Rolex stands as an emblem of timeless elegance and unparalleled craftsmanship. Every Rolex timepiece tells a story of precision engineering and impeccable design. However, among the array of Rolex watches, one particular timepiece has etched its name in history as the epitome of opulence and exclusivity—the most expensive Rolex ever sold. Crafted with the finest materials—the priciest Rolex has become a symbol of ultimate luxury. This is none other than the extraordinary Rolex Daytona, famously referred to as the "Paul Newman Daytona."

The Most Expensive Rolex Ever Sold – The Paul Newman Daytona

The story behind this legendary watch begins with its association with the iconic actor and racing enthusiast, Paul Newman. The Rolex Daytona became synonymous with Newman after he wore it prominently in various films and during his racing endeavours. However, it was a particular Daytona model, gifted to Newman by his wife, Joanne Woodward, which would later soar to unprecedented heights in the world of auctions.

In October 2017, the auction gavel struck the most remarkable deal in horological history—the Rolex Daytona "Paul Newman" ref. 6239 sold for an astonishing price of $17.75 million at Phillips Auction House in New York City. This sale not only shattered previous records but also cemented the status of this Rolex as the most expensive Rolex watch in the world.

paul newman daytona

The Paul Newman Daytona Model

But What Makes The Most Expensive Rolex Ever Sold So Extraordinary?

The Paul Newman Daytona Price can be attributed to many factors. Beyond its association with a Hollywood legend, the watch model itself is a marvel of craftsmanship showcasing the attention to detail in how a Rolex is made. Featuring an exotic dial design with contrasting sub-dials—a configuration that collectors affectionately refer to as the "exotic dial" or "Paul Newman" dial—this Daytona model is a rare gem coveted by collectors worldwide. Although the Rolex Daytona has changed with time the modern Daytona still features the famous subdials found in the original Rolex Daytona models like the one Paul Newman wore. It's not just a watch; it's a piece of history encapsulated within a meticulously crafted timepiece and is revered for its rarity and exclusivity. Produced in limited numbers during the 1960s and 1970s, these timepieces are highly sought after by collectors and some of the most rare Rolex, with each one bearing its own unique history and character. Coupled with the impeccable craftsmanship and precision engineering that Rolex is renowned for, it's no wonder that the Paul Newman Daytona commands such astronomical prices on the auction block. Furthermore, the impeccable condition of his own watch, coupled with its provenance directly from Paul Newman, adds an unparalleled aura of prestige and exclusivity helping reach Rolex watches top price.

The significance of the Paul Newman Rolex extends beyond its monetary value. It symbolises an era of glamour, style, and sophistication—a testament to the enduring allure of Rolex watches and their ability to transcend time and trends. Owning the most expensive Rolex ever sold isn't merely about possessing a valuable timepiece; it's about possessing a piece of horological heritage—a tangible connection to the legends and stories that have shaped our perception of luxury.

Other Priciest Rolex Models

Although the Rolex Paul Newman Daytona is the most expensive Rolex in the world, there are many more of the most desirable Rolex watches that have commanded high prices at auction for their rarity, craftsmanship and rich history:

  1. Rolex Bao Dai Ref. 6062 - $5.06 million: The Rolex Bao Dai Ref. 6062 is a rare and historically significant timepiece named after the last emperor of Vietnam, who owned it. With its triple calendar and moon phase complication, this 1952 Rolex model became the second most expensive Rolex sold at auction, fetching $5.06 million at a Phillips auction in 2017.
  2. Rolex Daytona "The Unicorn" Ref. 6265 - $5.9 million: The Rolex Daytona "The Unicorn" Ref. 6265 is a one-of-a-kind timepiece featuring a white gold case and a mesmerising dial with a mythical unicorn. This exceptional watch set a new record for the highest price ever paid for a Rolex Daytona at auction, selling for $5.9 million at a Phillips auction in 2018.
  3. Rolex Daytona "The Legend" Ref. 6263 - $3.7 million: The Rolex Daytona "The Legend" Ref. 6263 is another extraordinary timepiece that fetched an impressive price at auction. With its black dial, contrasting sub-dials, and unique provenance, this Rolex Daytona achieved a price of $3.7 million at a Phillips auction in 2017.
  4. Rolex GMT-Master II Ice - $485,350: The Rolex GMT-Master II Ice is a luxurious and extravagant timepiece featuring a case and bracelet adorned with baguette-cut diamonds. This dazzling watch, crafted in white gold, sold for $485,350 at a Christie's auction in 2018, making it one of the most expensive Rolex watches ever sold.
  5. Rolex Submariner "Big Crown" Ref. 6538 - $1.1 million: The Rolex Submariner "Big Crown" Ref. 6538 is a highly coveted vintage timepiece known for its association with James Bond. With its oversized crown and rugged design, this iconic Rolex model fetched $1.1 million at a Christie's auction in 2018. 

Factors That Drive Rolex Watches Top Price

What drives the Rolex highest price lies in a perfect blend of heritage, craftsmanship, and exclusivity. Each Rolex timepiece is not merely a watch but a symbol of precision engineering, enduring style, and timeless elegance. The brand's rich history, dating back over a century, intertwines with iconic designs that have stood the test of time, capturing the imaginations of collectors worldwide. Moreover, Rolex's unwavering commitment to quality ensures that every watch produced meets the highest standards of excellence, from the meticulous selection of materials to the rigorous testing procedures. Beyond craftsmanship, Rolex watches hold a unique allure due to their scarcity and desirability, with certain models becoming increasingly rare and sought-after over time. These factors, coupled with the brand's prestigious reputation and enduring appeal, converge to drive Rolex watches to the pinnacle of luxury and command prices that reflect their unmatched value and prestige.

Second-hand Rolex Watches

When it comes to indulging in the timeless luxury of a Rolex timepiece, collectors know that the second-hand Rolex market holds a treasure trove of opportunities. Buying a pre-owned Rolex can significantly decrease the price you pay while still affording you the unparalleled quality and prestige that the brand represents. Unlike other luxury goods, Rolex watches hold their value exceptionally well, making Rolex a good investment. By purchasing a pre-owned Rolex, you bypass the initial depreciation that occurs with brand-new purchases, allowing you to acquire your dream watch at a more accessible price point. Moreover, the second-hand Rolex watch market offers a diverse selection of models, including rare and discontinued pieces that may be challenging to find through authorized retailers. Whether you're a seasoned collector seeking to expand your horological repertoire or a first-time buyer looking to enter the realm of luxury watches, buying second-hand Rolex presents a smart and rewarding investment opportunity, offering both financial savings and the satisfaction of owning a timepiece with a storied history and enduring appeal.

Second-hand Rolex watches at S&R Jewellers 

Pre-owned Rolex Watches At S&R Jewellers

Discover a wide range of second-hand Rolex models both online and in-store. Whether you’re looking for a rare model or just a luxury watch that catches your eye, get in touch to find your Rolex watch.

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