Paul Newman's Rolex watch sold for $17.8 million at auction

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And that watch was the Rolex Daytona, which adorned Newman's wrist for decades before he gave it to a then-boyfriend of his daughter.

The vintage watch with an art deco-inspired dial was given to Newman by his wife, actress Joanne Woodward.

A Rolex Daytona that used to belong to "Hud" star Paul Newman sold for $17.8 million, which set a new world record for a wristwatch sold at auction, according to NY auction house Phillips.

In many ways, the late Paul Newman was the epitome of cool. Adding the buyer's premium, the final price rounds up to more than US$17.75 million, a record for any wristwatch at auction. After the movie, he chose to take up the sport of motor racing himself, leading to his wife presenting the Rolex Daytona to him, with the words "DRIVE CAREFULLY ME" engraved on the back. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cox explained, "Paul asked me what time it was, to set his watch". James responded that he didn't know the time and didn't own a watch.

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"If Paul was alive", Cox told the Times, "and I went to him and said, 'Hey, Paul, that watch you gave me, it turns out that it's super-valuable, super-iconic, ' I think the first thing he would say would be: 'Well, kid, what are you going to do with it?" 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.

The Nell Newman Foundation supports her father's philanthropic values, "while serving Nell's commitment to organic foods and sustainable agriculture", according to the non-profit.A portion of the sale proceeds will also go to benefit Newman's Own Foundation.

The timepiece was so "rare", so "famous" and so "legendary", that watch collectors and dealers exhausted of adjectives and turned to full-throated phrases.