Breaking News: Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona 6263 “Big Red” Sells for US$5.48m

A big number but smaller.

The most expensive wristwatch ever sold when it achieved US$17.52m at Phillips, the Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona once owned by the actor was a high watermark in vintage Rolex collecting when it sold in 2017. And now Phillips has sold another vintage Daytona owned by the late actor – a ref. 6263 “Big Red” – for US$5.48m including fees.

Gifted by Newman to his daughter Clea in 2008, the ref. 6263 was originally given to Newman by his wife, engraved with a dedication on the back, just like the Daytona sold in 2017. Though selling for less than the 2017 example, the ref. 6263 becomes the third most valuable Rolex sold at auction, after the first Paul Newman Daytona and the ref. 6062 “Bao Dai” once owned by the last Emperor of Vietnam.

Paul Newman pictured with the ref. 6263 in the 1980s

The bidding for the Daytona opened at a little under US$1.00m, but dramatically jumped to US$2.00m with a bid by Paul Boutros of Phillips’ New York office. It progressed swiftly, with numerous bidders contesting the lot. But the winner was the bidder represented by Livia Russo of Phillips in Geneva, who clinched it with a US$4.50m bid, which totals US$5.48m with fees.

Intriguingly, auctioneer Aurel Bacs commented during the bidding that if Ms Russo’s client won the watch, it would disappear into a private collection like the record-setting Daytona sold in 2017 – though he did not say it was the same client that that bought both watches.


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Breaking News: Steve McQueen’s Heuer Monaco Sells for US$2.21m

A gift from McQueen to his mechanic and now a record.

An iconic auto-racing chronograph of the 1970s, the Monaco ref. 1133 was nicknamed the “Steve McQueen” after the actor wore one in the 1971 film Le Mans. And now one of the actual examples worn by McQueen in the film has just become the most expensive Heuer ever sold, achieving US$2.21m with fees at Phillips’ New York auction.

There were several Monacos on hand for the production of Le Mans, with McQueen retaining two after filming wrapped. The record-setting watch in question is one of the two that McQueen gifted to Haig Alltounian, both the chief mechanic for the film as well as the actor’s personal mechanic.

McQueen (left) and Haig Alltounian (far right) during the filming of Le Mans

Mr Alltounian received the watch – engraved with “To Haig Le Mans 1970” on the back – just after filming for Le Mans concluded. Mr Alltounian himself consigned the watch to Phillips for its recent New York watch auction, making its provenance impeccable.

The bidding opened at US$150,000, progressing steadily until the air thinned at the half-million dollar mark – which leads to the conclusion that the majority of bidders had a similar limit in mind.

Then only three phone bidders were left. The three-way tussle ended with a US$1.8m hammer price – with London-based James Marks of Phillips winning the lot for his client. The result was US$2.2m inclusive of fees, an all-time record for any Heuer watch.

It’s also a convenient feather in the cap for TAG Heuer, which is embarking on a turnaround led by recently-appointed chief executive Frederic Arnault, where the Monaco will no doubt feature prominently in the new product line up.


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