There are rare watches. There are cool watches. There are watches with provenance.
Then there are uber rare super cool watches with amazing provenance. Then this.
If like me you are passionate about watches, motor racing, the movies and legends of our generation then this watch has it all.
Everyone has heard of the Paul Newman Daytona but not so many of the Paul Newman Speedmaster!
So let me share…
Paul Newman (actor/racer/all round uber cool guy) was a car racing fanatic ever since shooting the film Winning in 1969 and drove as a professional race driver for 33 years from 1972 to 2005.
In the 70’s he won 4 national championships in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). During 1976 he formed his first race team with Bill Freeman and they raced in the Can-Am series winning their first national championship team title in 1979.
Paul himself would also finish 2nd at the Le Mans 24hr race in 1979 driving a Porsche 935.
In 1982 Paul was racing in the Can-Am championship against renowned racer Carl Haas and they were both looking to get into Champ Car Racing for the first time the following year. They agreed to form a team together and in 1983 “Newman Haas Racing” was born.
Their driver for the first year would be Mario Andretti, the F1/Indy 500/Daytona 500 champion, and they would win the CHAMP title in only their second season.
Newman Haas Racing would go on to win 108 Champ Car and IndyCar races and win the overall championship with Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Cristiano de Mata and 4 times in a row with Sebastien Bourdais!
Paul Newman himself would also go on to be the oldest ever winning driver in a major series when at the age of 70 he won his class at the 24hr of Daytona in 1995.
In 1997 Omega’s new Ambassador in the USA was the Newman Haas Racing driver Michael Andretti, son of Mario.
To celebrate Omegas affiliation with Newman Haas/Andretti and racing in the USA they produced a limited edition ‘CART’ series watch in blue with the CART racing logo in the lower subdial.
This line of watches came in limited numbers and not your usual Omega packaging. It came in a replica CART slick tyre/alloy racing wheels that rotated to reveal the watch inside and was housed in a race tyre bag and box.
The watch itself was launched in New York’s Central Park on February 10th 1997, with CART driver and Omega Ambassador Michael Andretti driving the Omega branded Lunar Rover that was used on the moon. On the 4th September 1997 Andretti and and San Francisco Mayor, Willie Brown, raced the lunar rover along Powell Street in San Francisco against the famous cable cars of the city.
At the end of 1997, in what had been another successful year for the team, Paul decided to give some of the team members something special for Christmas. They contacted Omega and ordered a small number of the CART watches direct from Omega for the men in the team.
The watches were issued on the 4th December (Copy of the Extract of the Archives from Omega confirms) directly to Newman Haas in the USA and did not go via any dealer – the warranty cards are all blank and the serial numbers of the race watches are all in a very small series.
The watches were all engraved Newman Haas Racing on the case back with 1997.
The watch I have here has been in my collection many many years and is brand new old stock having never been worn and so in mint condition. The watch came originally from Bill Mann who was a renowned body engineer and has worked on some of the most successful American race cars of all time. He was with Newman Haas from their inception in ’83.
Now all that would be be cool – a great story and wonderful very limited edition watch with everything from new and in mint condition. But what seperates this watch from any other and makes it really unique is that it still comes with the embossed hand written Christmas card from Paul Newman and Carl Haas that the watch was presented with!!
To my knowledge only one of these watches has ever come to the market and that was missing the paperwork and Christmas card. So this is a unique opportunity to own a real piece of history originating from Mr Cool himself.
Sadly Paul Newman passed away in 2008 and the team has now been abandoned.
He won every award you could in acting, went on to win every award in motorsports and during all of it gave away over $400m to charity by every year donating all the profits from his Newman’s Own food company. I doubt there will be another like him again.
It is a difficult decision to let this go but maybe it is time another passionate collector got to enjoy it, so I will consider high level trades for something equally as rare – my passion is mainly vintage Rolex and military issued or rare dial pieces but I will listen to all offers of course.
Hope you enjoyed the story and remember you can follow pictures of my other rare pieces on instagram at www.instagram.com/sweepinghand/
and of course by liking my facebook page at www.facebook.com/sweepinghand.co.uk
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