Paul Newman's Rolex sells for record $17.8 million

By Ray Downs  |  Updated Oct. 27, 2017 at 6:26 AM
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Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A Rolex watch that used to belong to Paul Newman sold at auction Thursday for $17.8 million.

The price tag set a record for most expensive Rolex ever sold, easily beating out the previous record holder, which was a Bao Dai Rolex that sold for $5 million earlier this year.

Newman's Rolex, a Cosmograph Daytona model given to him by his wife Joanne Woodward in 1968, was auctioned off by James Cox, a man who dated Newman's daughter during college and now serves as treasurer of the Nell Newman Foundation.

The late, Oscar-winning actor gave the watch to Cox as a gift in 1984 after he asked his daughter's boyfriend the time.

"I said, you know, 'a hair past a freckle,' or some comment meaning 'I don't have a watch,'" Cox, now 52, told the New York Times. "To which he replied: 'Well, here, here's this watch. If you remember to wind it, it tells pretty good time.'"

But before the watch was gifted to Cox, it was on Newman's wrist for years, even as he appeared in promos, magazines and advertisements, reported Bloomberg.

It became synonymous with the actor and Rolex enthusiasts demand for the model skyrocketed.

New York auction house Phillips described the watch as "arguably the most iconic collector's wristwatch of the 20th century," according to CNN.

But Nell Newman, the daughter who dated Cox back in the 1980's, said her famous father wouldn't have shared that sentiment.

"As far as he was concerned, it was a tool," she said. "He definitely didn't have a strong attachment to things."

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