Of the five Rolex Daytonas owned by Paul Newman, it was reference 6239, with its exotic dial, that cemented the watch into horological folklore and, arguably, kick-started the vintage watch market as we know it. It’s this very piece, which was engraved with the message ‘Drive Carefully, Me’ by his wife Joanne Woodward, that Phillips has consigned, and which will no doubt become one of the most expensive pieces ever sold when it goes under the hammer in October. According to a great article in The Wall Street Journal, Newman apparently gave the watch to its current owner, James Cox — who was dating Newman’s daughter, Nell Potts, in 1984 — after he’d asked for the time and James had responded, “I don’t know. I don’t have a watch.” Cox wore the watch until the mid-1990s, when its potential value became impossible to ignore. It’s fair to say no one in the watch world will ignore Phillips’ sale in New York this October when Paul Newman’s ‘Paul Newman’ will undoubtedly write horological history.
Photos courtesy of The Wall Street Journal