Paul Newman Daytona Rolex
Legend has it Paul Newman wore his Daytona Rolex watch for 15 years. Phillips

In 2009, Jacques Seguela, publicity adviser to then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, said: "If at 50 you don't own a Rolex, you've wasted your life."

What would Mr Seguela think of the Rolex model that was just auctioned for an astonishing $17.8 million (£13.6 million)?

The auction took place in New York on Thursday 26 October. It set a new world record for any wristwatch sold at an auction, according to the auction house Phillips.

The Rolex Daytona used to belong to actor Paul Newman. It was a gift from his wife Joanne Woodward in 1968. Paul Newman is still remembered today as a picture of American masculinity, and thousands of men rushed to buy the exact same model after seeing him sporting it. The appeal was so big the film legend eventually lent his name to the model, now called "Paul Newman Daytona."

The model Newman wore was a black and white Cosmograph Daytona, which now costs $27,500. Legend has it he wore it everyday between 1969 and 1984, until his wife got him a new model.

James Cox, a former boyfriend of one of Newman's daughters, submitted the watch for auction, saying the actor had given it to him in 1984.

The bidding war lasted only 12 minutes, starting at $10m.

Phillips' experts called the Daytona "arguably the most iconic collector's wristwatch of the 20th century," and a testament to the brand's legacy.

The buyer's identity will remain unknown, as the bid was conducted through phone.

The previous record auction was set just over $11m for a rare, stainless steel Patek Philippe that had been auctioned in November 2016.

$17.8million could seem like a lot for a watch, but Paul Newman's watch is far from the most expensive model in the world.

That title is reserved for the Graff Diamonds "Hallucination" watch, which cost an eye-watering $55million. The artefact is entirely made of coloured diamonds, amounting 110 carats and set into a platinum bracelet.

Graff also ranks second with its "Fascination" model, which is made of 152.96 carats of white diamonds, with a pear-shaped centre that can be detached and used as a ring. All of that for $40 million.

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