In the world of vintage watches, Rolex Daytona chronographs are king. And the Paul Newman variants of vintage Daytonas—characterized by a very particular dial style—are downright legendary. Paul Newman’s very own Daytona broke the record for the most expensive watch ever sold at auction in 2017, with the hammer coming down at $15.5 million (for a total of $17.8 million with the buyer’s premium). But even before that historic sale, Daytona Paul Newman watches were hot items in the vintage market, built by Rolex in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s and made famous by the film star who wore one.
Rolex produced the manually wound Daytona ref. 6241 from 1966 to 1969, roughly. During this short three-year period, fewer than 3,000 pieces of the 6241 were made and just a small percentage of those were fitted with the “exotic dial” (that would later be nicknamed the Paul Newman dial). As with all collectibles, rarity and market popularity are golden attributes when dealing with vintage timepieces—and the Paul Newman Daytona 6241 boasts a combination of both.
This example is in incredible condition with a gorgeous “Paul Newman” white dial with black sub-registers, push-down chronograph buttons, and black acrylic bezel. What you may not know is that back when these watches were in production, no one wanted these “exotic” dials and they sat on the shelf for years. They weren’t popular to collect until the 1980s, when Italian collectors discovered them (and nicknamed them “Paul Newman” Daytonas after a picture of the actor wearing the watch was found). Today, this watch is one of the most talked about vintage Rolexes on the market and is incredibly desirable – and it’s easy to see why.