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A Follow Up: Paul Newman’s Waltham/Blancpain Bathyscaphe Diver

by Nick Gould on August 23, 2016

You may remember we previously published an article on a possible Rolex dive watch on the wrist of Paul Newman. We did some further research and obtained a bigger image taken from the set of the movie Harper, in which Paul Newman starred as the main character.  The watch in question wasn’t a Rolex or a Tudor but a timepiece from a USA brand made by a well known French company!

The bigger image allowed us to zoom in further to spot any recognizable logos or features of the timepiece.  We were able to spot a splash of red in the shape of a W on top of a single line of text which confirmed the maker of the watch. Waltham!  The Waltham Watch Company also known as the American Waltham Watch Co. and the American Watch Co produced pocketwatches, wristwatches and other precision instruments from 1850 to 1957.    In 1954 they set up a subsidiary in Swizterland, Waltham International SA Switzerland.  Waltham International SA Switzerland still manufacturers ttimepieces under the Waltham name today, but they are completely different from their historical ancestors.

The watch on the wrist of Paul Newman is a Waltham dive watch.  These were produced from the 1950’s to the 1960s.   They were actually made by Blancpain but contained dials that had the signature red W and the name Waltham printed below it.  We had a feeling previously the watch could have been a Blancpain because of its bezel and it turned out to be an accurate guess.  Was this a personal watch of Paul Newman?  We think there is a high likelihood it was, as he went through many watches before he got given his iconic Rolex Daytona Ref 6239 by his wife Joanne Woodward.  In the film Harper, Paul Newman’s character was a private detective and perhaps he thought the watch was a good fit for the character.

Paul Newman Waltham. Picture (C) CHRISTOPHEL / RnB © Warner Bros

Paul Newman wearing a Waltham Dive Watch while playing the title character Lew Harper in the film Harper. Picture Licensed from Alamy (C) CHRISTOPHEL / RnB © Warner Bros

Closeup of the watch on his wrist.  You can make out the red “W” on the dial.

PN Closeup

Closeup of the watch on Paul Newmans wrist. You can make out the red W and the line of text below it.

A vintage Waltham/Blancpain-Bathyscaphe Diver like the one on Paul Newmans wrist.

IMG_8199-Edit - Copy

A vintage Waltham/Blancpain-Bathyscaphe Diver, with the same configuration as the one on Paul Newman’s wrist. Note the Blancpain bezel of 15, 30 and 40 minutes marked out. Picture (C) mentawatches.com

It didn’t turn out to be a Rolex or a Tudor tool watch, but we think its still pretty cool that Paul Newman once owned a dive watch with some pedigree.

NewmanWaltham

Paul Newman relaxing on the set of Harper with the Waltham/Blancpain on the wrist.

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