Sold! The most expensive wristwatch ever purchased was the feature of Phillips Legendary Watches of the 20th Century auction last Thursday evening in New York City. Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona has years of family history, and the actor actually wore the watch daily for 15 years, even while racing cars.
The standing room only event started promptly at 6pm, with 50 pieces up for auction. Water was served, no champagne or hors d’ouevers, as one must be of sound mind during bidding. About 400 people were in attendance, primarily dressed in business attire. The room was all a buzz with talk about the selling price of the Paul Newman- Lot 8. The auction moved quite quickly, and once Lot 8 was announced-dead silence….. Opening bid….TEN MILLION! The audience erupted in cheers. No paddles were raised after this opener, I believe even the auctioneer was taken a bit by surprise! As bidding proceeded, the room became tense when two phone bidders were vying to become owners of this historical piece. Between $14 million and the final price of $15.5 million several minutes passed by, perhaps both bidders were contemplating the engraving on Newman’s Daytona “Drive Carefully Me”.
My husband (who doesn’t wear a watch) and I met many people seated in our area; we had very interesting conversation ranging from art, travel, and of course, collections. It was very exciting to witness in person the auction of the most talked about watch of the year, with a record selling price written in history.