Two Hollywood stars have their names inextricably linked to two chronograph models. The history of the Rolex Daytona will forever have a mention of Paul Newman and you could never think of the Heuer Monaco without an image of Steve McQueen, in his Hinchman cream-colored racing jacket with the orange and blue stripes, popping in your head. Well now Newman’s Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 and the Heuer Monaco chronograph McQueen wore during the filming of Le Mans are up for grabs at auction house Phillips’ flagship New York sale titled “Racing Pulse” in December this year.
Newman’s name has been associated with the Daytona ever since he was photographed wearing a Ref. 6239 on the cover of an Italian magazine in the 1980’s. That particular watch, a gift from his wife Joanne Woodward in 1972, sparked a craze for “Paul Newman” Daytona models that reached fever pitch when Newman’s own Ref. 6239 sold for $17.7 million in 2017. It remains the most expensive Rolex ever sold at any auction.
The Ref. 6263 up for sale now was also a gift from his wife, this time on their 25th wedding anniversary in 1983. The “Big Red” Daytona as this particular Rolex reference is nicknamed – a reference to the Daytona script in red on the dial – carries the inscription “Drive Slowly Joanne” on the caseback. Newman’s youngest daughter Claire “Clea” Newman Soderlund is consigning this watch to the auction. According to Phillips, this Ref. 6263 already has a pre-sale estimate in excess of $1 million.
The second timepiece is a Heur Monaco chronograph worn by Steve McQueen during the filming of Le Mans in which the style icon played a driver competing in the legendary motor race. It is believed to be the last of two known Monaco watches kept and gifted by McQueen to be offered publicly. The actor presented it to Haig Alltounian, the film’s chief mechanic and his personal mechanic, at the end of the filming and the caseback holds the inscription “TO HAIG Le MANS 1970”
Heuer Monaco was launched in 1969 and was the Swiss brand’s first self-winding chronograph. Considered a classic now, the square-cased chronograph is often associated with McQueen after Heuer advertisements featured stills from the film showing McQueen wearing the Monaco. Alltounian himself has consigned this watch, believed to be in good condition, to the auction. Phillips’ Racing Pulse auction is scheduled for December 12 in New York City.