The Oscar winner's Reference 6263 gifted to his daughter will go under the hammer next month in Racing Pulse, Philips' New York watch auction.
Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo will offer one of the world's most important Rolex watches––Paul Newman's "Big Red" Rolex Cosmograph Daytona in Racing Pulse, the Flagship New York watch auction on December 12. The watch is estimated to be in excess of US$1 million and is the wristwatch Paul Newman was most often photographed wearing for over two decades until he gifted it to his daughter, Clea Newman Soderlund in 2008.
Clea treasured the watch for a dozen years and remains remarkably well-preserved, with its engraved case-back displaying the timeless and loving inscription, "Drive slowly Joanne." Bearing all the features of one of the most sought-after wristwatches of the present day, the watch is being offered with its original dial with its bold black dial with white sub-dials, featuring the distinctive "Big Red" Daytona logo at 6 o'clock.
Caseback with the engraving: “Drive slowly Joanne” (Photo: Courtesy of Phillips)
"Throughout his lifetime, Paul Newman was photographed wearing a small handful of Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watches. Without any doubt, it is this association with Paul Newman that has led to the Rolex Daytona being universally regarded as possibly the world’s most sought after wristwatch. Of these, the watch he owned and wore the longest is the present “Big Red” Daytona Ref. 6263. It is amongst the most exclusive handful of watches with impeccable Newman-family provenance," said Paul Boutros, Phillips' Head of Watches, Americas.
According to Newman's daughter, Clea, her father's "Big Red" Daytona was presented to him by her mother, Joanne Woodward in 1983 for the couple's 25th wedding anniversary. Prior to this, Newman was injured in a motorcycle accident in 1965. Despite this, during the filming of his 1969 film, Winning, Newman discovered a love for car racing. These unpleasant memories were fresh in Joanne's mind and she felt great discomfort every time Newman went onto the racetrack for a drive. Concerned for her husband's safety, she wanted to make sure that he continued to remember to take care of himself, hence, the loving message on the watch's caseback.
Paul Newman's iconic "Big Red" Rolex Cosmograph Daytona will be offerred at auction (Photo: Courtesy of Phillips)
Clea explains in her signed letter accompanying the watch: "He wore the watch nearly every day until he gave it to me. He was photographed wearing it on numerous occasions as was I. It has been a treasure of mine for almost 13 years. To me, this watch shows my mother’s tolerance of his continued passion for racing and reflects the enduring love between them which remained for another 25 years until his passing."
Previously one of Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona was sold for US$17.7 million, bagging it as the most expensive wristwatch ever sold.