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  • Paul Newman in the 1961 classic “The Hustler.”

    The late Paul Newman is known for more than ranch dressing. He was also a snazzy dresser, and his vintage Rolex Daytona watch just fetched a whopping $17.8 million in a New York City auction.

    Newman died in 2008 at the age of 83. The watch hadn’t been seen since the 1980s.

    Before that, Newman never seemed to leave home without it. The watch, however, resurfaced for the first time yesterday (Oct. 26) when it went up for auction.

    The Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Cosmograph Daytona, as it was presented, topped the previous $11.1 million record sale at Phillips auction.

    The auction, “Winning Icons — Legendary Watches of the 20th Century” saw heated bidding between to unknown people, according to the auction house.

    The winning bidder has chosen to remain anonymous.

    Wife Joanne Woodward gave Newman the watch after they starred together in 1969 movie “Winning.”

    The film sparked actor’s passion for professional racing, so she had it engraved with the message “Drive Carefully Me.”

    In 1984, he gave the timepiece to his daughter Elinor ‘Nell’ Newman’s college boyfriend, James Cox. Elinorhe detailed when it was passed on in a letter accompanying the timepiece.

    She wrote:

    “Pop asked James if he knew the time. Apparently Pop forgot to wind his wristwatch that morning. James responded that he didn’t know the time and didn’t own a watch. Pop handed James his Rolex and said, ‘if you can remember to wind this each day, it tells pretty good time.”

    The letter seems a little odd since Rolex watches are self-winding.

    The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona was first introduced in 1963. It was “designed to meet the demands of professional racing drivers,”according to the brand’s Web site.

    “With its highly reliable chronograph and bezel with tachymetric scale, it allows drivers to perfectly measure average speeds up to 400 kilometers or miles per hour, as they choose. An icon eternally joined in name and function to the high‑performance world of motor sport,” it says describing the watch.

    Nell and James are no longer together, but they are still close friends and decided to sell the watch to raise funds for the Nell Newman Foundation.