Rolex Daytona JPS 6264 reaches $1.5 million in record online sales

  Gold model that brings the colors of a legendary Formula 1 car was up for auction at Sotheby’s


An ultra-rare Rolex reference model, the Cosmograph Daytona JPS 6264, in 18k gold, fetched over $1.5 million in a single lot online sale held by Sotheby’s in London.


The 1969 John Player Special was named after the legendary Formula 1 car livery of the 1970s, because of its black and gold color reminiscent of Paul Newman.


The price reached marked a new auction record for a watch sold in the UK, for a Daytona JPS and for a watch sold in an online auction.


It also achieved one of the highest prices ever paid for a Daytona. The watch, which never appeared at auction, was sold in a timed online transaction from July 24-31. Over the course of a week, the watch received 17 bids from five buyers who raised its price to nearly double the first estimate (which was already high) of $800,000.


This watch combines two of the most sought after features of a Rolex. It features the rare Paul Newman dial and gold and black colors reminiscent of the John Player Special cigarette brand and, more importantly, the livery of the 1970s Formula 1 cars they sponsored. It remains one of the most famous design combinations in Grand Prix history.


The model is one of the few in existence, as it was produced in very small numbers for a short period of time, according to Sotheby’s.


More about Rolex Daytona JPS


The JPS model combines a golden yellow case and bracelet with a black acrylic bezel and a black dial with golden sub-registers. The initials JPS stand for John Player Special, the cigarette brand that is now synonymous with the legendary black and gold design that adorned Lotus F-1 cars from 1972 to 1986.


Some of the details on the now iconic Paul Newman dial include: an acrylic domed crystal, block subdials with markings at each intersection of the subdial in the center, and the second subdial at 9 o’clock marking the 15, 30, 45 and 60 positions.


The sale marked the third time since April that Sotheby’s has set a record for an online auction, according to the auction house. It was the final sale in a season that grossed $48 million in 2020.


These results were driven by numerous records for modern and antique wristwatches, historical references to antique pieces and the strong performance of new auction formats, including Watches Weekly sales, which launched in April.


Among the records set by the auction house so far this year are:

1. Record for an automatic Daytona: The price was paid for a platinum Cosmograph Daytona chronograph watch, Reference 16516, possibly one of a kind. With hardstone lapis lazuli dial, manufactured circa 1999, sold for US$3.3 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Important Watches live auction on July 11, breaking its high estimate of US$1 million.


2. Abraham-Louis Breguet tourbillon watch record: for King George III’s Tourbillon watch, one of the most important watches created by the famous watchmaker, which sold for $2 million at Sotheby’s London auction on July 14.


3. Record for a pocket watch sold at an online auction: for the Dent “Ultra Complication,” one of the finest watches ever made, according to the auction house. The trade closed at $832,240.


4. Highest total for an online watch sale: in the third installment of the Masterworks of Time landmark collection. It was the first online sale ever dedicated to world-class pocket watches, held in June. The 125-lot auction was 100% sold (what is called a “white glove sale” in the auction world), earning US$4.5 million.


“The record sale of this Daytona JPS sums up, in many ways, this season’s key takeaways: collectors’ eagerness to embrace new ways of doing business with us, their firm confidence in buying and selling high value lots online and, of course, the appetite unwavering for style, quality and rarity,” said Sam Hines, world head of Sotheby’s Watches. “It was exciting for us to lead this transformation.”