11 Ways to Spend New Year’s Eve When You’re Alone

Spending New Year's Eve alone? You're not alone in that—and you can still have plenty of fun.
Spending New Year’s Eve alone? You’re not alone in that—and you can still have plenty of fun.

What to Do When Alone on New Year’s Eve

The end of the year is here, and you want to do something fun to celebrate, but none of your friends is available. What are you going to do?

Don’t start stressing just yet. Bringing in the new year on your own doesn’t have to be a depressing alternative. There are tons of things that you can do solo that will still leave a smile on your face.

The list below highlights just some of the options available to you if your friends can’t make it out with you. Figure out which one matches your personality and give it a try. You can even roll a few of the suggestions together to bring some variety to your night. Before you know it, the clock will be hitting midnight, and you won’t want to stop what you’re doing.

11 Ideas for Celebrating New Year’s Eve on Your Own

  1. Go Out on the Town Anyway
  2. Have a Movie/Television Series Marathon
  3. Redecorate Your Living Space
  4. Write Letters to Your Friends and Family
  5. Set Goals for the Upcoming Year
  6. Travel to a Special Destination
  7. Play Your Favorite Video Games
  8. Start Reading a Good Book
  9. Work on an Arts and Crafts Project
  10. Host a Hangout With Other Friends
  11. Give Thanks and Go to Bed Early
Get dressed up and go out anyway, and maybe you'll start off the new year by making some new friends.
Get dressed up and go out anyway, and maybe you’ll start off the new year by making some new friends.Carol VanHook, CC BY, via flickr

1. Go Out on the Town Anyway

So you’re home alone on New Year’s Eve. Who says you can’t get dressed up and go out anyway? Bars, clubs, and other venues will still be packed with people ready to party the night away.

Sure, it’s always fun to have your closest friends around for nights like these, but the likelihood of running into someone you know is still pretty high. Even if you don’t, you may just start off the new year by meeting a new group of friends.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you head out:

  1. Make sure you’ve arranged for a safe trip to and from the party. Free cabs and shuttle buses are usually readily available.
  2. Have fun, but be cautious. Your friends are usually the people who watch out for you on nights like these. Make sure you are extra careful with strangers if you don’t have someone to watch your back.
  3. Try sticking with familiar venues. This may increase the chance that you run into someone that you know during the night.
Midnight may pass by quickly if you get really involved in your movie or TV marathon.
Midnight may pass by quickly if you get really involved in your movie or TV marathon.Forsaken Fotos, CC BY, via flickr

2. Have a Movie/Television Series Marathon

If you do decide to stay home, not much beats relaxing on the couch and watching television. New Year’s Eve can be the perfect time to catch up on television episodes you missed during the year or movies that you don’t mind watching over and over again.

As a matter of fact, between your personal DVD collection, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, it shouldn’t be difficult to create your own television marathon. You may get so involved watching a movie that you completely forget the ball dropped at midnight!

Before creating your own movie marathon, consider the following tips:

  1. Come up with an entertaining theme.This can range from Star Wars night to a Lord of the Rings showcase. If you like horror movies, come up with a list of the scariest ones you haven’t seen yet. If TV shows are your thing, watch your favorite episodes from your favorite show (“The Walking Dead,” “The Wire,” etc.).
  2. Come up with creative snack foods to eat during the marathon and in between shows. If you don’t feel like cooking, call ahead to your favorite restaurant and see if they offer any sort of party platter.
New Year's Eve is the perfect time to beautify your home.
New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to beautify your home.Matthew Hutchinson, CC BY, via flickr

3. Redecorate Your Living Space

Have you been meaning to reorganize your house for the whole year? Maybe it just looks like a war zone inside. No matter the reason, New Year’s Eve presents the perfect time to get your home looking beautiful again.

Your renovation project can be as large or small as you want it to be. It can be as simple as sorting/recycling a stash of old magazines or hanging new photos throughout the house. You can even use the time to trim down on some of the old clothes hanging inside your closet. The list of DIY activities available to you is endless!

