Utter the name Paul Newman and a spirit of reverence is almost certain to involuntarily percolate any gathering of over-30s. The actor’s racecar-driving, salad sauce-making, sexy sweet-talking good feeling is irresistible. Mention the name among a group of wristwatch lovers, on the other hand, and the reaction will be profoundly different — stiff interest will be piqued, tempered with not a few strong opinions on either side of the thin line of apotheosis.
In the unlikely case that you haven’t heard, there is a vintage Rolex watch that unofficially carries the great man’s name. Among collectors, the Paul Newman has long been at the core of all things Rolex; its bewitching title capable of commanding premium upon premium, inspiring book after blog post after whisky-fuelled late-night debate, and 50 years along, gives no sign that it will ever release us from its thrall. Read about the birth of the Paul Newman Daytona here.
So what is all the fuss about? On the face of it, the Paul Newmans are straightforward, industrially-produced manual-wind chronographs of a modest size, with movements built by a third party, and yet it easily commands prices well in excess of what you might pay for, say, a Patek Philippe chronograph. Well, that’s just part of the magic. We’re all obsessives about watches on some level, deriving an intangible and rewarding thrill from studying the minutiae of some aspect of the craft. If it’s Paul Newman’s favourite watch, with all its microscopic foibles that press your buttons, don’t fight it!