Ellen DeGeneres's $750k Vintage "John Player Special" Rolex Daytona

November 03, 2019

Vintage Rolex Daytona, nicknamed the "John Player Special" Image from BobsWatches.com
Famed celebrity Ellen DeGeneres is a highly accomplished timepiece collector with both new and vintage Rolex watches in her collection.  Although she often gifts timepieces to her friends, this is one she is definitely keeping and wearing on a daily basis.  The timepiece pictured has a rubber band, however, the one Ellen recently acquired has a gold band.

The Rolex Daytonas have become highly sought after in collector's circles, and the prices for these vintage Rolex Daytonas have continued to rise astronomically.  Although 750k sounds like a huge amount for a used Rolex, this rare and coveted timepiece, now with Ellen Celebrity status attached to it, will definitely make this timepiece even more valuable as time goes by.

There are estimated at less than 400 of these rare Daytonas in circulation today.  These timepieces originally sold for about $700 which is approx 5k in today's prices.  That would actually be a bargain in today's Rolex market since most new gold Rolexes sell for 20-30k or more.  Rolex Daytonas are in such high demand that it might cost much more and take some time to acquire a new gold Daytona.  The price of gold is also much higher today than it was in the 1960's when these John Player Specials were sold.

The John Player Special Paul Newman Daytona Ref. 6241 was named after the Formula One Racecar from the 1970's and of course Paul Newman who championed the 3 dial stopwatch during his lifetime.
Example of the John Player Rolex Daytona with Gold band and inner gold ring on the bezel

Unique features of this timepiece include a top left dial that has a 60, 15, 30, 45 rather than 60,20,30,40 on the dial.  The case is yellow gold with gold pushers and a large winding crown.  This timepiece is not automatic as so many Rolex timepieces are.  The early Daytonas were all self-winding.  However, the pushers allowed racecar drivers or their fans or pit crew to accurately estimate their speed between laps.

The black tachymeter around the edges went to a vintage speed of only 200 mph since racecars hadn't broken the 200 mph barrier during the 1960's.  Modern Daytona's are equipped with a tachymeter that goes to 400 mph or kph.

The yellow gold is beautifully complimented by the black dial and black bezel.  The 3 inner dials are gold with black markings.  The actual timepiece has simple black dots with gold tips acting as the hour markers around the entire edge of the timepiece at standard hour positions 1 through 12 o'clock.

Clearly this is a more elegant example of the tool watch.  The combination of Gold and Black coloring throughout is Rolex artistry at its finest and clearly something Ellen would admire.  Although she owns steel versions of the vintage Rolex Daytona, when you are a superstar celebrity, wouldn't you rather wear the gold and black version?  Although it has elements of a new Rolex, Ellen would know that her timepiece is nearly priceless in comparison.

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