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Good news: Drake, collector of all manner of timepieces, was recently spotted wearing a watch. Better news: the watch was a minty Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona, one of the most treasured and grailiest pieces in existence. But even for a mega-superstar like Drake, a Newman doesn’t just appear on demand. I decided to look into how Drake wound up with this specific watch—and learned that its journey to the rapper actually began decades ago. Here’s how you get a Rolex Daytona to Drake. 

Toronto, Canada, ‘60s 

The story begins, by cosmic coincidence, in Drake’s hometown of Toronto. A sweet old man, back when he was young and sprightly, purchased a new Cosmograph Daytona from Rolex—some time back in the ‘60s. He wore the piece for a long time. This wasn’t such a big deal because this version of the Daytona, with an “exotic dial”—meaning one with minute track ring in a contrasting color and deliciously funky numerals—was too bold for many consumers at that time. 

Munich, Germany, ‘90s

Paul Newman famously wore the watch throughout the ‘70s, forever changing its trajectory and earning it the Paul Newman nickname. The watch’s star grew so dramatically that, on a trip to Munich in the ‘90s, a guy ran up to our Daytona owner and grabbed his wrist. 

Joey Caleca with the Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman”Joey Caleca

Oh my God, how much do you want for that?” the man said, the owner eventually told Adam Golden of Menta Watches. “It’s amazing!” Suddenly, the owner realized that the watch on his wrist was awfully valuable—and, worse, drawing unwanted attention. He stashed it away in a safe, keeping it safe and in pristine condition…while unintentionally letting the value ferment dramatically. 

Miami, Florida, 2022 

Golden, who has sold every kind of vintage watch in Miami since 2014, heard from a jeweler friend based in Canada that a very good client of his was trying to unload a Paul Newman Daytona. The owner was getting older and his kids weren’t interested in keeping it (imagine!!). They’d considered taking it to an auction house, but had missed the deadline to submit it. His jeweler wasn’t used to working with pieces like this very pricey one, so he called Golden. 

“I almost didn’t take it seriously because the pictures were so crappy,” Golden says. “But the [Canadian jeweler’s] telling me, ‘Listen, he’s not gonna let me take better pictures or send it to you for inspection.” Finally, Golden was able to convince the jeweler to bring the man and his watch to his Toronto shop, so that he could collect a few more pictures near a window letting in some light. The images were just convincing enough. “The crystal was scuffed to all hell,” Golden says. But, even without a buffed crystal, Golden could tell: “If this watch is what I think it is, it’s going to be an excellent example.” 

So, Golden figured, Miami to Toronto isn’t such an awful flight, especially with a Newman waiting on the other end. He’d decided: “I was gonna buy the watch, regardless of, you know, the Drake of things.” 

Staten Island, New York, 2022 

Before Golden booked his tickets to Toronto, a team of people—whose identities have been fiercely protected!—came to Gerald Amerosi of Gerald Peters, an “official Rolex jeweler,” in the Crown’s preferred parlance, in Staten Island. They were looking for a Paul Newman Daytona in unbelievable quality, the best quality possible, because they wanted to give it to Drake for his 36th birthday in October. 

Amerosi needed someone who knew the pre-owned market, so he reached out to Joey Caleca, who goes by The Wrist Watcher. Together, they set out to source a piece worthy of a man who is famously stingy about friendship. They reached out to Marco Nicolini and Golden. “Both of them had some options,” Joey says. “The first option that Adam had that we were going to go with actually sold, and then Adam miraculously pulled this Canada one out and we needed it to be rushed, rushed, rushed.” 

Toronto, Canada

Golden pushed his flight up to Toronto earlier so that Drake wouldn’t have an empty box to open on his birthday. He met with the owner of the watch and his wife. “He really was a sweet old man,” Golden says. 

The original owner of the Daytona and his (now Drake’s!) watchAdam Golden

But more importantly: the watch. Birds sang, a harp was plucked, golden light filled the room. (Or at least that’s how it looks in my head.) “The watch turned out to be amazing,” Golden says. “It’s not every day an original-owner, mint Paul Newman comes up for sale where you get to go up and shake the original owner’s hand and talk to him about the watch.” To go with the watch, Golden also got the owner to write a letter testifying to his ownership. 

So, you have this wildly expensive—the market value is upwards of $200,000—and rare watch, how do you get it home with you? Hard-shell kevlar case? Verified mail? Nondescript luggage? “It goes on my wrist,” Golden says. 

Because it’s the safest or the most fun? 

Golden wearing the watch Adam Golden

“Both,” Golden says, laughing. “I just bought an original-owner Paul Newman!” 

Miami, Florida to Staten Island, New York

Malca-Amit is a company that specializes in shipping luxury items. (Great, ‘90s-movie-grade website.) Golden and Caleca worked with Malca-Amit, which used a logistics company called FERRARI EXPRESS [caps mine], to get the watch from Miami to Staten Island. The Paul Newman had a cushy ride: it took a private plane up to New York then hopped into an armored car. “An armored truck showed up to my house,” says Caleca. “Guys dressed as a SWAT team to deliver the watch.” 

Joey Caleca

In another part of Staten Island

The watch then changed hands again, going from Caleca to Amerosi. “I’ll be honest, I’ve never held a watch like that before,” Amerosi says. “The condition was impeccable. The dial was spotless. I was amazed that the dial wasn’t really faded. The original purchaser kept it in pristine condition.” 

Gerald Amerosi

It would have taken about a full year, Amerosi says, to get the rubber stamp of authenticity from Rolex HQ in Geneva, so he did the next best thing. Together, Amerosi and Caleca whipped up a letter vouching for the watch’s authenticity. 

Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Canada, 2023

Just a couple months after he received the watch, the birthday boy wore it out to a game between his Raptors and the Charlotte Hornets. Drake has a lot of watches, as I’ve thoroughly documented over the years, but he didn’t necessarily have a watch quite like this one. While his other standout pieces—a Patek Philippe Nautilus customized by Virgil Abloh, or the Richard Mille RM 69 that spits out Borat pick-up lines—spoke to the hype side, this Paul Newman speaks to the nerdier piece of watch collecting. 

Golden nods to the idea that “you’re not a real connoisseur until you start buying stuff like this,” citing collectors like “the John Mayers and the Ellen DeGeneres is of the world.” At the same time, it’s still an evidently killer watch—of all the esoteric vintage watches in the world, this is the one most people will recognize. “It’s one of the most iconic watches in the world,” Golden says. You can’t find a better birthday gift than that.