During the filming of the movie Winning 1969 that sparked his lifelong interest in motor racing, Newman’s wife Joanne Woodward bought this Rolex and had it engraved “Drive Carefully, Me” and gave it to her husband.The Daytona, as it’s commonly called, is a chronograph—a timepiece with a stopwatch function, a useful feature for a race-car driver.
It’s in highly respectable condition for a watch of its age, with an original cream dial with patina, a case that’s in good shape This particular model is from 1963, Reference 6239, which was only produced for a very short period of time.
In the summer of 1984, James Cox, one-time boyfriend of Newman’s daughter Nell, was vacationing at the family home in Westport, Connecticut. He helped the actor to fix up the treehouse in the gardens that the Newman children had played in growing up and where Newman himself would sit to learn movie scripts.
When he asked Cox the time, Newman was surprised to learn that the boy didn’t own a watch. Taking off the Daytona and handing it to him, he said, “Here, here’s a watch. If you wind it, it keeps pretty good time.”
This iconic piece will will be auctioned off this October during Phillips’s first watch auction in New York.