Highlights from the December 2020 Phillips Auction: Racing Pulse
The Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 is one of the most recognizable vintage Daytonas, nicknamed the “Big Red” due to the red “Daytona” lettering above the 6 o’clock sub dial. Up for auction is a beautifully preserved 6263, however, its condition isn’t the only thing that makes it special. You might’ve heard of the Paul Newman Daytona, it sold, at auction, in 2017 for a record breaking $17 million. This Daytona, also carries a strong connection to the legendary actor.
In many press photos, Newman can be seen wearing this 6263 given to him by his wife Joanne Woodward. In fact, this watch is the one he was photographed with the most and the one that allegedly got the most wrist time. The caseback bears the inscription, “Drive slowly Joanne”, a reminder from his wife Joanne Woodward. Although motor racing is much safer now than it was in 1983, Woodward feared for her husband’s health and life every time he went out onto the track. This watch was a reminder for him to take care of himself and come back home safely. It ultimately sold at auction for $5,475,000, not quite as much as the $17,000,000 Paul Newman “Paul Newman Daytona” but still a big chunk of change!
There’s one watch with arguably more of a racing heritage than the Rolex Daytona, and that is the Heuer Monaco. The Monaco, introduced in 1969, was one of the world’s first self-winding chronographs; it contained the legendary Caliber 11 movement. This particular Monaco is a 1133, which is characterized by its oversized square-shape case, blue dial, red hands and hour markers. Steve McQueen chose this watch for his character, Michael Delany in the movie LeMans.
A key person on the set of LeMans was Haig Alltouonian, the Chief Mechanic and McQueen’s personal mechanic. His job was to make sure the cars were in safe, working condition and to keep everyone on the set safe during filming. McQueen wore this Monaco throughout filming. When filming concluded, McQueen took this watch off his wrist and handed it to Alltouonian. “Thank you for keeping me alive all these months”, McQueen told Alltouoninan. At first Alltouonian refused, suggesting McQueen give it to his wife or son instead, but to that McQueen replied, “too late, it already has your name on it”, in reference to the engraving on the case back. This special Monaco ended up selling for a whopping $2,208,000 at auction!
The final watch, while also one with racing heritage, is one from a different kind of racing. Instead of car racing, this watch is inspired and named after an Olympic sprinter, Yohan Blake aka “Beast”. Blake was the youngest 100m world champion ever, winning the race in 2011 at 21 years old. In 2012 Blake raced in the Olympics and placed second in both the 100m and 200m behind Usain Bolt and tying Tyson Gay for the title of second fastest man in history.
This Richard Mille watch pays homage to Blake with its green, black, and yellow colorway, in reference to Blake’s Jamaican nationality. Additionally the four horizontal lines traversing the dial are reminiscent of his spread fingers during a race. The case is made from titanium to provide the lightness demanded by an Olympic medalist.
Did you know that this watch was owned by Sylvester Stallone? In keeping with the theme of watches owned by famous actors, this one is no exception. The RM 59-01 is number 11 of 50 and is accompanied by a hand-written note from Sylvester Stallone. While the watch may not be to everyone’s taste, I can’t help but appreciate the design and backstory behind it.
While the bright green strap on this watch is accompanied by a $816,500 price tag, you can get a green rubber strap for your Rolex for much less here at Everest Bands.
Written By: Joshua Jiang
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