Watches Owned by Paul Newman, Sylvester Stallone, and Steve McQueen Are About to Go on Sale
For years, it remained a mystery: Where was Paul Newman’s most famous watch? The actor turned food industry entrepreneur had been photographed time and time again in his Rolex Cosmograph Daytona—a gift from his wife, Joanne Woodward. As it turns out, Newman had simply given the watch to the boyfriend of his daughter, Nell. And while that watch has since been sold, two more Newman watches are set to be auctioned off by Phillips this weekend.
The first—a Daytona called “Big Red”—was an anniversary present from Woodward. But this time around, the seller is one of the couple’s own children, their youngest daughter, Clea. Recently, Clea recalled to WSJ Magazine her memories of the timepiece—from its inscription to the emotional moment that it was handed down to her from her father. Thanks to all this, the watch will likely sell way into the seven-figure range come December 12.
But of course, its allure comes down more to a question of celebrity provenance rather than the pure nuts and bolts of the actual timepiece. The same can be said of a series of other watches (and a couple pocket watches) that Phillips is about to sell as part of its “Racing Pulse” event. Besides the Paul Newman, there’s a Heuer Monaco worn by Steve McQueen, five watches from Sylvester Stallone’s collection, and a pair of pocket watches owned by John Lennon and Andy Warhol.
The Heuer Monaco was worn by McQueen while filming the 1971 racing movie Le Mans. In 2012 another one of the watches worn by McQueen in the film fetched almost $800,000—giving some sense of what this watch might rake in over the weekend. Like the McQueen Monaco, one of the Stallone watches has its own silver screen provenance: The Panerai Luminor appeared in the 1996 movie Daylight, an action-drama about a group of armed robbers. While Stallone has long been known to be an enthusiastic watch collector, this is the first time he is selling one of his Panerai pieces. (The other four watches included in the sale are from the Swiss brand Richard Mille.)
Movie legends and wrist watches aside, another lot has a more curious story of star-studded provenance still. Included are not one but two pocket watches, owned by John Lennon and Andy Warhol, respectively. The collector in question purchased both timepieces at previous auctions, after having been inspired by the single extant photograph that shows the two 20th-century legends together. While both men changed the landscapes of the performing and visual arts forever—and met untimely ends—their relationships to timepieces differed markedly: Lennon is not generally associated with the luxury accessories (and was rarely pictured wearing one), while Warhol was a well-known wristwatch buff. The pair of pieces are estimated to sell in the range of $20,000–$40,000. In other words, they just might be a relative steal.