Here’s where the state of affairs stand: Paul Newman Daytons are uncommon and highly desirable. And in riding the Paul Newman train, plenty have tried to inject dial iterations of the watch into the market that suggest some odd experiment that the Rolex factory may have been trying.
Now drum up a story and put it up with an auction house — with enough credibility — and chances are you’re in for a nice, fat, quick buck. Not too long ago, Wei Koh wrote an illustration as to how easy it actually is to mimic and recreate one of the rarest dials in the Paul Newman realm: The RCO, or Oyster Sotto 6263 Paul Newman.
Of course, the RCO is one instance that’s been verified by plenty a vintage Rolex scholar and now holds credibility beyond doubt. But over the years, there’s been other versions of the Paul Newman in the market that are quite clearly bogus and deviate a little too far from the most critical Paul Newman dial identifiers. Read Wei Koh’s story on the Rolex Paul Newman controversies here.
What then, in the realm of the Paul Newman Daytona, is a true rarity? Well there are the above mentioned RCO Paul Newmans. But the next category down may be the gold cased Paul Newman Daytonas. Solely by the virtue that there were more steel Daytonas made than those in precious metal.
But we can distill this further. Most — if not all — gold Paul Newman Daytonas are of the pump-pusher variety. And they come in either a cream chapter ring with the sub-dials in the same color and the main dial in black, which matches the markings on the sub-dials or a black chapter ring with the sub-dials in the same color and the main dial in cream, which matches the markings on the sub-dials.
What about the screw-pusher variety then? It’s not to say that they don’t exist, because they do. But as Rolex scholars have come to believe now, there are only three screw-pusher, ref. 6263 Paul Newman Daytonas that have ever been uncovered in auction catalogs or otherwise. There was an instance that turned up with Antiquorum in April of 2013 and the most recent one turned up with Phillips Watches at their Spring 2017 Geneva auction, where the watch sold for a record 3 million Swiss Francs.
Why are there so few of the Paul Newman of the screw-pusher variety in gold? Hard to tell really, but the three uncovered so far suggest that these were most likely prototype Daytons. But here is further reason to suggest that these were prototypes.
Have a look at the dial on the gold 6263 that sold for the record. Obviously, it’s not the cream color that the pump-pusher gold Paul Newmans have. This color is what has lent itself to the watch’s name in the collectors’ community: The Lemon Dial.
But now, notice how the color of the markers in the sub-dials are not the same lemon. Rather it’s quite the odd, stark white. This lemon colored main dial and the white markers on the sub-dials that are the primary identifiers of the “lemon” dial Paul Newman Daytona.
Beyond that the dial seems to have the right ROC order under the Rolex crown and even have the right typography used in steel Mk 1 6263 Paul Newmans.
Here then is where things get most confusing. These lemon dials are also known to occur in pump-pusher cased Paul Newmans. There aren’t a whole lot of them. However, they do exist. But in keeping with the timeframe, these particular dials don’t have the Oyster designation. Also, they have the word “Daytona” printed over the 6 o’clock sub dial. Where, then, do these sit in the storyline?
Very specifically, the lemon dials occur only in the ref. 6264s, which were produced at the tail end of the pump-pusher exotic dial gold Daytona’s production, in the late 60s (1969/1970) and was in production for a mere three years. In 1971, the Oyster case was introduced into the exotic dial Daytona family. Therefore, given the transitional timeline and rarity of the dial’s occurrence, it does seem safe to, again, suggest that these were a prototype variety.
So if Rolex anomalies are your thing and you’d like to own a lemon dial gold Paul Newman Daytona, but have not the means to spend 3 million on one of three lemon dial 6263s, then the 6264 variety is a very respectable option.
Better yet, there’s one coming up at Christie’s June 21st auction in New York. Lot number 44 to be precise, estimated to go for between USD400,000 to USD600,000. No small sum by any measure, but at least it won’t call you on for a record breaking bid.
Best this is that you can even sort of tell how far the watch might go for within that range, because just earlier at the Geneva Spring 2017 auction, Christie’s sold yet another example of the Lemon dial 6264, which went for USD 584,859. That example also had the greatest sort of patina on it: Milk chocolate sub-dials and minute track.
So there are three examples of lemon dial 6263, one example of a 6264 that went up for sale recently and yet another one that is to go under the hammer at Christie’s, 21 June 2017 New York sale. Guess how many more 6264s are known publically? Just two.
Price of Gold Paul Newman Daytonas As Sold By Christie’s In the Past Five Years
15 May 2017 Geneva, ref. 6241 “John Player Special” Paul Newman Daytona: USD 560,803
**15 May 2017 Geneva, ref. 6264 “Lemon Dial” Paul Newman Daytona: USD 584,859
14 November 2016 Geneva, ref. 6241 gold Paul Newman Daytona: USD 298,839
16 May 2016 Geneva, ref. 6241 “John Player Special” Paul Newman Daytona: USD 313,296
10 November 2014 Geneva, ref. 6241 gold Paul Newman Daytona: USD 180,020
10 November 2013 Geneva, ref. 6241 gold Paul Newman Daytona: USD 415,190
10 November 2013 Geneva, ref. 6239 gold Paul Newman Daytona: USD 547,346
10 November 2013 Geneva, ref. 6241 gold Paul Newman Daytona: USD 428,406
13 May 2013 Geneva, ref. 6241 gold Paul Newman Daytona: USD 207,753
13 May 2013 Geneva, ref. 6241 gold Paul Newman Daytona retailed by Hermes: USD 519,776
**13 May 2013 Geneva, ref. 6264 “Lemon Dial” Paul Newman Daytona: USD 406,542
14 November 2011 Geneva, ref. 6241 . gold Paul Newman Daytona: USD 106,273