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Nicklaus to auction iconic gold Rolex for children’s charity

9.12am 28th May 2019 - Salesroom & Memorabilia

Jack Nicklaus is to sell a Rolex watch that he has worn almost every day since he was given it in 1967 in order to raise funds for a child health foundation that he set up.

The watch, a rare Rolex Day‐Date Reference 1803 in yellow gold, was on Nicklaus’s wrist for 12 of his record 18 major championship titles.

Rolex Day‐Date was given to Nicklaus in 1967 and he wore it during 12 of his 18 major wins

Originally launched in 1956, it was the first wristwatch to feature a date and fully spelled‐out day of the week on its dial. Made from 18-carat yellow gold and fitted with a rare champagne‐coloured dial, with tapered hour-markers that look like golf tees, the watch is be auctioned by Phillips in New York on December 10, with all of the sale proceeds being donated to the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.

Nicklaus came by the watch after competing at the Canada Cup in Tokyo in 1966, where he attended a cocktail party given by Rolex, at which Nicklaus was offered the Rolex of his choice as a gift. Gary Player, who was also at the party, and was sponsored by Rolex at the time, recommended that Nicklaus choose the gold Day‐Date watch on display.

“This is the very first watch I ever owned, and the only watch I wore for every professional tournament I’ve won throughout my career,” said Nicklaus. “It has accompanied me at US Opens, Masters Tournaments, PGA Championships, Open Championships, and countless other events for over five decades, and has served me well at every step along the way.

“Parting ways with this watch is certainly bittersweet. While I will certainly miss the opportunity of wearing the watch, and having it serve as a constant reminder of some of my life’s most memorable moments, I know that its sale will help countless children and families impacted through the work of the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.

“I have said many times that the work being done by our foundation, and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, is far more rewarding than any four-foot putt I made to win a tournament. So to know that 100% of the money raised from the sale of something on my wrist that I have treasured for over a half-century will directly benefit pediatric care, is a treasure of the heart.”

Paul Boutros, Phillips’ Head of Watches, said: “Jack Nicklaus is the greatest golfer of all time, revered by sports fans around the world. We are honoured to present this superb Rolex Day‐Date Reference 1803 in our December auction. With its incredible provenance and timeless aesthetics, we look forward to seeing an enthusiastic response from collectors, golf fans, and charitable supporters, who, in addition to vying for one of the greatest timepieces associated with an iconic sports legend, will have the opportunity to raise funds to positively impact the lives of children.”

Prior to the auction, the watch will be presented on an international tour, which will include viewings in London, Geneva, Hong Kong, and throughout the United States. The tour will begin at the Jack Nicklaus Museum in Columbus, Ohio, on May 29, followed by the Memorial Tournament hosted by Jack Nicklaus in Ohio from May 30-June 2. The watch will then be exhibited at the US Open at Pebble Beach from June 13-16.

Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation

Jack Nicklaus

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