Next Tuesday, Jack Nicklaus’ famous 18K yellow gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 – which he wore daily throughout his career – is being auctioned by Phillips Watches.

The Game Changers auction will take place at the company’s US headquarters (on December 10, 2019) headlined by the Nicklaus Day-Date and the Marlon Brando Rolex GMT from Apocalypse Now, accompanied by 73 other timepiece lots. As you may have read previously, all of the Jack Nicklaus Rolex Day-Date proceeds will go to benefit Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation Children’s Hospitals, minus a small portion of the buyer’s premium which covers administrative costs.

Jack Nicklaus 1967 Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 flat angled
Jack Nicklaus 1967 Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 flat angled

Manufactured in 1967, the Nicklaus Yello Gold Rolex Day-Date features a 36 mm diameter solid 18K yellow gold case, a box-type domed plexiglass crystal, a “President” bracelet, a rare champagne-colored “pie-pan” style dial, and tapered and faceted baton hour markers that are shaped like golf tees. Driving the hours, minutes, central seconds, day, and date on this so-called Presidential Rolex (The Day-Date) is Rolex 26-jewel automatic caliber 1555 (movement number DD7172). The case number is 1’608’186, and the Ref. 1803 is stamped inside the caseback with “1800.” The solid gold presidential bracelet with a hidden deployant features an embossed Rolex crown emblem and is stamped 8385. This lot is accompanied by a Rolex green leather presentation box and outer packaging.

Jack Nicklaus 1967 Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 clasp
Jack Nicklaus 1967 Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 clasp

Jack Nicklaus, known as the “Golden Bear” was presented with this Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 in yellow gold, a watch he picked out while attending Canada Cup in Tokyo in 1966, from a choice of Rolexes during a cocktail he attended with Gary Player and Arnold Palmer.

Jack Nicklaus 1967 Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 dial close-up
Jack Nicklaus 1967 Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 dial close-up

“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,” Jack Nicklaus said.

Jack Nicklaus 1967 Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 laying on side
Jack Nicklaus 1967 Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 laying on side

Nicklaus had 120 professional wins worldwide, 73 PGA TOUR victories, 18 of which were major championship titles, and a Grand Slam. His name and reputation alone would make any watch he wore or owned worth a lot of money. But the fact that of the numerous watches he received over the years, this is the first, and the one that he wore almost every day for over 50 years, means the price it will command this coming December, will likely break records as he did throughout his epic professional golf career.

Jack Nicklaus 1967 Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803
Jack Nicklaus 1967 Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803

“It has accompanied me at U.S. 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 parting with it 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 4-foot putt I made to win a golf 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. I also want to thank Phillips for contributing its profits to this great cause.”

Jack Nicklaus 1967 Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 crystal
Jack Nicklaus 1967 Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 with box-type plexiglass crystal

Phillips Game Changers auction, Lot 18, has a stated estimate of $100,000 to $200,000, although it could reach the seven-figure range due to its provenance. Learn more at Phillips.

Jack Nicklaus 1967 Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 crown
Jack Nicklaus 1967 Yellow Gold Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 crown
Jason Pitsch
Posted by:Jason Pitsch

Editor, writer, and photographer. View his archive here.