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Vintage of The Week: Rolex Paul Newman Daytona

March 18, 2015

BY Paul Altieri

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The Daytona has been a favorite vintage Rolex for collectors since its release. Originally inspired by racecar drivers and enthusiasts, it only made sense that the watch was named after the legendary Florida raceway and Rolex’s sponsorship of the “Rolex 24 at Daytona” racing event. Rolex continues to manufacture Daytona watches today; however, the rarest and most sought-after Daytona watches are those made in the original version with four-digit numbers. This includes References 6238, 6239, 6240, 6241, 6262, 6263, 6264, and 6265, all produced between 1961 and 1987.

Vintage Rolex Daytona 6265

Rolex Paul Newman Daytona is a difficult watch to find.

 

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Paul Newman’s Daytona Legacy

paul newman

Paul Newman sporting his Rolex Daytona

One of the most notable Rolex Daytona wearers is the iconic actor Paul Newman. Given as a gift when he took up racing in 1972, it is said that he wore his Rolex Daytona every day until his death in 2008.

stainles steel paul newman rolex daytona

Stainles Steel Paul Newman Rolex Daytona

What Sets a Paul Newman Daytona Apart From Other Daytona Models?

The simple answer is the watch’s dial. The only Daytona watches to originally feature a Paul Newman dial are References 6239, 6241, 6262, 6263, 6264 or 6265. The sub-dials of the Paul Newman may also feature block markers rather than lines and have crosshairs across each sub-dial which meet in the middle. The seconds sub-dial on a Paul Newman dial is positioned at the 9 o’clock mark and displays 15, 30, 45, and 60. A normal Daytona dial is marked 20, 40, and 60. The Paul Newman dial also features art deco style font for the numerals as well as hash marks with a small square on the end.

paul newman daytona

Paul Newman Daytona features a panda dial.

Surprisingly, these exotic Paul Newman dials were not a hit when initially released. Men’s vintage Rolex watches clients preferred the more traditional look of the normal Daytona. Because of this lack of demand, Rolex did not make many Paul Newman dials. Years later, collectors now realize the value of these rare and exotic dials, causing the demand and price for original Paul Newman Daytona watches to skyrocket.

Rolex Paul Newman Daytona

Because there are no differences between a Paul Newman Daytona and a regular Daytona of the same time except the dial, the Paul Newman Daytona can be a tricky and potentially difficult watch to collect. Sadly, some have taken advantage of this situation to place fake Paul Newman dials on normal Daytona watches, attempting to pass them off as authentic Paul Newman watches. Because of this, it is recommended that you always purchase your Rolex watches, especially a Paul Newman Daytona, through a certified and reputable dealer.

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