The List




The List


Rolex 'Paul Newman' Daytona

Sometimes a watch becomes so inextricably linked with its wearer that it attains iconic status by association. Steve McQueen had the Heuer Monaco, James Bond (despite the best efforts of Omega in recent years) had the Rolex Submariner, and, as popular wisdom tells us, Paul Newman had the 6241 Rolex Daytona with the ‘exotic’ dial.


Except he didn’t. Although there are many theories as to why this particular model became known as the Paul Newman Daytona, it is unlikely that he ever actually wore one; the actor did own a Daytona, but it was a later model given to him by his wife in the early 1970s.

Despite Newman’s connection with the watch apparently being apocryphal, the Paul Newman Daytona remains one of Rolex’s most collectable chronographs (or cosmographs, as the company is wont to call them), and it is its rarity that is at least partially responsible for its position on The List. It is the 250 GTO of sports watches; a prohibitively expensive object from an iconic manufacturer, which, through its rarity and classically beautiful lines, has obviated any of the vulgarity inherent in owning a more recent model from the same producer.

The Daytona, like the Heuer Carrera, has strong connections with motorsport, being named after one of the United States’ most famous tracks, as well as being worn by a number of racing drivers in the late 1960s, who appreciated the usefulness of its chronograph in measuring lap times and calculating average speeds. Where it differed from the Heuer was in its pricing; to use an analogy, the Carrera was the club motorsport competitor, whereas the Daytona was the F1 driver.

Daytonas have featured a number of different movements over the years, but the Newman Daytona sports a Valjoux 722 movement, albeit one that has been substantially modified by Rolex. This may not be quite as exotic as the other ‘out of house’ movement fitted to Daytonas – the El Primero – which was used throughout the 1990s, but it is still an attractive piece of horological engineering.

There are numerous external variations even within the Newman Daytona model line, but the one to go for in our opinion is all steel with a black bezel and faces and white subsidiary dials. This is the classiest example of the breed, and is easily distinguishable from more modern versions by its distinctive appearance.

Such aesthetic perfection does not come cheap, though. It is estimated that only 1000 Newman Daytonas were produced, and, if you are lucky enough to locate a genuine one, expect to receive little change from the cost of a new Porsche Boxster. But it is not just rarity that makes the Newman Daytona special – it is the notion that you are buying into the lifestyle of the 1960s racing driver, when the term ‘jet-set’ really meant something, and glamour had not been diminished by widespread wealth.