Should you choose to put your home first, here are a few ideas that may help you:

  1. Focus on a specific room or area within your house. Trying to take on your whole living area at one time can be intimidating, and it may end up leaving you feeling defeated at the end of the night.
  2. If your projects involve moving furniture, make sure you use furniture sliders. You can even make your own by cutting small squares made out of cardboard. Just slide them under the corners of your furniture, and you can move them around without needing another person’s help.
Everyone loves getting snail mail—why not send an annual update to your friends and family?
Everyone loves getting snail mail—why not send an annual update to your friends and family?gajman, CC BY, via flickr

4. Write Letters to Your Friends and Family

The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on what you have done and share your accomplishments with your friends. Rather than meeting up with them for drinks or sitting in front of Facebook all night, try breaking out a pen and paper and writing them an actual letter.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some ideas:

  1. Use the time to come up with an annual update. Let your friends know about everything that happened every month throughout the year and what you plan to do in the upcoming year as well. If you have a chance, include some photos of yourself that your friends can put up in their homes.
  2. If a handwritten update seems daunting, send a short email instead.Everyone loves getting real snail mail that isn’t related to bills, but if you can’t handle writing your update, then at least take a few moments to email your closest friends and family. It can keep open the lines of communication and possibly help you start planning for next year’s New Year’s Eve activities!
Create a plan for accomplishing your goals, and make your New Year's resolution stick this year.
Create a plan for accomplishing your goals, and make your New Year’s resolution stick this year.vanhookc, CC-BY 2.0, from flickr

5. Set Goals for the Upcoming Year

New Year’s is the time of making resolutions. While some people hate the thought of making them, others see the beginning of the year as the perfect time to start working on a new goal.

One of the things that people remember the most about resolutions is how often they fail. Many times, this is due to a lack of good planning. Why not use New Year’s Eve as a time to set up your goals and make plans to accomplish them?

A few things to remember about making goals for the new year:

  1. Be realistic. It’s OK to think big, but think of all the little goals that lead up to the big one. Not only will you be more likely to accomplish the small goals, but you’ll also be motivated by your success.
  2. Consider your support system. Don’t just focus on your goals. Think about the people that are going to help you get there. Everyone has days that they don’t feel motivated. Often, these lead to people giving up on their resolutions completely. Figure out who your personal cheerleaders are so they can give you that extra boost of energy on those days.

6. Travel to a Special Destination

Have you been waiting all year to take a vacation? Has Vegas been on your mind for a while? Disney World, maybe? Possibly even the Caribbean? Instead of waiting for friends or family, just go for it!

  • Pros: It may actually be easier on you financially to just pack up and go by yourself. Rather than having to book multiple airline tickets and larger hotel rooms, you can just set out on your own personal adventure.
  • Cons: The most difficult part about this option is waiting too late to schedule your trip. Most people don’t plan on being alone in advance. Luckily, there are a ton of travel sites out there, and even the major airlines offer package deals that may still be available at the last minute.
Immerse yourself in your favorite video game, but don't forget to take a midnight break.
Immerse yourself in your favorite video game, but don’t forget to take a midnight break.Jase Curtis, CC BY, via flickr

7. Play Your Favorite Video Games

Let’s face it: Playing video games is an acceptable way of life. Kids play them. Adults play them. Even some grandparents are out there playing them. Whether it’s on the Xbox, PlayStation, personal computer, or even the smartphone, people are out playing games somewhere.

  • At first glance, it may seem antisocial to stay in and play video games, but it doesn’t have to be. Many games offer multiplayer options in which you can connect with other players from around the world. Just be sure to take frequent game breaks, especially at midnight.
  • Even if you decide not to play with/against other players, there are quite a few games on the market that offer single-player campaigns that can keep you busy for the whole night.
Find a cozy corner and settle in with a good book.
Find a cozy corner and settle in with a good book.Michael Pardo, CC BY, via flickr

8. Start Reading a Good Book

Not long ago, there was a statistic circulating that the percentage of college students that never read another book after graduating was 42%. While the number seems high, it isn’t totally shocking. It seems that lack of free time and the availability of information over the Internet have finally caused people to put down their books and forget to pick them up again.

