World’s Most Expensive Rolex on Display in Los Angeles

Paul Newman’s Oyster Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 6239 is on display at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.

Oct 06, 2021 | By Sarah Ridzwan
rolex daytona paul newman
Image: Phillips

The world’s most expensive Rolex is on display for all to see after a four-year hiatus.

The Oyster Chronograph Daytona Ref. 6239 “Paul Newman” originally made headlines in 2017 when it sold for US$17.75 million at Phillips to become the most expensive Rolex watch ever sold.

The iconic timepiece is now currently on display at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. The museum recently launched on September 30. Rolex is a founding supporter of the institution and arranged for the watch to be on display for film buffs and watch collectors alike.

The watch had once belonged to American actor, Paul Newman as a gift from his wife. The timepiece is distinguishable by its unique dial that features a contrasting outer seconds track, a modern typeface in the sub-dials, and the squarish 1-12 indices.

rolex daytona paul newman
Image: Rolex

While the model wasn’t originally as expensive as it is today, it has now become as iconic as the man himself. Any Daytona model with a unique dial is now known as a “Paul Newman” variant.

The historic timepiece is now in the Rolex Gallery, a permanent, multi-room experience on the third floor of the museum. Dedicated to the “Stories of Cinema,” Rolex says it will feature special installations that showcase the many aspects of moviemaking. 

academy museum
Image: Rolex

Rolex and cinema

Rolex and cinema have had very close ties, with the luxury Swiss watches appearing on many actors’ wrists over the years. Famous talents who have sported Rolex watches on the silver screen include Marlon Brando in his iconic role Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now was wearing a Rolex watch; In Titanic, Bill Paxton who played the treasure hunter Brock Lovett was sporting a Rolex as he made his way into the wreckage. And of course, Paul Newman in The Color of Money as Fast Eddie Felson.

Directors Martin Scorsese and James Cameron are both respected directors in the industry and are also Rolex Testimonees.

academy museum
Image: Rolex

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures was designed by architect Renzo Piano and is set across 50,000 square feet with galleries, two theatres, a 1,000-seater auditorium, and an education studio as well as some public spaces.

The museum is the first — and largest — institute in the United States devoted to the history, science and cultural influences in filmmaking. By illuminating the past, present, and future of motion pictures, it aims to advance people’s understandings of cinema through its exhibitions, screenings, programmes, and collections.

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