“The Paul Newman Rolex Daytona is the holy grail of all watches. It is the literal embodiment of great taste and great watch-making. Also, keep in mind, that this watch was the daily beater of one of the most iconic actors.”
Affordable Alternatives/Homages to the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona
- Dan Henry 1962 ($270)
- Hoffman Racing Chronograph 40 ($400)
- MHD CR 1 Panda ($400)
- Geckota W-02 Vintage Mechanical Chronograph ($420)
- WMT Montana ($1,345)
- Nivada Grenchen Manual ($1,768)
- Tudor Black Bay Chrono ($4,900)
- Omega Speedmaster CK 2998 ($6,400)
- Tag Heuer Carrera 160 Years Anniversary ($6,450)
The Paul Newman Rolex Daytona
Paul Newman was an American actor, film director, race car driver, and entrepreneur. But most importantly, he was a huge watch nerd, just like you and me. And maybe you heard of it, back in 2017, his Rolex Daytona, which he wore on several movie sets, was auctioned by Philipps and was sold for a shocking $17.8 Million. Yes, you heard that right. $17.8 Million. The Paul Newman Daytona—a gift from his wife, actress Joanne Woodward—has long been considered one of the holy grails in the watch world. Adding to the immense value was the fact that this was his personal watch, which he wore almost every day.
The results of the Philipps auction made him the undisputed king of the watch world and led to rising prices among other vintage Rolex Daytona’s. So much in fact, that you would have to pay around $300,000 in today’s grey markets. So, since you clicked on this article, I assume that the laughable amount of $300k, is just a little bit above your budget, but no worries, I got you.
In this new series, called “Affordable Alternatives to…”, we will go through the most prestigious and sought-after luxury watches, that cannot be bought at a retail price and/or are just way too expensive for the average watch enthusiast. And you will get a list of affordable alternatives to satisfy your cravings. Usually, the prices of the watches in the lists range anywhere between $100 to $10,000. In this range, I assume, we will find something for every budget. Oh, and by the way, this list is sorted after price, going from most affordable to most expensive, not personal taste or preference.
Dan Henry 1962 ($270)
Starting this list off is a watch from Dan Henry. To be precise, the Dan Henry 1962 Racing Chronograph. The brand behind the watch is quite unique, so let me give you a short introduction. It all started with a collector named, you guessed it, Dan Henry. Dan Henry collected over 1500 vintage watches over the span of 30 years and managed to acquire some of the most iconic and sought-after timepieces of the last century. After that, he decided to make the designs of his watches more broadly available and created the Dan Henry brand.
The 1962 Racing Chrono is inspired by the racing culture of the 1960s and is produced in a limited edition. The watch features a Seiko caliber VK63 meca-quartz movement which is housed in a 39 mm stainless steel case. The watch has very wearable proportions and manages to give you this vintage look and feel. Additionally, the watch is water-resistant up to 50 meters (165 feet) and has a mineral glass crystal. If you are interested in getting one for yourself, the watch will set you back $270 and can be bought on Dan Henry’s website.
Specifications: Price: $270, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 13.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.9mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Seiko VK63 meca-quartz movement, Power Reserve: Quartz, Crystal: Mineral
Hoffman Racing Chronograph 40 Mechanical ($400)
Next up is a watch which I recently discovered as part of my research for this article. Introducing the Hoffmann Racing Chronograph. The New York-based brand Hoffman was founded back in 2016. And ever since then they produced vintage-inspired timepieces and had quite a lot of success.
The Hoffman Racing Chronograph features a 316L stainless steel case, which comes in at a diameter of 40mm. The case houses a manual winding Seagull ST1901/TY2901 movement, which pays tribute to the era, from which they took their inspiration. Speaking of the past, the vintage design of the chronograph is very distinctive and you can see that Hoffman took inspiration from past eras. Another cool detail is the see-through sapphire caseback, through which you can admire the movement that beats inside. Besides that, the watch also features a water resistance of up to 50 meters, a sapphire crystal on top, fully functional chronograph complication, and tachymeter markings on the bezel.