With that being said, a quiet New Year’s Eve at home is the perfect time to dive into that book you’ve been meaning to read all year:

  1. Get comfortable. Find yourself a cozy corner of the house, break out a warm blanket, and maybe even throw on some subtle background music.
  2. Try out a recommended book. If you’re not sure what to read, check out some of the latest books on the New York Times Best Sellers list or some of the great classics listed on the Greatest Books.

By the time New Year’s Day comes around, you may be ready to make reading a permanent part of your life again!

Create some artwork to admire all year long.
Create some artwork to admire all year long.See-ming Lee, CC BY-SA, via flickr

9. Work on an Arts and Crafts Project

For those people with a creative side who don’t like being idle, an arts and crafts project might be the best way to spend the evening.

Start out by looking around your home and finding a spot that could use some extra character. Then set out to find a project that will turn heads the next time you have company. It could be a new charcoal drawing, a refinished piece of old furniture, or newly painted pieces of pottery. No matter what you decide, take the time to put your own flair into it.

If you need ideas, here are a few ways to get inspired:

  • Try checking out a few craft books from your local library.
  • Browse through Pinterest to see what other people have made.
  • Take a walk through a craft store such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby.

It won’t take long for you to find something to do, and you can show it off for years to come.

Be "alone" together with a virtual hangout.
Be “alone” together with a virtual hangout.Craig Shipp, CC BY-SA, via flickr

10. Host a Hangout With Other Friends

So you decided to stay in for the night, but it’s a definite possibility that some of your friends made the same choice. If so, break out your laptop, tablets, or other devices and have a New Year’s Eve Google Plus Hangout party.

Google Hangouts allows you to connect with your friends and family through video calls over the Internet (similar to Skype). You could get your whole crew together and celebrate without even being in the same house.

While it may not be the same as going out to your local bar or club, you could make it as crazy as you want it to be—the sky is the limit! Fun ideas include the following:

  • Share stories about the past year.
  • Play drinking games.
  • Listen to music.
  • Watch the same movie.
Starting off the new year with a full night of sleep is a great way to take care of yourself.
Starting off the new year with a full night of sleep is a great way to take care of yourself.Martin Cathrae, CC BY-SA, via flickr

11. Give Thanks and Go to Bed Early

The easiest option on the list may actually be the most appealing one. After a year full of running around, maybe you just want to wind down and get a full night’s rest.

Make the most of your restful evening with these tips:

  1. Relax. Prior to calling it a night, you could enjoy a glass of wine, a nice relaxing bath, and some soothing music. Find your favorite ways to pamper yourself before climbing into bed.
  2. Reflect. Before you fall asleep, take a moment to reflect on the past year, and then get ready to tackle a new one the next morning.

However you choose to spend your New Year’s Eve, don’t let being alone prevent you from enjoying it.

Happy New Year!

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Sleep Deprivation Can Be a Weapon in the Hands of an Abusive Partner

Unlike other types of physical abuse, sleep deprivation doesn’t leave a mark.

Alice’s former husband often woke her up by slamming his hand down on the bed. He would keep her awake “until the wee hours of the morning,” she recalled. Sometimes, it didn’t matter who went to bed first; he would still find reasons to wake her in the middle of the night. “It could be because I was snoring. It could be because he [had woken up] and I was asleep and if he couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t sleep. [Or] he’d had a dream and I’d done something in his dream and therefore he was really upset with me.”

Nights were terrifying, she said, though she often felt it was safer to go to sleep after her husband. “It became a really big deal for me,” she said. “If I was to fall asleep before he did, that’s usually when something would get out of hand.”

It’s been 10 years since Alice left her husband, but she remembers those experiences like they happened yesterday. To process her experience and help others understand the complexity of domestic violence, Alice (whose last name we’ve withheld to protect her children’s privacy) started a personal blog. One of her most viewed posts was the one published in 2012 detailing how her partner intentionally deprived her of sleep.

sleep deprivation panic attacks alone young single sad fear stress depressed

Victims of domestic violence often have trouble sleeping. But when a person intentionally weaponizes sleep deprivation—including not allowing their partner to go to bed, interrupting their sleep or punishing them for sleeping—experts say it becomes a form of physical abuse and torture, one that often goes unnoticed to the outside world. “I don’t know that anybody really would have told me it was abuse [back then],” Alice said. “I had a very good therapist at that time who pointed out that that wasn’t okay, but we didn’t spend a lot of time on it either.”

