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A Rolex watch worn by Jack Nicklaus for more than half a century has sold for over $1MILLION at an auction in New York City.

The 18-karat-gold Rolex 1803 Day-Date watch was gifted to the Golden Bear by the luxury timepiece brand in 1967 and he went on to wear it during 12 of his record 18 major championship victories.

Similar watches from the same time period routinely fetch for between $10,000 and $12,000 but Nicklaus’ fetched an incredible $1.22million at an auction hosted by Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo.

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Nicklaus is donating the entire sum to the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.


The 80-year-old has previously explained just how much the watch means to him.

He said: “We were at the Canada Cup matches in Tokyo [in 1967]. Arnold [Palmer], Gary [Player] and I went to a Rolex cocktail party and as a thank you Rolex asked me to pick out a watch. I picked this golden Day-Date because Gary, who was with Rolex at the time, told me, ‘That’s the best one.’

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“I’ve worn it virtually everywhere I’ve ever been since then. It’s witnessed all the tournaments that I’ve won, all the honours that I’ve had around the world.

“It’s been to a lot of special places. I never owned a watch before this watch. I have other watches, I’ve had a lot of other watches, but this is the only one I ever wear.”

Watch website Hodinkee has previously described it as “among the top three most important watches in sports – ever.”


Whilst reaching seven figures, Nicklaus’ timepiece still fell some way short of matching the record for the most expensive watch ever sold at auction.

A 1932 Patek Phillippe pocket watch fetched an eye-watering $31MILLION when it went under the hammer earlier this year, eclipsing the previous record ($17.7m) set in 2017 by a Rolex Daytona once owned by Hollywood icon Paul Newman.

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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