Rare ‘John Player Special’ Rolex Daytona Sells for Record $1.5 Million

This unique luxury watch also set a record for an online auction.


The Rolex Daytona Paul Newman ref. 6264 “John Player Special” isn’t your everyday luxury timepiece, and no further proof is needed than knowing it just went for a record-setting £1,215,000 ($1,545,723 USD) on auction at Sotheby’s


This 18k yellow gold masterpiece isn’t quite one of a kind—a nearly identical model is featured in the 2018 video below—but it’s close. 

That’s why the auction actually set a couple of benchmarks—in addition to being the United Kingdom record-holder for the most expensive watch ever sold it is also the most costly sold online.

If the model’s name doesn’t ring a bell for Americans, Gear Patrol has a bit of history for us:

The “John Player Special,” so named for the John Player-brand cigarettes livery found on 1970s Lotus Formula One cars, describes a special black and gold look that’s instantly recognizable to collectors and Daytona devotees. This particular JPS is (…) notable, however, for having been produced in 18k yellow gold rather than steel (only about 10 examples are known) and further, for featuring a “Paul Newman”-style exotic dial in black. 

The “John Player” blew past the original estimated price in the high hundred thousands. 

Here are some specs from Sotheby’s listing for the now-closed auction:

Dial: black Paul Newman John Player Special

Calibre: cal. 727 manual winding, 17 jewels

Case: 18k yellow gold, screw-down back

Case number: 2’357’405

Closure: 18k yellow gold Rolex Oyster bracelet and folding clasp

Dimensions: 37 mm, bracelet circumference approx. 180 mm

Signed: case, dial and movement

Accessories: Rolex presentation case

Sotheby’s also noted that the watch was “in good condition, with lights minor scuffs throughout.” 

Imagine what it would have sold for without those minor flaws. 

If you missed your chance, don’t worry—Sotheby’s has many more Rolexes available for auction. They probably aren’t even that scuffed.