the car racing film “Winning”. Woodward had the message “Drive Carefully Me” engraved on the back of the watch. The watch features a crocodile strap and can be seen in countless photos of Newman, who became a serious racing car driver himself thanks to his experience making the movie.

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