These two phrases conjure up various associations: actor, profitable Le Mans endurance racer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and loving household man amongst others.
However for watch lovers, the title “Paul Newman” is related in the beginning with Rolex, and particularly with a subset of that model’s Daytona watches with particular dial traits, together with a recessed outer seconds monitor and subdials that characteristic block-shaped hash marks and Artwork Deco-style Arabic numerals.
Over the previous few years I’ve purchased classic watches (see A Modern Watch Collector Goes Classic), bought my first Rolex (see Nice Rolex Experiment With the GMT Grasp II Or How I Realized To Cease Worrying And Love The Crown), and mused in print right here at Quill & Pad in regards to the worth of rarity (see The Worth Of Rarity: Christie’s Auctions A Black-Dialed A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 In Stainless Metal) and the drivers of public sale valuations for classic watches.
However I’ve to admit that none of that has absolutely ready me to know the cult of the Paul Newman Daytona, which has now been whipped into an outright frenzy by the announcement that Phillips will public sale considered one of Mr. Newman’s very personal “Paul Newman” watches at its upcoming October public sale in New York (see Paul Newman’s Personal Paul Newman Rolex Daytona To Go Up For Public sale).
So what to make of the entire Newman mania and the way doubtless am I as a collector to hitch the gang of rabid lovers looking for to purchase considered one of these items?
Why I’m a “no”
In the event you’ve ever watched episodes of “Seinfeld,” you should have picked up fairly shortly that Jerry had a selected dislike for considered one of his neighbors, a postal employee recognized solely as “Newman.”
In subsequent interviews, Seinfeld has defined that there was no particular motive why his character hated Newman, however I do know my causes for being reluctant to embrace the Paul Newman Daytona.
All the time an excessive amount of: I’ll confess that I’ve flirted with the concept of going after a “Paul Newman” Daytona greater than as soon as prior to now, however every time I do, the asking value has escalated into a spread that I discover unacceptable.
The analogous instance that involves thoughts right here from the classic automobile world is the Fiat Jolly, a “resort automobile” with wicker seats and a fringed high that was initially manufactured circa 1960 for Italian seaside resorts.
When a pleasant used Jolly was $20,000 I believed it may be enjoyable at $10,000. After I lastly sucked it up and was ready to spend $20,000, the quantity had turn out to be $40,000. Now the quantity is nearer to $100,000, and I don’t assume I’ll ever go there!
Equally, because the Paul Newman has taken on cult standing inside and past the watch world, the costs have gone exponential.
A look ahead to individuals who don’t know watches: One motive for the explosion in worth is that the Paul Newman Daytona has turn out to be a preferred buy effectively past the world of great classic collectors and even of watch lovers basically.
Whereas I don’t begrudge the assorted celebrities and self-characterized “ballers” who’ve found the Newman Rolex however aren’t in any means college students of horology, I don’t have to love what the mainstreaming of the Paul Newman’s attraction among the many prosperous has carried out to its valuation and public notion.
Just a few years in the past, I bid at public sale on the leather-based “Eisenhower” jacket that Ike himself wore in the course of the planning for the D-Day invasion, four-star shoulder patches and all, with out having carried out any analysis on it or analogous objects. Had I prevailed, my guess is that critical devotees of presidential historical past and navy memorabilia would (and will) have considered me in the identical vein as I see among the present era of Paul Newman patrons.
Fashionable reject: When the Daytonas with so-called “unique” dials (with depressed outer rims in several colours from the principle dial) had been launched, they had been fairly unpopular, and few had been made. As soon as considered one of these watches grew to become related to Newman, nonetheless, demand – and worth – started to develop.
In a barely totally different sense, we’ve seen an identical phenomenon with the Patek Philippe Reference 5020, a TV-screen formed watch that has turned from a largely rejected ugly duckling right into a “must-have” collector piece as a consequence of its rarity.
Whereas the boxy hash marks and pronounced numerals on the Newman’s subdials are definitely distinctive, I’ll say the unthinkable: to me they’re actually not that enticing.
Tiny distinctions, massive valuations: Whereas this level isn’t distinctive to the Paul Newman, it definitely comes into play: if, along with being a Paul Newman, your watch occurs to have a retailer’s title like Tiffany or Linz printed on the dial, and even higher the modest phrase “Oyster” printed beneath the principle “Rolex Cosmograph” label on a tropical (translation: corroded) dial, you’ve simply hit the jackpot to the tune of 700 giant to $2 million plus.
By the point that we have to seek for such miniscule distinctions to determine who has one thing of worth, I’m smelling a bubble.
