This $17.75 million vintage Rolex once owned by Paul Newman is the most expensive ever sold at auction

This Rolex once owned by Paul Newman smashed an auction world record

This vintage Rolex is the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction, with a hammer price of $17.75 million.

But perhaps even more impressive than the eight-figure price tag is the watch's former owner: Hollywood legend Paul Newman. CNBC's "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" got up close and personal with the late Oscar-winning actor's personal timepiece.

The Rolex is crafted from stainless steel and leather.

The 1968 Reference 6239 Daytona, made from stainless steel and leather, is one of the most iconic Rolex models. The timepiece became so well known for its Hollywood pedigree, it's been dubbed the "Paul Newman Daytona"

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"Paul Newman wore this watch pretty much every single day from '69 'til 1984," says Aurel Bacs of Bacs & Russo, which partnered with Phillips Auction House to sell the renowned watch. "It became the most collectible type of vintage chronograph of all times."

The details of the Paul Newman Daytona.

Newman was also an avid racecar driver and was frequently seen wearing his signature Rolex at the track. In fact, when he was gifted the watch from his wife, Joanne Woodward, she included a special inscription reading, "DRIVE CAREFULLY ME."

Newman’s wife had the watch fitted with a personalized inscription.

After decades out of the spotlight, the watch reemerged in October 2017 at Phillips' inaugural watch auction in New York City. After 12 minutes of bidding, the storied timepiece went to an anonymous telephone bidder.

The nearly $18 million that it raked in will benefit The Nell Newman Foundation, a charity group run by Paul's daughter Nell.

"This was always in Paul Newman's spirit," says Bacs. "Support charity, support those in need."

Watch episodes of "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" on demand on CNBC.

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