JPS Paul Newman 6239 Rolex Daytona

John Player Special doesn’t represent an old cigarette manufacture or even Lotus F1 car to watch collectors. JPS is the apex, or at very least an apex, of Daytona collecting. The JPS is nothing more than a black Paul Newman dial with gold subs and chapter ring, a color mix very like the Lotus F1 car Ayrton Senna piloted, hence the name. Most of the time, you’ll see this JPS dial in 6241, with a black acrylic bezel. This is a 6239 with a metal bezel, not acrylic. There are about 300 18k yellow 6239s to start. Only a handful of those are JPS, the ‘evil’ gold Paul Newman to use UG parlance. There are confounding multiples of rarity coalescing in this Daytona, not even to start on condition.


Spanning references 6239, 6241, and 6264, the JPS dial has become an over 1-Million US Daytona with fair regularity these days. Most examples which have hammered in the last few years have indeed exceeded this mark. Paul Newman pump pusher Daytonas, non-JPS, are about half that all else being equal. The question is why? As usual, the primary value here derives from scarcity, as well as the sheer good looks of this tonal palette, to the extent that you fall for it. Also worth nothing if you see a dial like this but the colors are reversed (light yellow gold dial, black subdials), that’s a lemon dial. Lemon dials have historically been the more valuable and are rarer, but JPS are rising to become close. But for once, with Daytonas at least, when Rolex people talk about JPS scarcity, it really is true, although that’s not all that matters here.

For the most produced JPS-encompassing reference, 6241, most estimate that 300 examples were made in 18k yellow gold and 400 examples were made in 14k yellow gold (for the American market to avoid import duties). In the 6264, there are thought to have been 100 total made in yellow gold including both 14 & 18k. And for this 6239, the mark most estimate is somewhere around 300 examples total. All summed up, that’s around 1100 gold watches from this era, of which just a small fraction will be JPS. A smaller fraction than overall PN dials are to steel cases. While that might seem like a large number, consider that there are 14,000 ref. 6239 Daytonas alone that are estimated to have been made. What exactly are we talking about here, did Rolex produce 75 or 450 JPS examples in total? No one really knows, plus many won’t have survived. And that’s a part of the allure, the JPS is definitely scarce, but just how scarce is something that we can only garner by how infrequently we see them present in auctions. You need to really understand Rolex to get just how special this thing is and that’s the other half of it’s attraction.

This example has a gold Daytona signature, not red or cherry, to the extent that it matters. It’s gone back to Rolex’s restoration workshop with a full assessment, where thankfully it was respectfully mostly left alone by the looks of things (that said, I haven’t inspected this in person at all, so this is all speculation). The case appears quite full, with deeply punched hallmarks still. The dial looks mega, not much in the way of heavy patina other than a light sand colored tritium. It comes as part of Phillips New York June auctions.