A Love for All Time: Stories Behind Two of the Most Famous Romantically Gifted Watches.
The One with the Mystery
“Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”
The year was 1962 and the then 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was being honored by politicians and celebrities alike at a Democratic fundraiser which also served as a celebration of his 45th birthday. Technically, Kennedy’s birthday was not until May 29th, ten days after the party that was being given in his honor which was held on May 19th of that year, but no one really cared that night, because all anyone could talk about…
Marilyn Monroe was a mere 36 years of age when she stepped up to the microphone at the Democratic Fundraiser at Madison Square Garden, yet she had already lived an incredible life. She had just gone through a divorce with playwright Arthur Miller after five years of marriage and had been dealing with mental health issues that lead to a prolonged stay in the hospital. But things had started looking up again for the well-known actress, and the opportunity to make history at this event was something she likely would not have refused.
It is rumored that JFK and Marilyn Monroe had a short-lived intimate affair just a couple of months prior to her performance at Madison Square Garden. What is also rumored is that on that very same night of her sultry televised performance, Monroe presented President Kennedy with a gift: an engraved 18K yellow gold Rolex Day-Date with the inscription reading as follows: “Jack, with love as always, from, Marilyn, May 29th, 1962.”
Sadly, just over two months after she made waves with her rendition of “Happy Birthday” to the most popular president the United States had seen in ages, Marilyn Monroe passed away, and just 15 months later, President Kennedy was assassinated, leaving the rumors of their affair and the watch that allegedly came out of it to be just that… rumors. At least, for the time being. Kennedy, prior to his death but post receiving the timepiece instructed his aid to get rid of the watch and the note which accompanied it. Somehow, the watch managed to disappear for nearly four decades before selling to an anonymous buyer for $120,000.00 in 2005.
Allegedly, the case contained a note and a poem written on a small piece of paper that began with the words: "A Heartfelt Plea on Your Birthday."
The One with the History
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward first met as actors in 1953. Newman, at the time, was married, and while there was a spark between the two, it wasn’t until they were cast together in the movie The Long, Hot Summer in 1957 that that initial spark turned into a full-on bonfire; one that would last through fifty years of marriage and produce not only three children (Nell, Melissa, and Clea) but also be responsible for one of the most sought-after watches the world would ever see (as well as one of the most expensive watches ever to be sold at auction).
Woodward presented Newman with the now infamous Rolex Daytona in 1969 after he started racing cars on a semi-professional level. The two were madly in love with one another according to those closest to the couple, and the inscription on the back of the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph stated simply, “Drive Carefully, Me.” Woodward was concerned for the love of her life in his new career as a race car driver, and the watch was worn constantly until she purchased a new Rolex for him years later.
Newman passed in 2008, but the original “Paul Newman Daytona” gifted to him by Woodward was eventually brought to auction thanks to his daughter Nell and the former boyfriend who was gifted the watch by Paul, himself. The watch sold at Phillips for a record $17.8 million dollars, U.S.
Stories such as these remind us that true love is eternal, and that neither time nor departure will allow real love to fade.
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