Aug 21, 2019
Golden Bear Jack Nicklaus To Sell Gold Rolex Day-Date For Charity
By Carol Besler
Courtesy of Forbes
Could the Jack Nicklaus Rolex Day-Date be the next Paul Newman Daytona? Two years ago, auction house Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo auctioned Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona for a record $17.7-million, some of which was donated to the Nell Newman Foundation. It remains the highest result ever achieved for any wristwatch at auction. This fall, Phillips will auction Jack Nicklaus’s Rolex Day-Date, the proceeds of which will be donated by golf legend to the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. The auction takes place in New York City on December 10.
Rolex and Patek Philippe dominate auctions, and any watch with provenance has an automatic added value, particularly if it was owned by a celebrity. An ordinary Omega watch once owned by Elvis Presley sold at a Phillips auction in 2018 for $1.8-million. The Jack Nicklaus watch is a Rolex Day-Date Reference 1803 in yellow gold, received as a gift from Rolex in 1967. Nicklaus has been photographed wearing it over the years, and during 12 of his record 18 professional major championship titles. “This is the very first watch I ever owned, and the only watch I wore for every professional tournament I’ve won throughout my career,” says Nicklaus. “It has accompanied me at U.S. Opens, Masters tournaments, PGA championships, Open championships and countless other events for over five decades, and has served me well at every step along the way.”
The Day-Date, originally launched in 1956, is Rolex’s most prestigious model and one of the world’s most famous watches. It was the first wristwatch to feature a date and a fully spelled-out day of the week on the dial. Its tapered and faceted baton hour markers are reminiscent of golf tees, and its “President” bracelet is iconic. Nicklaus’s model has an extremely rare champagne-colored, “pie-pan” dial.
“Parting ways with this watch is certainly bittersweet,” says Nicklaus. “I will certainly miss wearing it and having it serve as a constant reminder of some of my life’s most memorable moments, but I have said many times that the work being done by our Foundation and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is far more rewarding than any four-foot putt I made to win a golf tournament. So to know that 100% of the money raised from the sale of something on my wrist that I have treasured for over a half-century will directly benefit pediatric care is a treasure of the heart. I also want to thank Phillips for contributing its profits to this great cause.”