The watch will set you back around $400 and you can find one on eBay or Amazon.
Specifications: Price: $400, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 13.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: n/a, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Manual winding Seagull ST1901/TY2901 movement, Power Reserve: 37h, Crystal: Sapphire
MHD CR 1 Panda ($400)
Continuing with a racing chronograph that has quite the unique look. The MHD CR 1 is not your ordinary chronograph. Designed by British car designer Matthew Humphries, the CR1 combines iconic design features from the ’60s and 70’s automotive culture, with modern aspects of watchmaking. You can see the influences of past eras in the minimalistic designed dial and the unique rounded shape of the case.
The watch features a Miyota 6s21 quartz movement, which is housed in a 42mm stainless steel case that measures 11mm in height and has a lug-to-lug distance of 50.5mm. The whole watch is water-resistant up to 100 meters (330ft) and weighs around 85 grams. As you can see, this watch will wear a little bit larger, especially considering the 50.5mm lug-to-lug distance, which makes it appear even bigger on your wrist. But if you have bigger wrists or you just don’t care, then this shouldn’t be an issue at all.
For a price of around $400 you get a very unique case design, a beautiful simple dial and a piece of racing history, just for yourself.
Specifications: Price: $400, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Miyota 6s21 quartz movement, Power Reserve: Quartz, Crystal: n/a
Geckota W-02 Vintage Mechanical Chronograph ($420)
Coming in at number 4 on this list is the Geckota W-02 Vintage Mechanical Chronograph. Inspired by the spirit of vintage racing, one of the greatest eras of watch design, Geckota hit the ball out of the park with the design.
The Geckota W-02 has a 37mm stainless steel case, which measures 15mm (10mm without the double-domed acrylic crystal) in height and 47mm from lug to lug. As you can see the case is proportioned very nicely and I salute Geckota for respecting the case sizes from that era. It takes courage to produce a 37mm watch in these times, where watches seem to get bigger and bigger. Geckota decided to build in a hand-wound Seagull ST19 chronograph movement, which delivers around 42 hours of power reserve.
The crisp white dial with the vintage-inspired black subdials and the black tachymeter ring looks stunning. Combine this design with a mechanical movement and a price tag of just $420, and you got yourself a great deal.
Specifications: Price: $420, Case Size: 37mm, Thickness: 15mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Hand-wound Seagull ST19 chronograph movement, Power Reserve: 42h, Crystal: Acrylic
WMT Montana ($1,345)
Now on to a watch, which pays homage to the other Rolex Daytona of Paul Newman, namely the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona 6263 “Big Red”. A gift from Paul Newman to his daughter Clea in 2008, the ref. 6263 was originally given to Newman by his wife, engraved with a personalized dedication on the back, just like the Daytona that sold for $17.8 Million. The “Big Red” got its name from the red “Daytona” writing above the 6 o’clock subdial.
And in honor of this historic timepiece, the Hong-Kong-based WMT watch brand released the “Montana” model, which is a very good-looking homage to the “Big Red”, with very nice proportions. Yes it is a homage but let’s be honest, 99.9% of the watch enthusiasts out there, will never be able to afford one of the vintage Daytona’s, and especially not this particular piece, which sold for $5.4 Million at an auction in 2020. So in that case wearing a homage is completely appropriate, in the end, the only thing that counts is, that you enjoy the watch on your wrist. Doesn’t matter if it costs $50 or $5.4 Million.
So back to the WMT Montana. The watch is powered by an automatic Seiko NE88 movement, which is housed in a 37.5mm stainless steel case. The case and the double-domed Acrylic Crystal enable the Montana to have a water resistance of up to 100 meters. The watch gets delivered on a stainless steel bracelet that looks practically the same as the one of the Paul Newman Daytona, so you get the full package. To make the watch seem even more vintage, WMT makes the hands, indexes and the dial look aged, so it really looks like it was worn for a few decades.