Everyone needs sleep; it is a basic biological function that is critical for our health. And it’s only now that we’re realizing how powerful, and devastating, sleep deprivation can be.

A 2007 exploratory study in the journal Violence Against Women offered a glimpse into how sleep loss leaves survivors feeling vulnerable to violence. Researchers interviewed 17 women whose sleep was disturbed by an abusive partner; all reported adjusting their sleeping patterns to minimize the daily threat of violence they faced. Some said they were afraid to sleep “too deeply” and others said they avoided sleep altogether when their partner was home.

Stressed Asian young man sitting alone on bed. Bad relationship or bankrupt problem and sickness concept.

“You would pretend to be asleep, then you would have to pretend to wake up. Either way it would be better to be awake, trying to figure out what he wanted or what he was going to do next,” one woman said.

As the study’s authors write, these narratives “bring into sharp relief the connection between sleep deprivation and the establishment of a regime of power and control by one person over another—the hallmark of domestic violence.”

In a follow-up study, researchers determined: “Sleep deprivation was clearly a direct strategy of abuse used by perpetrators. It also indirectly undermined the mental and physical resilience of women.”

Unlike other types of physical abuse, sleep deprivation doesn’t leave a mark. “Unfortunately, I think the only thing that society recognizes as abuse is a black eye,” said Heather Frederick, a spokesperson for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “A lot of people who are experiencing sleep deprivation as a part of abuse understand this isn’t healthy, it’s not sustainable…but they may not make the connection that it’s about their partner trying to control them or trying to strong-arm them or have power over them.”

"Sleep deprivation was clearly a direct strategy of abuse used by perpetrators."

At her organization, Frederick said sleep deprivation is classified as a form of physical abuse, though it easily falls under emotional abuse as well. Similar to stopping someone from taking medication they need, interrupting someone’s sleep has a significant impact on their bodies and minds.

Victims of sleep deprivation often experience drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, and eventually disorientation, hallucinations, and paranoia. Chronic sleep loss can lead to serious health problems, including risk of high blood pressure, depression, and heart attack.

According to data gathered by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, four in 10 women and four in 10 men have experienced at least one form of coercive control (which includes any behavior a person uses to dominate their significant other) in their lifetime. One example where sleep is a vehicle for manipulation, Frederick said, occurs in the context of a long-distance relationship: A partner may require the other person to videochat with them to prove that they’re home alone or ask them to leave their phone on their pillow all night to listen to them sleep.

In Alice’s case, her partner even justified the sleep deprivation with one of the messages in the sermon given during their wedding, which had to do with married couples never letting the sun go down on their anger. “He used that against me for a long time,” she said, referring to her former husband. If she begged for sleep, he accused her of loving sleep more than she loved him.

In these scenarios, abusers usually aren’t trying to reach any kind of compromise, Frederick explained. “Their goal is to wear their victim out so that they cave in and give in to whatever it is the abusive partner is wanting to happen or whatever they’re looking for.”

As recently as 2014, the United Nations’ committee against torture called on the United States to end its practice of using sleep deprivation on detainees, calling it “a form of ill-treatment.”

In 2016, Tania Tetlow, then a law professor at Tulane University and now president of Loyola University New Orleans, made a compelling argument for states to pass laws “banning torture by private actors” as well, primarily as a better way to address domestic violence. She included sleep deprivation among the techniques that should be outlawed.

Young person woman sad, stress and loneliness sitting in dark room, Unhappy and crying teenage girl from domestic violence, An adult female expresses feelings of despair, anxiety from harassment.

Imposing sleep deprivation on someone isn’t a crime in and of itself, Tetlow said in an interview, but that’s why the analogy of torture and domestic violence works. Domestic violence generally is a pattern crime, similar to stalking. “Any one act in isolation will not seem that egregious. It is the context of the pattern of behaviors and the intent of those behaviors and their cumulative impact that really makes it terrible.”

