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  • Paul Newman Biography


    With stunningly successful careers as an actor, director, racecar driver, entrepreneur, political activist, and philanthropist as well as his distinguished life as a husband and family man, Paul Newman is a Hollywood legend in every sense. He was a multifaceted virtuoso best known for his incredible performances on screen and stage that won him two Academy Awards, including that of Best Actor – Hollywood’s ultimate endorsement of his immense talents. 


    Devastatingly handsome, with piercing clear blue eyes, Paul Newman’s phenomenal successes came not from his good looks, but from his intelligence, hard work, tenacity, and selfless desire to help others.

     

    Born on January 26, 1925 in Shaker Heights, Ohio, he enlisted in the Navy at 18 and was a veteran of World War II where he served for three years on deployment in the Pacific. At age 21, he went on to study at Kenyon College, graduating with a degree in English before studying drama at Yale University. He would marry twice, first to Jackie Witte, and then to Joanne Woodward from 1958 until his death in 2008 - one of Hollywood’s longest enduring and most admired marriages.

     

    Photo credit: Francesco Guidicini/Camera Press/Redux

    With nearly 100 roles on television, movies, and Broadway plays, he was a superstar American actor emerging from the Method school of acting of the 1950s. It was the role he played as race car driver Frank Capua in the 1969 film, Winning, where his passion for auto racing would develop, spawning an entirely new career at the age of 47.

     

    In his mid-fifties, he would find enormous success as an entrepreneur and philanthropist. A passionate cook in his spare time, the food company he founded in 1982, Newman’s Own, would become one of the world’s largest charitable organizations. Donating all of its after-tax profits to charity, his organization has raised hundreds of millions of dollars.

     

    Despite all of these superb achievements, Paul Newman was known for his humility and discreet disposition. Almost universally revered, he had a wonderful appreciation for the finer things, but was most certainly not ostentatious. His way of living life was a true testament to his devotion to understated excellence.

     

    At age 83, Paul Newman sadly succumbed to cancer after a long fought battle on September 26, 2008. His family and foundation carry on his legacy of giving.

     

     

    Paul Newman & The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

     

    Roughly around the time Winning was filmed, Joanne purchased the perfect gift for her husband – a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona reference 6239 with “exotic” dial, manufactured in 1968 and designed specifically for motor sport. 

     

    On its caseback, “DRIVE CAREFULLY ME”, is the loving inscription Joanne had engraved for her husband. The inscription reflected her fears as a result of his need for speed. After all, three years prior in 1965, Newman was injured in a serious motorcycle accident where skin grafts were required on his left hand. With those unpleasant memories still fresh in her mind, she felt great discomfort every time he went onto the racetrack for a drive.

    In approximately 1984, it seemingly disappeared once he received a new watch – the present black, non-exotic dial Cosmograph Daytona, reference 6263 bought for him once again by Joanne Woodward. The story of this Paul Newman’s reference 6239 is well-known now: Newman gifted it to his daughter Nell’s boyfriend at the time, James Cox, who owned it for over thirty years until he consigned it to Phillips. It made history in the Winning Icons New York auction of October 2017, achieving a world record price of $17.8 million.

     

    The present black dial, “Big Red” reference 6263 with screwdown pushers was worn by Paul Newman, as seen in countless images, beginning with its purchase in 1983 by Joanne Woodward until 2008. It was the watch he wore the longest and was most often photographed wearing, until Newman gifted it to his daughter, Clea Newman Soderlund in 2008 before his passing. Its caseback is beautifully engraved with the phrase, “Drive slowly Joanne”. Woodward, no doubt still fearing for the safety of her husband whenever he left to pursue his passion on the track, wanted to make sure that her husband continued to remember to take care of himself.

    "To me, this watch shows my mother’s tolerance of his continued passion for racing and reflects the enduring love between them which remained for another 25 years until his passing."
    — Clea Newman

    Throughout his lifetime, Mr. Newman was seen wearing several generations of Daytona models. He not only made the model famous, but also, without any doubt, helped fuel the growth and popularity of wristwatch collecting beginning in the late 1980s.

