The ‘Paul Newman’ Rolex Daytona: Why So Collectible?

rolex daytona watch

The ‘Paul Newman’ Rolex Daytona is usually on a watch collector’s most-wanted list.

But just what is a ‘Paul Newman’ Rolex? As a cold technicality it is simply a vintage Rolex Daytona with an oddball dial. Offered as an alternative to the clean, classic instrument dials developed for racers, this fussy option was rarely taken up. One man, unafraid to go against the grain, adopted it as his watch of choice long before Rolex discontinued it and the Italian collectors cottoned on to just how few had been produced.

Paul-Newman-Daytona-Rolex-Fatstrap
Paul Newman sporting his Rolex Daytona

Today, Paul Newman Daytonas are some of the most important watches driving the vintage market, commanding many times the price of their standard brethren (a “normal” Seventies Daytona trades around £25,000, while a Paul Newman can fetch £150k-200k, with one example selling for over $1m in 2013).

They have cool-by-association credentials, appearing regularly on the wrist of Eric Clapton, John Mayer and even Ed Sheeran – who recently discussed PNs with Mayer on The Late Late Show. ML

Chris Youé is a horology expert at Watch Club, 4-5 The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London W1. watchclub.com