Frankens and frauds: Not surprisingly, what goes hand in hand with the purpose above is the irresistible temptation, no less than for some, to show much less helpful Daytonas into extra helpful ones by re-printing the dials or swapping elements.
Whereas some counter measures exist resembling verifying the serial quantity ranges, I’m considering that there is no such thing as a positive safeguard towards discovering after the truth that your “Paul Newman” really has a alternative service dial put in in a watch that began its life as a garden-variety Daytona; your “untouched” dial has had a few of its utilized indices changed; or that you simply’ve purchased a bit just like the so-called “Texas dial” watches (on which the outer seconds ring on the dial is on the similar degree as the principle dial moderately than depressed) which are of disputed authenticity.
Have you ever worn one: I’ve, and whereas it sits fairly properly on the wrist the perfect phrase I can conjure up for the general sporting impression is “flimsy.” That goes double for the unique bracelets, that are far much less substantial than in the present day’s strong Rolex solid-link bracelets, and whose situation is commonly fairly optimistically described.
If the outline reads “tight” I translate it as “tinny”; “reveals some put on” comes off extra as “like moist bathroom tissue” in my expertise.
And so long as I’m at it, I’m not that keen on the pusher really feel on the Newman chronograph, both; as watches from this basic period go I’m way more drawn to items just like the Breguet Sort XX “massive eye” chronographs each aesthetically and functionally.
Why I’m conflicted
Okay, so right here’s the half the place I confess that I idolized Paul Newman, the person.
Someplace in a field, I nonetheless have the commemorative copy of Individuals Journal that celebrated his life. In my guise as a automobile nut and novice open-wheel racer, I noticed him as each a real fanatic and a legit sizzling shoe.
Cool Hand Luke and his efficiency therein stay amongst my very favorites within the movie world, and whereas I gained’t go down the lengthy listing, lots of his different performances have stayed with me as effectively.
Then there’s his and his household’s charity work, which the sale of his Daytona at Phillips this October will profit, making this an amazing motive to help the sale of this specific watch (proceeds from the sale will go to a charitable group known as the Nell Newman Basis).
And no less than by most accounts, he was a faithful husband and father. His well-known line about being trustworthy to spouse Joanne Woodward “I’ve steak at residence; why exit for hamburger?” was on the similar time instantly memorable, mildly offensive (reportedly Woodward hated being in comparison with a minimize of meat), and splendidly endearing.
As well as, Newman was a legit “Rolex man.”
He reportedly owned no less than 5 totally different Daytona fashions over time together with different Rolexes, and never solely wore them often however gave lots of them away to family and friends members.
Newman and Rolex are so tightly linked that for me, proudly owning a “Newman” Rolex could be an acceptable tribute to the person.
In my fantasies, no less than, he should even have discovered the inventory metallic bracelets wanting as he wore his Daytonas on a wide range of leather-based straps; for me each an additional motive to admire the person and a possible mitigation for considered one of my objections to the watch.
Lastly, there are some facets of the Newman Daytona look that I do discover interesting! Particularly I’ll name out the refined pebble graining of the principle dial, particularly on the ivory-dialed items I’ve seen.
The underside line
Let’s begin with what is probably apparent: whereas I’m an amazing admirer of Newman and have a sure weak spot for bidding on objects resembling Eisenhower’s jacket and Albert Einstein’s watch (a narrative for one more time, maybe), this October lot at Phillips goes to be means out of attain for me.
I do plan on attending the public sale, although, want all the perfect to the potential bidders and to the Newman charities that can profit, and anticipate an astonishing hammer value.
Whereas I do have some issues that one other childhood hero of mine, Arnold Palmer, will reside on within the collective consciousness principally as a lemonade-iced tea drink, I don’t assume there’s any probability that “Paul Newman” will likely be remembered primarily because the title of a wristwatch given Newman’s many accomplishments and ongoing charitable legacy.
I don’t “want” to personal a Newman Rolex to point out my respect for the person and I’ll most likely do extra good for these in want by persevering with my common purchases of Newman’s Personal merchandise – so I believe I’ll keep on with that!
Fast Details Paul Newman’s personal Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6239
Case: 36 x 14 mm, stainless-steel with metal tachymeter bezel; pump pushers; engraved “DRIVE CAREFULLY ME” on the case again
Dial: white Unique with black registers and chapter ring, crimson accents
Motion: manually wound Rolex Valjoux Caliber 722
Capabilities: hours, minutes; subsidiary seconds; 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph, tachymeter
Opening bid: $1 million and above at Phillips New York, October 26, 2017
Produced: mid- to late-Sixties
* This text was first printed on July 4, 2017 at Howdy, Newman: A Collector Appears Askance At The Cult Of The Paul Newman Rolex Daytona.