     

    No one embodies the spirit of the Daytona more than Paul Newman. Regardless of its undisputed status as the world’s most desired collectors’ watch, or whether it’s a rare iteration that captures the minds of scholars, the Daytona is a precision instrument meant to be a workhorse on the wrist, worn comfortably and in any condition. Paul Newman achieved staggering success as an Oscar-winning actor, but his greatest passions were his family, philanthropy, and racing. He worked tirelessly to improve the lives of thousands of families and their children around the world as the founder of Newman’s Own and other charities. He was down-to-earth and humble, despite the personas he adopted on stage and screen. A Rolex Cosmograph Daytona evokes that same balanced air of casual elegance and gritty efficiency. Phillips is honored and proud to present the second vintage Rolex Daytona owned and worn by Paul Newman for nearly 25 years, then cherished by his daughter Clea Newman Soderlund since receiving it from him personally in 2008: Paul Newman’s Rolex “Big Red” Daytona reference 6263.

  • The Married Life of Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward

     

    It is rare that any marriage, or any kind of human relationship, lasts half a century – much less that of two Hollywood film stars. But Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward defied the norm – they lived, worked, and raised children together for fifty years, and never lost their undeniable chemistry. 


    They chose to raise their family in a historic home in Westport, Connecticut, far from the glittering temptations of Hollywood, though they also continued to collaborate professionally, working together in ten films as either co-stars or with Newman directing Woodward. Indeed, Newman directed Woodward in her role as Rachel Cameron in Rachel, Rachel (1968), which resulted in her second of four Academy Award nominations.

     

    Photo credit: DEUTSCH Jean-Claude/Contributor/Paris Match

    Her concern and care for her husband’s wellbeing, and her acceptance of his passions, were the likely catalysts for giving Newman first his Daytona reference 6239, followed by the current Daytona reference 6263. Engraved with simple but loving words of caution, as a gentle reminder to come home safe at the end of the day. And each day, he chose to come home to her. Newman once said, “People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked.” 
    It can therefore be said that the growth of an entire collecting genre was born out of their love; the hobby that so many of us are thrilled by every day was driven by their enduring, romantic partnership.

     

     

    Clea Newman Soderlund

     

    As the youngest daughter of the legendary acting couple Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Clea’s parents not only encouraged her to find her passion in life and pursue it with fervor, but they taught her the importance and power of giving back. Those two lessons merged for Clea when she discovered her passion in life was philanthropy and working to advance the causes and organizations she cared about.

     

    Always supportive of children, Clea started her philanthropic endeavors by working on the Development team at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Following the founding of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp by Paul Newman in 1988, Paul and other like-hearted individuals opened similar camps around the world, ultimately joining together to form SeriousFun Children’s Network. Through a shared vision and collective contributions, the Network has evolved to become the leader in the field of medical specialty camps, delivering more than 1.3 million lifechanging experiences to children and families from more than 50 countries. Now as the SeriousFun Ambassador, Clea works to raise awareness and funds to support this incredible mission. Previously, Clea served on SeriousFun’s Board of Directors where she was the chair of the Development Committee. 

  • Clea is also involved with many other organizations, including serving as the Board Chair for Wild Earth Allies, an organization that protects vital areas of our natural world for the benefit of wildlife, habitats, and the people surrounding them by inspiring collaborative action. In addition, she sits on the Board of the American Institute of Neuro Integrative Development (AIND), an organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of children and adults with neurobiologically based learning; as well as developing and maintaining outreach, educational, recreational and therapeutic programs while staying current with clinical and medical research.

     

    Clea holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. She resides in Fairfield, CT with her husband Kurt Soderlund. A serious horseback rider since the age of six, Clea is still an avid rider competing in show jumping events throughout the United States. She also enjoys yoga, running, driving anything fast withfour wheels, and walking her rescue dog, Teddy, on the beach.

    • Literature

      The present watch is featured on the front and back covers of "A Man & His Watch", by Matthew Hranek.

