Jack Nicklaus' Rolex sells at auction for $1.2 million

Jack Nicklaus' Rolex sells at auction for $1.2 million

Golf

Jack Nicklaus' Rolex sells at auction for $1.2 million

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Correction/clarification: A previous version of this story reported the auction price of Jack Nicklaus’ Rolex without fees added in. The watch sold for $1.22 million.

An 18-karat gold Rolex Day-Date watch that was worn by Jack Nicklaus for 50 years and then as he hoisted 12 of his 18 major championship trophies has sold at auction for $1.22 million.

Phillips in New York held the auction Tuesday as part of its “Game Changers.” Also up for auction was a Rolex GMT-Master reference 1675, which Phillips says belonged to Marlon Brando and was worn by the actor while filming “Apocalypse Now.” Brando’s Rolex sold for $1.952 million.

Bidding on Nicklaus’ watch, lot 18, began at $500,000. Experts on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” had speculated the watch could eclipse the record of $17.8 million that Paul Newman’s Rolex sold for in 2018. Despite the stature of the watch in golf’s history, the final bid didn’t come close to the record.

Nicklaus says he didn’t wear the Rolex while playing tournament rounds, but “it came on as soon as I came off the golf course.” And he’s photographed wearing it while lifting the iconic trophies in the sport throughout his storied career.

The money raised through the auction benefits the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, created by Jack and his wife Barbara in 2004.

They’ve told the story through the years of how their philanthropy began. Their daughter, Nan, was 11 months old when she began coughing and choking. Jack and Barbara rushed Nan to the hospital, where doctors discovered a crayon was stuck in her windpipe.

Nan contracted pneumonia and was in intensive care for six days before she recovered. The Nicklauses were so moved by the incident that they came to a decision.

“We looked at each other and said if we’re ever in a position to help anyone, we want it to be children,” Barbara told Golfweek. “If we’ve helped one family, we’re happy.”

Barbara was honored with the PGA of America’s Distinguished Service Award last month.

 

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