Tetlow acknowledged that sleep deprivation is one of those abusive tactics that may not seem like that big of a deal on its own. But it is an effective way to render somebody unable to function and make good judgments. “The biggest risk of lethality with domestic violence is not measured by the level of violence; it’s about the level of control,” she said. “That is a bigger indicator of the chance that someone will murder their victim.”

As an example, Tetlow pointed to one 2010 case in Louisiana: Jennifer Muse, 31, was shot and killed by her 78-year-old husband. Two days earlier, he’d been acquitted of domestic violence battery, a charge stemming from a fight in the middle of the night when she was upset that he woke her. According to Muse’s testimony, he did so often.

Stop violence against women, Woman covering her face in fear of domestic violence, Dark tone

Repositioning domestic violence in the law as torture—a legal argument that’s yet to gain any traction—would send both abusers and the people they hurt a powerful message, Tetlow said: “Describing domestic violence as torture focuses the criminal justice system and the public on the defendant’s clear premeditation and culpability. We see batterers as merely angry, whereas we acknowledge torturers as cruel.”

For Alice, the survivor who left her partner over a decade ago, the long-term pain caused by the abuse continues to disrupt her life. She still has trouble going to bed at times. “I do feel like I’ve come a long way. I’m in a much different spot than I was then, but I still have my triggers. I still have things that can upset me quite a bit.”

By Kimberly Lawson

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Russian missiles struck NATO ally Poland

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This photograph taken on October 7, 2022 shows a Russian rocket sticks out a ground near the village of Ukrainka in a part of Southern Ukraine.
This photograph taken on October 7, 2022 shows a Russian rocket sticks out a ground near the village of Ukrainka in a part of Southern Ukraine.
Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images
  • Two people were reportedly killed after Russian missiles landed in an eastern Polish village.
  • Poland is a member of NATO, which operates under the principle of collective defense.
  • It’s not clear how Poland or NATO will respond.
⚠️ MEDIA FILE ON IT’S WAY ⚠️

Two people were killed after Russian missiles landed in an eastern Polish village on Tuesday, a US intelligence official told the Associated Press. The incident seemingly marks the first time that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war has spilled across Ukraine’s borders and into the territory of a NATO member.

The missiles landed in the village of Przewodów, which is located in eastern Poland a short distance from Ukraine’s western border, and reportedly came amid a barrage of over 90 Russian missiles that targeted Ukraine’s infrastructure. 

A Polish government official said the country’s prime minister called an emergency defense committee meeting. Russia denied reports that its weapons landed in Poland, with its state-run TASSnews agency calling reports they had “a deliberate provocation.”

A spokesperson for Poland’s Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement that a “Russian-made missile fell” into the region and that an ambassador for the Russian Federation has been asked to provide an immediate explanation.

The damage shifts attention onto the NATO alliance, which has repeatedly warned it will defend the territory of its allies from Russia. Poland is a member of the NATO, which operates under the principle of collective defense — enshrined in Article 5 of the alliance’s founding treaty. Under this agreement, an attack against one NATO country is considered an attack against the entire military alliance. But Article 5 has only been invoked once in NATO’s history, following the terror attacks against the US on September 11, 2001. 

Article 5 states that NATO members will assist the attacked party or parties by “taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”

It’s unclear what caused the Russian projectiles to land in Poland, which could have a major bearing on how the alliance reacts. 

The US and its Western allies have warned Russia repeatedly that an attack on NATO territory would trigger a strong response.

“We have a sacred obligation under Article 5 to defend each and every inch of NATO territory with the full force of our collective power,” President Joe Biden said in March. 

Adrienne Watson, the White House National Security Council spokesperson, said Tuesday afternoon that “we’ve seen these reports out of Poland and are working with the Polish government to gather more information. We cannot confirm the reports or any of the details at this time. We will determine what happened and what the appropriate next steps would be.”

