Jack Nicklaus’s Gold Rolex Falls Short of Expectations at Auction

Proceeds of the sale will go to the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation

Jack Nicklaus’ Rolex Sells for $1.22 Million at Auction
Jack Nicklaus hugs his trophy that he won at the 1978 British Open. (Tony Roberts/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty)
By Evan Bleier / December 11, 2019 8:56 am

Up for auction to benefit the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, Jack Nicklaus’ iconic gold Rolex fell short of expectations when it finally crossed the block.

Though some anticipated the Golden Bear’s Oyster Perpetual Day-Date Rolex would fetch as much as $18 million, the watch went for $1.2 million (buyer’s premium included).

Had the 1967 watch been able to fetch $18 million, it would have surpassed the $17.8 million that actor Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona brought home at auction in 2017.

The sale of Newman’s watch was what originally gave Nicklaus, who got his Rolex as a thank-you gift for attending a cocktail party in 1966, the idea to sell his famous ticker.

“When I hit the course, the watch would go into a little pouch and then into my golf bag,” Nicklaus told Robb Report in 2017 when the prospect of auctioning the watch was first mentioned. “When I would finish up on the 18th, I’d put my wallet back into my pocket and my watch back on my wrist. That’s why you see it in every picture of me holding a trophy over the last 50 years.”

At the same Phillips New York auction, the stainless-steel Rolex GMT-Master which Marlon Brando’s signed and wore during the filming of Apocalypse Now sold for $1.95 million, equating to $1.952 with the buyer’s premium.

The Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation works with pediatric hospitals across the U.S. to combat childhood illness.

“Parting ways with this watch is certainly bittersweet,” Nicklaus said before the auction. “While I will certainly miss the opportunity of wearing the watch and having it serve as a constant reminder of some of my life’s most memorable moments, I know that parting with it will help countless children and families impacted through the work of the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.”

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