Paul Newman's Rolex Most Expensive Wristwatch Ever Sold at Auction

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The "one and only" Rolex Cosmograph Daytona wristwatch, also known as Paul Newman's Paul Newman, sold for a record $17.8 million at Phillips Auction House in NY on Thursday, the auction house said in a news release.

The iconic 1968 Cosmograph Daytona watch was given to the actor by his wife actress Joanne Woodward while the two were working on the auto racing film "Winning". His wife, Joanne Woodward, didn't love the idea of her husband constantly escaping death on the race track.

Step into any reputable watch boutique to enquire about a stainless steel Rolex Daytona and you'll most likely be met with endearing bouts of laughter.

Cox described wearing it as "magical", but put it away in recent years as its value rose.

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The Rolex "Paul Newman" Cosmograph Daytona, as it was presented, topped the previous $11.1 million record sale at Phillips auction. A portion of the proceeds went to the Nell Newman Foundation, a charity set up by Newman's daughter Nell.

Aurel Bacs, senior consultant for the Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo joint venture, said the auction made the highest total ever achieved for a watch auction in the US.

Paul Newman's Rolex was called "arguably the most iconic collector's wristwatch of the 20th century" by the auction house.

Dubbed among "Twelve of the Greatest Missing Watches" by Hodinkee in 2012, the Rolex has actually been in the possession of its owner, James Cox, for decades. He said Newman appeared to be surprised and handed him the Rolex Daytona, telling him if he winds it, it will keep pretty good time. During one such encounter, Pop asked James if he knew the time. You would think that such an important piece of timekeeping would have gone under the hammer for a lot more.