Stan Barrett – a boxing champion-turned-stuntman-turned-NASCAR driver – sought to become the become the first person to break the speed of sound in a land vehicle in 1979, driving the Budweiser Rocket Car.
While an official speed was never recorded despite the USAF estimating a speed of 739.66MPH, Barrett did walk away from the project with these Rolex watches.
Newman, Barrett’s lifelong friend and stunt double, gave him the stainless steel GMT-Master ‘Pepsi’ and Ref 6262 Cosmograph Daytona that he wore on his left wrist, the former later engraved by Newman with the message “STAN BARRETT 739 MPH MACH 1.0206 12-17-79.”
The watches will be offered with an estimate of $50,000 USD – $100,000 USD and $300,000 USD – $500,000 USD, respectively.
Barrett was also presented with an engraved Rolex yellow gold GMT Master Reference 1675 (est. $50,000 USD – $100,000 USD) by Anheuser-Busch CEO, August Busch, to congratulate him on the drive.
“These three watches – personal gifts between friends and colleagues – carry more historical significance than just their benefactors,” says Jonathon Burford, Sotheby’s Watches Specialist. “Inextricably linked to a feat of human exploration, they represent a slice of American history itself and will no doubt appeal to watch connoisseurs and racing enthusiasts alike.”
The watches will go on show at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction this weekend before touring Dubai, Hong Kong, Geneva and Los Angeles ahead of going on sale at Sotheby’s New York on December 9.
Elsewhere in watches, a first look at MB&F’s new London location.