There are a number of factors that explain why an item at auction sold for a certain amount. A painting once worth pennies could suddenly sell for millions if there is a compelling story behind it. A baseball autographed by a legendary player might tank if a story breaks that discredits his legacy. It's like the stock market in that way - driven very much by human behavior rather than just hard numbers.
Sometimes though, an item just does well because it's supposed to. It was a perfect storm of compelling narrative and enticing product at the Christies "Lesson One" sale. The luxury auction featured 50 exception examples of the Rolex Daytonas, and things got a little crazy.
The sale that got people in a frenzy was for Ref 6263, the Rolex Daytona "Paul Newman." The steel-cased mechanical chronograph sold for a record-setting $1.1 million, easily beating out every Rolex Daytona that ever sold at auction.
The "Paul Newman" wasn't the only Rolex on display that attracted big spenders. A Ref 6263, as well as a white dial/black register 6239, sold for north of $800,000 each. In total, the entire 50-piece sale netted approximately $13.25 million dollars, which averages out to $240,000 per Daytona. I guess you can't be too surprised when it comes to what people will spend for a Rolex. It didn't get that reputation for nothing.
The official sales figure for the Rolex Daytona "Paul Newman" was $1,089,186. The gorgeous timepiece was originally manufactured in 1969 but came in flawless condition with its 37.5mm steel case, luminous accents, and stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet.
You may be wondering what is so different about this watch. Well for starters, "Oyster" is always located between "Rolex" and "Cosmograph." This is true as well for the white Paul Newman dial. However, this model has "Rolex Cosmograph Oyster" instead of the standard "Rolex Oyster Cosmograph."
Also worth noting is the different font that was used for the Rolex designation on this particular dial. When compared to the other existing Paul Newman dials, the exceptions being for the rare dials made for ref. 6262 and 6264, the R is actually larger and the serifs are more prominent. This feature greatly enhances the value and desirability of the piece.