Notes on Paul Newman, His Daytona Rolex, and Legacy
He was always a different breed. Paul Newman’s enduring legacy is a testament to that. He captured the hearts and aspirations of multiple generations as a movie star, from Hud to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
He also represented a paradigm shift, a new wave of masculinity, a modern and complex cinematic icon. Not the one-dimensional, mono-syllabic hero. Not a Gary Cooper type. He was at once both reserved, rebellious, outspoken and studious.
And he is still making headlines, nearly ten years after his death. When his Rolex Daytona, considered by many to be the Holy Grail for watch collectors, when up at auction last month, it shattered records by fetching $17.8 million USD at the auction block.
But what does that tell us about the man? What is the true measure of a man, any man, anyway?
Is it the awards and accolades accumulated over a professional career? Or founding an organization that has, to date, raised $490 million USD to charity? Or a the auction price of a well-worn Rolex Daytona, achieving a whopping $17.8 million USD bid at the block?
Or is it something else? A life shared with a wife of 50 years. A dream chased on the circuits of the Sports Car Club of America. Raising children who share a philanthropic vision, creating a legacy of their own.
There is only one Rolex Daytona that graced the wrist of the man all those years on the racing circuit. And only one Paul Newman, of course.
In some way, shape or form, it is a holy artifact, a piece of metal and gears and delicately crafted, transcending its mere earthly form into something greater. The undying spirit, gratitude, and humor of Mr. Newman himself. There is only one, of course. But for the rest of us, there remains the aspiration. And so it strikes us as a no-brainer that his Daytona would shatter the record on the auction block for a wristwatch.
They say they don’t make ‘em like they used to. We certainly hope not. Keep chasing the dream, Mr. Newman, wherever you are.
And we will, too.