Echoing these comments, Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said during a press briefingthat the US is “aware of the press reports alleging that two Russian missiles have struck a location inside Poland near the Ukraine border. I can tell you that we don’t have any information at this time to corroborate those reports and are looking into this further.” 

Sen. Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters he did not think the apparent strike was intentional.

“I have to believe that it was a mistake by Russia,” he said, per The Washington Post’s Liz Goodwin. “And I think if it is, Russia should come out very quickly and say that.”

Poland’s foreign affairs ministry and NATO did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider. The Russian government also did not respond to an inquiry.

The incident immediately triggered remarks from top officials in neighboring countries. 

“My condolences to our Polish brothers in arms. Criminal Russian regime fired missiles which target not only Ukrainian civilians but also landed on NATO territory in Poland. Latvia fully stands with Polish friends and condemns this crime,” Latvia’s defense minister said on Twitter.

A spokesperson for the Hungarian government said that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán would also convene a meeting of the country’s defense council in response to “the missile hitting territory of Poland.”

The incident comes as Russia fired a barrage of missiles across Ukraine on Tuesday, leaving half the population of Kyiv without power. 

Translations by Oleksandr Vynogradov.



Reactions from r/worldnews on Reddit:

Mod: ‘dieyoufool3’

Pinning this comment from the Live thread to assuage people’s worry around article 5 being invoked in light of the 2 killed in the Polish border town.

This is NOT the start of WW3, folks. Calm. However, Poland has a lot of options to make things incredibly unpleasant for Russia without kicking off WW3.

The situation is still developing and I will update this comment as confirmed information comes in.

The current most credible theory is:

US official have told POLITICO it was likely caused by a missile strike or errant missile, not remnants of a missile Ukrainian armed forces shot down. Source

Polish Foreign Ministry confirm a Russian-made rocket fell on the territory. Source

Russia missiles did hit electrical infrastructure near Kovel, Ukraine, 50kms (31 miles) from the Polish border. Source

Ukraine confirmed earlier today 73 missiles (out of ~100) and 11 drones were shot down. Source

A quick refresh on NATO bylaws:

Article 5: An attack on one member of NATO is an attack on all of its members.

Article 4: The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.

Here’s everything you wanted to know about Article Four of the North Atlantic Treaty but were afraid to ask.



Update 19:00 GMT:

Poland holds urgent meeting amid reports of stray Russian missile strike.


Update 19:32 GMT:

Pentagon looking into Poland missile strike reports.

The Department of Defense Press Secretary, Brig Gen Patrick S Ryder, has said:

“We are aware of the press reporting on this. We have no information at this time to corroborate those reports but again, are taking them seriously and looking into them. And so I will make sure that we provide you with any updates as soon as we have them.”

He continues: “We’re looking into these reports – don’t have any information to corroborate them at this time. So I don’t want to speculate or get into hypotheticals. When it comes to our security commitments and Article 5, we’ve been crystal-clear that we will defend every inch of Nato territory.”


Update 19:59 GTM:

Lithuania PM” “Concerning news. Every inch of NATO territory needs to be defended.”


Update 20:07 GMT:

Russia denies any involvement in ‘missile strike on Poland’.

Russia has denied statements from Polish media outlets and officials that Russian missiles fell on the Polish village of Przewodó near the Ukrainian border.

The Russian ministry of defence posted on its Telegram, calling the reports “a deliberate provocation in order to escalate the situation.”


Update 20:20 GMT:

NATO Statement: “We are looking into these reports and coordinating with our ally Poland.”


Update 21:21 GMT:

Poland ‘raises military readiness’…

Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller has confirmed that there was an explosion that killed two Polish citizens, Reuters news agency reports

Poland is raising the readiness of its military units, he says, and “verifying if we need to activate Nato Article Four.”

That article says: “The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.”


Update 21:33 GMT:

NATO Secretary General’s Tweet: “Spoke with President Duda about the explosion in Poland. I offered my condolences for the loss of life. NATO is monitoring the situation and Allies are closely consulting. Important that all facts are established.”


Update 21:40 GMT:

US President Biden has been briefed and is speaking to Polish President Andrze Duda, officials say.