So there you have it. A homage watch with very nice proportions, a perfectly captured design, automatic movement, and at a price of $1,345. Sounds good, doesn’t it? To be fair, I find the price a little bit too high for the movement and the overall quality of the watch. But if you want a watch, that looks just like the one Paul Newman wore and you have a limited budget, then this would be a great choice.
Specifications: Price: $1,345, Case Size: 37.5mm, Thickness: 14.23mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic Seiko NE88 movement, Power Reserve: 45h, Crystal: Acrylic
Nivada Grenchen Manual ($1,768)
The next watch on this list has a very great meaning to me and my family. I’m talking about the Nivada Grenchen Manual, which basically is a reiteration of the Chronomaster watches they used to produce back in 1963. So why does this watch mean so much to me? See, it’s not about the watch itself but about the history of the brand Nivada Grenchen. The second word “Grenchen”, is the name of a small town in Switzerland where they first started to produce their watches in 1920. At the beginning of the 1960s, my grandparents migrated from Italy to Switzerland in order to find work, since Italy was in a big crisis and nobody was able to find work. So at the age of 20, they packed their things and moved to Switzerland, where they landed in a small town named, you guessed it, Grenchen.
Grenchen was at the time a hotspot in the swiss watchmaking industry. And for that reason, both my grandparents started working in the factories there, supporting the rise of brands like Nevada Grenchen or ETA. This was of course before the big Quartz crisis hit, but at the time, this was fairly a good place to work for my grandparents.
So now that you know a part of my family history, let’s look at the featured watch a little bit, shall we? The Nivada Grenchen Manual 86010M has a case size of just 38.3mm, making it very comfortable to wear. Inside the stainless steel case, beats a hand-wound Sellita SW510 M BH B chronograph movement, which is a very exciting movement, that you don’t get to see very often. The watch features a matte white dial with cream-colored luminous indexes, 2 black subdials, and a black Tachymeter scale, making this suitable for being used as a racing chronograph. The dial is complemented by a rotating 12-hour bezel.
If you are willing to spend $1,768 for a watch with a very rich history, great proportions, and a vintage design, then this will be a great choice. You can buy one in Nivada Grenchens online shop.
Specifications: Price: $1,768, Case Size: 38.3mm, Thickness: 13.75mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Hand-wound Sellita SW510 M BH B chronograph movement, Power Reserve: n/a, Crystal: Sapphire
Tudor Black Bay Chrono ($5,225)
Now we are coming to one of my favorite watches on this list, the 2021 Tudor Black Bay Chrono. Tudor released this updated version of the Black Bay Chrono at Watches and Wonders 2021, as a tribute to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of Tudor chronographs.
The Black Bay Chrono comes in true Paul Newman Daytona style, in two different color variants. One with a white dial and black sub-dials (panda) and one with a black dial and white sub-dials (reversed panda). The cases are made entirely from stainless steel and measure 41mm in diameter and each house the self-winding Caliber MT5813, which is fully COSC certified and made in-house by Tudor. The movement has an impressive power reserve of 70 hours, and the whole watch is waterproof up to 200m (660ft, for our American readers). The case is complemented by an aluminum matte black bezel, which features white Tachymeter markers.
The Black Bay Chrono and the Paul Newman Daytona have a lot in common when we compare them head to head. There are certain similarities in the bezel, the crown, and pushers, which are quite obvious. Tudor achieved this vintage look and feel, which you don’t get with the new ceramic Rolex Daytona’s, but which you had with the vintage ones. Hence why the Tudor made it onto this list.
To sum it up, if you are looking for a vintage-inspired, racing chronograph with similar looks to the Paul Newman Daytona and have around $5,000 to spend, the new Tudor Black Bay Chrono will be the perfect choice for you.