    • Catalogue Essay

      While many know Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman primarily as actors and philanthropists, to watch collectors, their names signal something more: an extraordinary impact on the field of watch collecting. Throughout his lifetime beginning in 1968, Paul Newman has been photographed wearing a small handful of Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watches. Amongst these, the watch he owned and wore the longest is the present “Big Red” Daytona reference 6263. It is amongst the most exclusive handful of watches with impeccable Newman-family provenance.

      With serial number dating it to approximately 1981, Paul Newman wore the present watch from 1983 until 2008. It was the watch he wore the longest and was most often photographed wearing until Newman gifted it to his daughter, Clea Newman Soderlund in 2008 before his passing.

      Bearing all the features of one of the most sought-after wristwatches of the present era, it is well-preserved with its original dial with bold black, red, and white livery and Oyster bracelet. It was likely presented to him by his wife Joanne Woodward in 1983, the year of their 25th wedding anniversary. This reference 6263 was his faithful companion for over two decades as he grew his philanthropic efforts and food business, Newman’s Own, delivered Oscar-winning performances on the silver screen, cherished his family, and continued to compete in motorsport events.

      Newman was often photographed wearing the watch with its chronograph pushers unscrewed – obviously, so that he would have easy access to begin timing events, whether during a race or simply in his day-to-day activities. So proud and confident he was of the accuracy of his Daytonas, he would place bets with friends that his watch was more accurate than theirs. After calling Central Time, a phone service providing exact time, Newman would collect his winnings. A true enthusiast, he wore this very watch on a bund strap similar to his ref.6239 with exotic dial, on a President bracelet, Jubilee bracelet, and the presently fitted Oyster bracelet. The effortlessness and unpretentiousness of his personal style and aura carried over in his approach to watches. Rolex’s Cosmograph Daytona was meant to be a utilitarian timekeeper, to provide timing information legibly and accurately - suiting Paul Newman’s lifestyle and sensibilities perfectly.

      Treasured and worn occasionally by Clea Newman Soderlund since 2008, the present Daytona has never before been offered publicly. It has been well-preserved by both Clea and her father, the caseback unpolished to preserve the loving inscription DRIVE SLOWLY JOANNE. Just as a mechanic would service a car regularly, so too was this 6263 treated with the care and consideration that such an object should require.

      Introduced in 1969, the reference 6263 housed Rolex’s caliber 727 and featured screw down pushers to prevent their actuation underwater. Along with the reference 6265, the stainless steel bezel version of the watch, the two references sit proudly in the pantheon of Rolex chronograph history, and were offered with either a silvered dial or black dial, similar to the present watch. It is sized at a generous 37mm diameter without the pushers, with the gently curved lugs providing comfort for any sized wrist.

      The Daytona is a model that will forever be associated with Paul Newman, treasured by watch collectors simply because Newman embodied that sort of unstudied, unassuming coolness while wearing his Daytona that is not so easily captured. The popularity of the model among collectors in the twenty-first century has only increased – no doubt in part due its enduring association with Paul Newman. Phillips is thrilled and honored to offer this incredible “two-owner” timepiece, direct from Paul Newman’s daughter Clea, with a portion of the proceeds going to SeriousFun Network and Safe Water Network charities founded by Paul Newman himself.

      Its superb provenance, famous “DRIVE SLOWLY JOANNE” engraving by Joanne Woodward, and outstanding overall condition make this “Paul Newman” “Big Red” Daytona one of the world’s most important Rolex watches, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

      Consigned by the Family of the Original Owner

    • Artist Biography

      Rolex

      Swiss • 1905

      Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

      One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

      View More Works

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Ref. 6263
An iconic, historically important, and attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with black dial, caseback engraving, and bracelet

Circa 1980
37mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$1,000,000 - 1,000,000 
CHF917,000-917,000
€848,000-848,000
HK$7,750,000-7,750,000

Sold for $5,475,000

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas & International Strategy Advisor
Senior Vice President
+1 212 940 1293
[email protected]

Racing Pulse

New York Auction 12 December 2020