Rare Finds: The Rolex Daytona ‘John Player Special’ Ref. 6241

Whether new, pre-owned or vintage, the Rolex Daytona remains the most coveted and commercially successful model produced by the storied brand. The legendary timepiece design represents perhaps the most discussed family of watches currently being collected, with a value and rarity that truly stands apart.

Add in the mystique from a well-publicized association with “the ultimate cool guy,” American icon and acclaimed actor Paul Newman, and you have a singular timepiece with endless appeal. An owner of several Rolex’s, Newman started wearing his first Daytona in 1968, which was a reference 6239 with an “exotic dial”, thus tying the two icons together forever.

Heritage Auctions is offering an ultra-rare US market 14K gold variant of Rolex’s Daytona Reference 6241 ‘John Player Special’ featuring the highly desirable “Paul Newman” dial as one of the highlights in our Fine Timepieces Signature Auction on October 24, 2018.

Manufactured circa 1969, the watch also features a beautifully toned case, and complimented by its original, Rolex USA Jubilee bracelet stamped by ‘Van Cleef & Arpels’ with their internal production code number. The remarkably well preserved example shows only gentle use over its roughly 50-year lifetime, resulting in a gold case with a rich and even patina. Additionally, the condition of this dial is exceptional.

Of the roughly 3,000 reference 6241 Rolex Daytona’s produced between 1966 and 1969, fewer than 400 were made in 14K gold. Of these, only a handful of examples with the black ‘Paul Newman’ dial have appeared at auction in the past 10 years, marking the ‘John Player Special’ Ref 6241 Daytona as an extremely rare model. Those in 14K gold were reserved exclusively for the North American market, with the rest of the world receiving 18K variants.

This remarkable piece has never before seen an auction room and was purchased in a private transaction between two friends in 1971, remaining in the present owner’s possession until now. Presented in remarkable condition, this is a unique opportunity to acquire what is one of the rarest and most desirable Vintage Rolexes ever to come to market.

Visit our luxury timepiece department to learn more about this and other treasures available.

Posted by Heritage Editorial

This article was written as a collaborative effort by multiple experts within the category at Heritage Auctions.

  1. The photos of the watches are stunning.

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