I have to say that 2018 is undoubtedly the year of Paul Newman’s Daytona, if 2016 was the year of the Rolex Daytona Ceramic. By now you’ve likely heard that The Wall Street Journal announced back in June 2017 that not only has the unicorn of the replica rolex watches been located, but it also went up for auction.
However, most people may fondly remember Paul Newman as a great actor, or an avid racecar driver, or a generous philanthropist, watch enthusiasts credit him as the man that catapulted one of the worst selling Rolex watches to grail worthy status.
A Daytona “Paul Newman” fake watch is one that sports what Rolex called an “exotic dial,” featuring three colors and Art Deco details. Too exotic for the era, these Daytona models gathered dust on boutique shelves around the world with not much interest from buyers at all. However, thanks to a now-famous photo of Paul Newman wearing his Daytona replica model on a black leather fat strap, this failed start quickly changed course. Italian watch dealers took note of the celebrity connection and started referring to the exotic dial Daytona watches as the Daytona “Paul Newman” and the rest is watch-collecting history.
It is that exact fake Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman” that is going up for auction in less than a week. The location of the watch—and that it even still existed—was unknown until the recent announcement of the sale. During a particular preview last week in Los Angeles of the upcoming lots, I had the immense privilege of seeing the watch in the metal. But even better, I was also given the chance to try it on!
As a replica vintage Rolex watch collector, I refer to myself, with a keen interest in Daytona Paul Newman models, and it’s difficult to put into words how it felt to have Paul Newman’s “Paul Newman” on my own wrist. The steel Oyster case with the duo of pump pushers flanking the crown, the tachymeter-engraved steel bezel, the creamy dial with the trio of black registers marked by those distinct numerals, the red outer minute track, the secret message on the case-back, the popular coronet sitting on top of the ROLEX COSMOGRAPH name, the prominent red “DAYTONA” arched above the bottom sub-dial—it was all just perfect.
The watch’s provenance, significance in the market, and surprisingly great condition left me pretty much speechless.
While, o label today’s market for vintage Paul Newman Daytona chronographs as strong does not do it justice. The buzz around these special watches is near-hysteria. And to be frankly, after the sale of Paul Newman’s “Paul Newman,” interest is just going to skyrocket even more. The news of the sale result will go well beyond the best replica watches collecting community to the public at large and those who aren’t well versed in mechanical watches will start investigating how an old stainless steel manual mechanical fake watch sold for the millions it did.