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Paul Newman-owned Rolex Daytona Heads to Auction

written by:  Simon de Burton

No watch at auction has ever created as much media hype as a scuffed up 1968 Rolex Daytona, given as a gift to Hollywood icon Paul Newman by his wife, which achieved a world record price of $17.75 million in 2017.

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Arguably, that sale also triggered the frenzy of demand for Rolex watches that has transformed the entire watch market ever since.

With power like that, it is little wonder that a second Rolex Daytona, once owned by Paul Newman, is likely to set the auction world alight when the watch goes across the block at Sotheby’s in December.

Unlike the $17m Daytona, the Rolex in question is not one that Mr Newman is known to have worn regularly, and was given away as a gift to a fellow racing enthusiast, Hollywood daredevil and stuntman who doubled for the actor in several movies, leading to them becoming close friends.Stan Barrett with Paul Newman enjoy stock car racing together.

Stan Barrett with Paul Newman enjoy stock car racing together.
Stan Barrett with Paul Newman enjoy stock car racing together.

The daredevil in question is Stan Barrett, whose adrenaline-seeking led him to attempt to become the first person to break the speed of sound on land in 1979, travelling at more than 700 mph in the Budweiser Rocket Car.

WATCHPRO columnist Simon de Burton picks up the story of Mr Newman and his double Mr Barrett, and finds out why a pair of steel Rolex watches worn during the Rocket Car attempt could realize more than $600,000 when they cross the block at Sotheby’s in December.

During the final run at Edwards Air Force Base in California on 17 December 1979, Stan Barrett wore the Cosmograph Daytona and GMT-Master.Stan Barrett wearing both the Rolex and GMT Master on one wrist. (picture courtesy Courtesy of Stan Barrett and RolexMagazine.com)

Stan Barrett wearing both the Rolex and GMT Master on one wrist. (picture courtesy Courtesy of Stan Barrett and RolexMagazine.com)
Stan Barrett wearing both the Rolex and GMT Master on one wrist. (picture courtesy Courtesy of Stan Barrett and RolexMagazine.com)

Afterwards, he was presented with a gold GMT-Master by August Busch, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, the main sponsor of the Budweiser Rocket Car and ‘Project Speed of Sound’.

That watch will also be auctioned and could realize $100,000, with a percentage of the money from the sale of all three pieces going to a Ukraine children’s charity that Mr Barrett has supported since 1987.This golden Rolex Reference 1675 GMT-Master was given to Stan Barrett by August Busch, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, the main sponsor of the Budweiser Rocket Car.

But the estimates for the two steel watches could prove conservative – because both were given to Mr Barrett by Hollywood idol Paul Newman, his best friend of 40 years and the godfather to his sons: NASCAR racing driver Stanton and television producer David.

This golden Rolex Reference 1675 GMT-Master was given to Stan Barrett by August Busch, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, the main sponsor of the Budweiser Rocket Car.
This golden Rolex Reference 1675 GMT-Master was given to Stan Barrett by August Busch, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, the main sponsor of the Budweiser Rocket Car.

As is well known, a Rolex Daytona gifted to Mr Newman by wife Joanne Woodward remains the most expensive wrist watch ever auctioned following its sale for $17.7m at Phillips New York five years ago. As a result, any Rolex with a connection to the Hollywood legend is now deemed ultra-valuable – and the latest two to come to market should be no exception.

Although 18 years Mr Newman’s junior, Mr Barrett formed a close relationship with the star after working as his main stuntman on numerous films, starting with Sometimes a Great Notion in 1971. Barrett was particularly well suited to the job due to his remarkable resemblance to Newman.This Rolex Reference 1675 GMT-Master Pepsi was on Stan Barrett’s wrist during the Rocket Car attempt.

This Rolex Reference 1675 GMT-Master Pepsi was on Stan Barrett’s wrist during the Rocket Car attempt.
This Rolex Reference 1675 GMT-Master Pepsi was on Stan Barrett’s wrist during the Rocket Car attempt.

