1960’s: The Paul Newman Daytona

The “Paul Newman” Dial – Ref. 6239 – Collectible

The Paul Newman dial, the version most tied to the car racing world, was born in collaboration with Rolex being the official chronometric time keeper of the racing circuit in Daytona, Florida, and Le Mans, France.

On the market after the Ref. 6239 came out in early 1960s and also referred to as “exotic” or “tropical”, it is known as the Paul Newman by collectors, since it was worn by the actor to promote the film “Winning” on movie posters. In the movie the actor is seen wearing a Rolex watch, but not a chronograph Daytona with “exotic” dial. On more than one occasion however the actor can be seen wearing a Rolex with the dial to which he unknowingly lent his name.

Characterized by the 3D shape created by the levels between the central body of the dial, registers and chronographic seconds track, it is used on all the hand winding Daytona chronograph references, with the exception of gold models references 6269 and 6270.

While all versions of the Daytona with contrasting registers have become ‘known’ as Paul Newmans, some would argue that the only true Paul Newman models are described as follows: The 6239 and 6241 case numbers, manual wind, stainless steel non-Oyster cases, non-screw-down pushers, and pre-Triplock crown, with either the black dial with white registers, or the cream white dial with black registers–featuring square markers and crossed subdials.

The Daytona signature, present only on dials created for models with push-down buttons (refs. 6239, 6241, 6262, 6264) is always located above the hour totalizer: Printed in red on stainless steel models; printed in color contrasting to the background of the dial on Gold models. On dials meant for models with screw-down push buttons (refs. 6240, 6263, 6265) the Daytona signature is missing.

The three colors dial, only for stainless steel models, is available in two versions with white or black background, registers and chronographic seconds track in contrasting color and 60th scale in red. The Daytona signature is always printed in red above the hour totalizer.

[Source: Rolex Daytona History and Reference Guide : eBay Guides]

From Wikipedia:

The rarest Daytonas are those with the so-called “Paul Newmandial. Its distinguishing features are subtle and often unnoticeable to the untrained eye. First, a Paul Newman dial must be in a Reference 6239, 6241, 6262, 6263, 6264 or 6265 watch, installed by Rolex Geneva as original. All of these References had acrylic domed crystals. That aside, the sub-dials (the dials that are the opposite or contrasting color of the main dial) of a Paul Newman dial have block markers instead of lines, will have crosshairs across each sub-dial meeting at centre (unlike the normal Daytona), and the minutes sub-dial placed at 9:00 is marked at 15, 30, 45 and 60, whereas a normal Daytona dial is marked at 20, 40 and 60. The dial may or may not have the word “Daytona” written on the dial above the hour sub-dial located at 6:00. The dial came in four color and layout combinations, and was installed as an option by Rolex on the Daytona line of watches in the Reference 6239, 6241, 6262, 6263, 6264 or 6265 watches. The watch has been out of production since the early 1970s, and Rolex is not able to supply any replacement version of it.

It is said that Paul Newman wore this watch until his death in 2008,and had done so since 1972, the watch having been given to him by his wife, Joanne Woodward, when Newman took up automobile racing.

One Response to “1960’s: The Paul Newman Daytona”
  1. I have owned- “the watch” since early 1970’s. It was expensive-at the time. Bought new in about 1974 in Virginia Beach Va. I believe the price was around $250-300. Over the years mostly worked on by a watchmaker who serviced Rolex watches only , and has enjoyed that reputation .

    I watched the Paul Newman movie cited to be – when Newman wore the watch. I viewed it closely three times- and never identified “the watch” . Courtenay Harrison, M.D. Virginia Beach Va. ( May be worth a lot of money for some buyers/collectors. I have never considered selling it.)

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