Setting a new world record for any Rolex Daytona ever sold at auction and holding now the second place for the most expensive Rolex wristwatch ever sold at auction, lot number 237 at the Phillips Watches Geneva Watch Auction FIVE was sold for CHF3,722,000 Swiss Francs plus buyer's fees totaling CHF4,168,640 Swiss Francs —$4,182,023 USD— yesterday evening Sunday May 14th, 2017. This ultra rare 18K yellow gold Rolex Daytona Paul Newman ref. 6263 nicknamed 'The Legend' fitted with a 'lemon' grené dial and with case back stamped 6239 had an original estimate of CHF 800,000-1,600,000 Swiss Francs. This watch from 1969 with a case diameter of 37.5 mm and serial 2,330,529 is one of three examples like it known to exist.
Breaking all records and especially those held up until now by the Rolex Paul Newman Daytona ref. 6263/6239 with box and papers that sold for $1,089,186 USD on November 10, 2013 at the Rolex Daytona "Lesson One" Auction as we reported here and by the Rolex Daytona ref. 6239 nicknamed 'The Doctor' with pulsations dial that sold for CHF 900,000 Swiss Francs at the Phillips Watch Auction START-STOP-RESET on May 14, 2016, this super rare 18K yellow gold Paul Newman Daytona is now the most expensive Daytona ever sold at auction.
For decades, scholars and collectors have debated the possibility of a yellow gold Paul Newman wristwatch with screw down pushers. To some, it was virtually incomprehensible that a correct example would ever grace the market. The fact was even more pertinent as literature did not confirm the fact, nor did Rolex ever comment on the subject. Yet, the Rolex community discovered two yellow gold Daytonas with screw down pushers, both within a very close serial range, which displayed all the correct characteristics of an early "Paul Newman" dial.
Reference 6263 was launched in 1969, and both examples were manufactured in the very earliest stages of the model's production. Both had extremely early serial numbers, made during the reference's infancy —a period where Rolex was experimenting with different dial configurations. One example is proudly displayed in Ultimate Rolex Daytona by Pucci Papaelo, proudly named "The Legend". With two confirmed examples, the market was finally satiated, having recognized the "yellow gold Paul Newman with screw down pushers". Scholars and collectors now acknowledge its existence, and the model is considered the most important reference 6263 "Paul Newman" to exist, its rarity unparalleled even in comparison to the Oyster Sotto —the legendary reference 6263 with a black dial and "Rolex Cosmograph Oyster" signature.
The most dazzling aspect, is of course, the dial. A creamy lemon shade, its a sharp contrast with the ivory dials that were fitted to stainless steel Paul Newmans. The dial shimmers in way that can only be described as sublime, catching the sun rays and enhancing the "stepped" nature of the dial. The Rolex Oyster font does not feature any serifs, while the Cosmograph signature is slightly serifed, signifying the watch is among the earliest batches ever produced.
It is also important to note that the dial is signed "Rolex Oyster Cosmograph" instead of "Rolex Cosmograph Oyster", a direct reference to the screw down Oyster pushers. In contrast, the reference 6264 Paul Newman features white graphics, but is signed "Rolex Cosmograph". Thus, one can conclude the dial was specially made for the reference 6263, and Rolex did not simply add an "Oyster" designation to existing reference 6241 dials. The luminous dots are furthermore even and consistent, having aged to a warm yellow tone, not unlike the dial. It boasts a wonderful fluffy consistency and appearance which collectors particularly admire, evenly matching the hands even under the rays of an ultraviolet light.
With two confirmed examples, the market was finally satiated, having recognized the "yellow gold Paul Newman with screw down pushers". Scholars and collectors now acknowledge its existence, and the model is considered the most important reference 6263 "Paul Newman" to exist, its rarity unparalleled even in comparison to the Oyster Sotto —the legendary reference 6263 with a black dial and "Rolex Cosmograph Oyster" signature.
Consequently, the present watch marks the third known and correct example to ever appear in the public eye. With serial number 2,330,529, it is among the very earliest 6263s to be produced. It is only 127 numbers apart from one confirmed example, and 30 some numbers away from the other, further enhancing its legitimacy. Given Rolex's high production numbers, these three watches could have very well been cased on the same day. Being one of the most important Paul Newman Daytonas to appear on the market in recent years, its beauty is completely palpable.
The case is also preserved in excellent condition, with sharp finishes to the top of the lugs and gold marks beneath the lugs —which is correct for early examples— and MK 1 "millerighe" pushers. The case back is stamped 6239, which is correct, as Rolex used the case backs of previous models in the production of the earliest 6263s. This feature is can also seen on some of the case backs of "Oyster Sottos".
In all, we are honored to have been able to peruse, wear and photograph this watch a few weeks ago with our friends from Phillips Watches. This Rolex Paul Newman Daytona ref. 6263 a.k.a 'The Legend' from 1969 selling for $4.18 Million USD is yet another one of those watches that had left everyone in the watch industry at awe.
While this auction wasn't as crazy as others regarding Patek Philippe watches, some of the Rolex watches sold fetched crazy money. A separate feature will come up later today to discuss the Rolex ref. 6062 'Bao Dai' that now holds the record for the most expensive Rolex ever sold at auction at almost five million dollars.
For more info on Phillips Watches and the rest of the lots click here.