Revealing the Paul Newman’s “Paul Newman” Buyer. Well… Sort Of.

The sale of Lot 8 at Phillips Watches inaugural New York auction: Paul Newman's
The sale of Lot 8 at Phillips Watches inaugural New York auction: Paul Newman's "Paul Newman" (Image: PhillipsWatches.com)

While we know now that the person who threw out the 10-million-dollar curve ball, opening pitch was a gentleman from Singapore — you know, the man who had even the unshakable Aurel Bacs wondering if he was hallucinating — the precise identity of the buyer who eventually forked out the $17,752,500 winning bid remains, and will remain, a mystery.

Speculations, as to who it was, there are aplenty. Was it an individual buyer? Or was it may be a corporation?

“It is history now”. #NuffSaid 🎥: @davidoffbrothers

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Where the individual buyer theory is concerned, a large number of guesses are going down the line of suggesting that it was American style icon and king of cool, Ralph Lauren who made the purchase. The reason why so many are proposing as such, is because word on the street is that an individual close to Mr. Lauren was in the Phillips Watches auction room in New York, front and centre. But that could really mean anything. It could even mean that this person was there on behalf of Ralph Lauren, the company; that is the person was there representing the corporate body.

But where speculations for a corporate body having purchased the watch go, it’s safe to say that we’re all hoping that it was Rolex themselves who bought the grail to add to their archives. In this regard, however, if we are honest with ourselves, we can, also, all agree that corporate bodies, the likes of Rolex are never going to make such an expense at a public auction. It would be highly uncharacteristic.

The only people who definitively know the identity of the buyer then are, of course, the folks at Phillips Watches. They, however, would never speak on the subject matter. No matter how late or boozy a night you take these guys out for.

Regardless, in a video interview published by Pucci Papaleo on the 21st of November 2017, Paolo Gobbi asks Aurel Bacs, the very 17.8-million-dollar question that is on all our minds: “Who bought Paul Newman’s ‘Paul Newman’?” Point blank; camera rolling.

“You probably know what my reply will be, it is: No comment,” responds Bacs. But he doesn’t stop there.

I urge you to watch the whole interview. Bacs shares his mind about the one and a half years that he and his team spent to put together everything that was necessary for the 26th of October 2017, right up to his sleepless nights in New York, in the lead up to auction day. But, pay particular attention to the 7:27 minute mark, where he expounds on his answer above. And essentially puts one side of the speculations to rest, confirming that the buyer was, in fact, an individual collector.