Buyer Pays More Than Twice The Estimate for Rolex Daytona Paul Newman

Paul Altieri

Antiquorum wrapped up their Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces auction in New York with some solid results. Touted as the highlight of the event, the Rolex Daytona Paul Newman ref. 6239 did not disappoint. Let’s find out more about this lot, along with the results of the other Rolex tool watches we previewed previously.

Rolex Daytona Paul Newman ref. 6239

With its striking tropical dial, this example of a Rolex Daytona Paul Newman ref. 6239 from 1965 is a beauty! While the registers on the dial were originally black, the passage of time turned them into a rich chocolate brown color. Plus, the subdials look particular good sitting on an ivory dial and accented with the characteristic red “DAYTONA” label.

The stainless steel Rolex Daytona Paul Newman blew right past its high estimate of $100,000 for a final sale price of $209,000 (with buyer’s premium). With looks like these, we’re not surprised.

Antiquorum 2017 Results
This Rolex Daytona more than doubled its expected high. (Credit: Antiquorum)

Rolex Explorer II ref. 1655 “Steve McQueen”

Another strong showing from Rolex was an Explorer II ref. 1655 (incorrectly) nicknamed the “Steve McQueen”. Made in 1979, this example also sold for more than double its estimate. Although Antiquorum had estimated it would sell for $10,000 – $20,000 the final price with buyer’s premium was $52,500.

This example of the Rolex Explorer II ref. 1655 included a “Tiffany & Co.” stamp on the dial, adding to its value.

Antiquorum 2017 Results
The King of Cool wore the Rolex Explorer II Ref. 1655. (Credit: Antiquorum)

Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 “Double Red Sea-Dweller”

In vintage Rolex collecting circles, the Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 “Double Red Sea-Dweller” is a popular model. The very first Sea-Dweller sold to the public, the DRSD ref. 1665 features the coveted red text on the dial, which was eventually replaced with white font.

Antiqorum also underestimated the value of this Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 1665 DRSD. It sold for $31,250—beyond its $10,000 – $20,000 pre-sale estimate.

Antiquorum 2017 Results
The Double Red Sea-Dweller Ref 1665 is a vintage timepiece that recently received a tribute from the latest Sea-Dweller at Baselworld 2017. (credit: Antiquorum)

Rolex Submariner ref. 6536/1 “Small Crown”

This early model Rolex Submariner performed as expected in terms of an auction result. The Submariner ref. 6536/2 “Small Crown” from 1957 was estimated to sell for $15,000 – $25,000 and the new owner picked it up for $28,750 with the buyer’s premium.

Frankly, given the ref. 6536/1’s limited production run and appealing tropical gilt dial, the owner got a good deal on this vintage Rolex Submariner.

Antiquorum 2017 Results
A Submariner ref, 6536/1 “Small Crown” is a rare watch, coveted by many. (Credit: Antiquorum)

Rolex GMT-Master ref. 6542

Yet another excellent result for a vintage Rolex at the Antiquorum New York auction was the GMT-Master ref. 6542 with a Bakelite “Pepsi” bezel. As the inaugural GMT-Master reference, there’s always high demand for a ref. 6542. Particularly if it includes a Bakelite bezel as most of these types of bezels were eventually replaced with aluminum due to Bakelite’s fragility.

Antiquorium had a pre-sale estimate range of $15,000 – $35,000, however, the buyer parted with $65,000 to add this 1955 GMT-Master ref. 6542 to his/her collection.

Antiquorum 2017 Results
This GMT-Master Ref. 6542 at Antiquorum 2017 sold over its expected high. (Credit: Antiquorum)


As these results show, it was a good day for vintage Rolex tool watches at the Antiquorum sale. It’s interesting to note that despite their five and six-digit selling prices, these models are stainless steel Rolex watches rather than precious metal ones. The demand for stainless steel vintage Rolex tool watches is still going strong, indeed.

Which of these above vintage Rolex tool watches is your favorite?

Paul Altieri

Paul is the company's Founder and CEO. He is responsible for all the day to day activities from purchasing, receiving, marketing and sales. Paul is a graduate of Boston College 1979 and resides in California with his family.