Specifications: Price: $5,225, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 14.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50.1mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: COSC-certified automatic Tudor MT5813 in-house movement, Power Reserve: 70h, Crystal: Sapphire
Omega Speedmaster CK 2998 ($6,400)
Next up is a very special timepiece from Omega, which in my opinion, isn’t getting enough attention from watch enthusiasts. Some of you may have guessed it, I’m talking about the Omega Speedmaster Anniversary Series Chronograph. The watch takes its inspiration from the original OMEGA CK 2998, which was released in 1959 and has since become one of the most iconic Speedmasters in the world.
The 316L stainless steel case has a diameter of 39.7mm and houses the manual wound OMEGA Caliber 1861, which has a power reserve of up to 48 hours. The whole thing is topped off by a sapphire crystal. From a design perspective, Omega used a lot of vintage aspects that can be found for the example in the off-white dial with the black minute track, and the red chronograph seconds hand. But there is more, the 3 vintage-inspired black subdials are placed on the dial, in a typical racing chronograph manner, paying tribute to watches from past eras. To make the case complete, Omega went for a black ceramic bezel with a white pulsometer scale on it.
A cool detail about the watch is that Omega only made the watch 2998 times and is therefore limited. The number of produced pieces pays tribute to the name of the original watch, which they based this one on. Very cool detail I have to say.
So, if you are interested, prepare to spend around $5,800, which is about a grand more than the option from Tudor. But if you are into vintage-inspired racing chronographs, with a lot of history, then the extra $1000 may be well spent. You can purchase one at your local AD.
Specifications: Price: $6,400, Case Size: 39.7mm, Thickness: 14mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Manual wound OMEGA Caliber 1861 movement, Power Reserve: 48h, Crystal: Sapphire
Tag Heuer Carrera 160 Years Anniversary ($6,450)
And the last contender on this list is the Tag Heuer Carrera 160 Years Anniversary Edition. I was unsure whether I should include the Carrera 160 years or an Omega Speedmaster with Panda dial on this list. But since there is already an Omega on here, I decided to give Tag Heuer the spot.
The Tag Heuer Carrera 160 Years is an anniversary edition and is limited to 1860 pieces. Why 1860 you ask? Good question, Tag Heuer pays tribute to the founding year, which was in 1860, hence the limited production of just 1860 pieces. The chronograph features a design that is reminiscent of the 1960s, but at the same time brings the watch into the 21st century with its modern automatic Heuer 02 movement, which is made by Tag Heuer in-house. This movement boasts an impressive 80 hours of power reserve, which demonstrates the modern touch, that this watch has.
Protecting the precious movement is a stainless steel case with a diameter of 39mm and a height of 14mm. The watch is topped off by a sapphire crystal and is water-resistant up to 100 meters.
Coming in at a price of $6,450 this Tag Heuer is by all means not cheap. But if you look at the heritage and the quality, that Tag Heuer as a brand brings with them, then the amount seems a lot more reasonable. Adding the beautiful, vintage-inspired design and the moderate case proportions to this equation and it seems even better. For more information, visit the Tag Heuer website.
Specifications: Price: $6,400, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 14mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.7mm, Lug Width: n/a, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic Heuer 02 movement, Power Reserve: 80h, Crystal: Sapphire
The Paul Newman Rolex Daytona is the holy grail of all watches. This watch is the embodiment of great taste and great watch-making. This watch was the daily beater of one of the most iconic actors. So no wonder that the price of this watch is so high and impossible to pay for normal working class enthusiasts. And there is no shame in admitting that. Because in the end, you have to take care of your responsibilities and your family. So of course you could spend $300k on a single watch, but that wouldn’t be very smart and probably wouldn’t even make you feel happy.
But as this list demonstrates, there are a lot of more affordable options out there, that should satisfy your vintage-racing cravings. If you are interested in even more racing chronographs that have the distinctive Rolex Daytona style, check out my previous article “Affordable Alternatives to the Rolex Daytona”.
Thanks for reading!