Speaking by telephone from his Bellevue, Idaho, home in an exclusive interview for WATCHPRO, Mr Barrett said that Mr Newman had given him the Daytona watch immediately on hearing about the proposed record attempt. “We were at his home in Connecticut and he just went upstairs and came down with the Daytona. He could be very funny about me having the right watch to wear, and was always extremely generous.

“About four years earlier, after he had given me the GMT-Master, I bought the same model for my father – but it got stolen. The next thing we know, my father receives a replacement from Paul in the mail.”

Insatiable horophile Mr Newman gifted several watches to Mr Barrett throughout the friendship, including a Breitling Navitimer. “That time I had arrived at his house without a watch on,” recalls Mr Barrett. “Again, he went upstairs, and came down with this Breitling – and when he handed it over to me he said ‘Stan, be careful where you wear it. It was a present from Bruce Willis’.”

But it is the Rolex GMT-Master and Cosmograph Daytona now up for sale that are more interesting – not least since the former is tipped to realize $50,000-100,000, while the latter could achieve as much as $500,000.Stan Barrett wore this Rolex Reference 6262 Stan Barrett’s Rolex Daytona is expected to sell for up to $500,000.

Stan Barrett wore this Rolex Reference 6262 Stan Barrett’s Rolex Daytona is expected to sell for up to $500,000.
Stan Barrett wore this Rolex Reference 6262 Stan Barrett’s Rolex Daytona is expected to sell for up to $500,000.

While Mr Newman was photographed trying the Budweiser Rocket Car for size during practice sessions at Bonneville Salt Flats earlier in the year, he refused to watch the run proper.

“Paul called me after the Bonneville runs – during one of which the car’s canopy blew off at 600 mph – and he said ‘Stan, look, I want to support you, but everyone says you aren’t going to make it. And I don’t want to watch you die’,” recalls Mr Barrett.

To keep Mr Newman by his side in spirit, Mr Barrett strapped both gifted watches to his left wrist – and that is where they remained while he drove the rocket car to an unofficial 739.66 mph; a speed that, if accurate, would have made him the first person to break the sound barrier on land.The Budweiser Rocket Car unofficially broke the world land speed record. (Picture courtesy of Department of Defense photo by MSGT Paul J. Harrington)

The Budweiser Rocket Car unofficially broke the world land speed record. (Picture courtesy of Department of Defense photo by MSGT Paul J. Harrington)
The Budweiser Rocket Car unofficially broke the world land speed record. (Picture courtesy of Department of Defense photo by MSGT Paul J. Harrington)

But the record remains disputed due to the radar scanner being faulty, the fact that Mr Barrett only completed one run and because no one heard the tell-tale sonic boom that usually accompanies the sound barrier being broken.

All the same, no one else came close to the 700 mph mark for another 18 years until Andy Green drove Thrust SSC to 713.990 mph at Black Rock desert in September 1997, and then to 760.343 mph the following month.

Sotheby’s watch specialist Jonathon Burford says the watches relating to the Budweiser Rocket Car run will appeal to a wide range of collectors.

“They are not simply watches, but a part of American history the like of which won’t be seen again,” he told WATCHPRO. “All three were part of a moment in time that epitomizes a spirit of adventure that was so prevalent in America during the 1970s – and they will appeal to everyone from watch purists to motorsport fans and Hollywood memorabilia collectors.

“We have estimated them at what we believe to be realistic levels, but we do believe they are sufficiently significant to attract very strong bidding,” he added.

Mr Barrett says he wore the two steel watches regularly and often for more than 30 years, as did his son, Stanton – until they saw the huge price realised by ‘Newman’s own’ Daytona back in 2017.

“When I saw how much that one sold for I decided that maybe it wasn’t such a smart idea for us to keep wearing the watches that Paul had given me,” he said.

“I’ll be very sad to see them go, but it feels like the right thing to do. I’ll probably give around 30 per cent to the charity Slavic Gospel that I have worked with for the past 35 years and use the rest to pay-off my property loan”.

And unless Mr Barrett has a very large loan, we suspect there might be some left-over.


The sale of the Stan Barrett/Paul Newman Rolex watches will take place at Sotheby’s, York Avenue, New York on 6 December 2022. More details available soon at sothebys.com.
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