The Final Information To The Rolex Daytona

The Final Information To The Rolex Daytona

Few watches have attracted a mythology like that of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. Named for a metropolis in Florida generally known as the capital of velocity, it’s arguably extra well-known than the motor racing which takes place there. In frequent with maybe solely the Submariner and the Speedmaster, it has attained a standing that even lets it drop the title of its illustrious maker.

The one standard chronograph made by Rolex for the final 54 years, its newest model all the time carries a prolonged ready record, and classic fashions have grow to be each the bedrock and the brightest stars of the public sale market.

The Historical past And Heritage Of The Rolex Daytona

Launched in 1963, the Daytona – just like the Heuer Carrera and Omega Speedmaster – was aiming to faucet into the rising recognition of motor racing (keep in mind that is lengthy earlier than the Speedmaster went into area). Rolex had produced a handful of chronographs earlier than, however they belonged to the earlier era, with skinny, elegant arms, Arabic numerals and in much less substantial circumstances. Firstly of the sixties, the sports activities chronograph was born.

And… it was a little bit of a flop. Sellers habitually supplied engaging reductions on Daytonas, and much fewer have been made than competing watches.

“We have a tendency to consider Rolex as a really targeted and decisive agency,” says James Dowling, Rolex historian, writer and collector. “This wasn’t the case within the Fifties and Nineteen Sixties, when there was typically indecision about mannequin names. The Submariner was virtually known as the Rolex Pores and skin Diver and a few watches discovered their method to the market with dials so marked; equally, the Rolex Daytona was initially deliberate to be known as the Le Mans.

“Once I purchased my first Rolex within the late Nineteen Seventies (a 1675 GMT), I enquired a couple of low cost and the salesperson responded, ‘Sorry sir, we don’t low cost Rolex, however if you’d like one of many Daytonas, I can provide you 20 per cent off’.”

All that started to alter when a sure Mr Paul Newman, a gifted racing driver in addition to Hollywood star, took to carrying one. In truth, he barely took his off.

Paul Newman made the Rolex Daytona iconicPaul Newman helped make the Rolex Daytona iconic


From the outset, the Daytona was powered by a motion sourced elsewhere – as was the norm in these days. The Valjoux 72 was a well-made and dependable hand-wound chronograph calibre, with a column wheel controller and lateral clutch. Computerized chronographs hit the watch market in 1969, however Rolex caught by the handbook Valjoux, making the occasional improve, till 1988 when it determined the time was proper to go computerized.

Rolex sourced El Primero chronograph actions from Zenith, detuning its trademark excessive frequency down to twenty-eight,800vph (and saving Zenith’s bacon with the regular enterprise that was to return). This additionally marked essentially the most important redesign of the Daytona since its inception; it gained crown guards, a thicker metal bezel, new typefaces and subdials. The Daytona’s recognition actually begins right here – the market was on the best way again after the Quartz Disaster and right this moment’s notion of a luxurious watch emerged.

In 2000 Rolex in the end launched its personal in-house chronograph motion, the calibre 4130. Aware of its fame, Rolex made positive that it boasted unbeatable specs for the rest within the sports activities chronograph sector – every day accuracy of +/-2 seconds – in addition to a 72-hour energy reserve and fewer parts than most traditional chronographs.

Why The Ready Checklist?

The Rolex Daytona in stainless-steel is considered one of only a few watches to return with an extended ready record; simply a yr or two, and that’s if the vendor is aware of you, you place your title down the day it was launched and your center title is “fortunate”.

“The phenomenon of the ready record has been constructed up over many years, and began in 1988 when Rolex fitted its Cosmograph with an computerized motion,” says Justin Koullapis, co-founder of WatchClub. “The ready record began to develop as a result of Rolex was sourcing actions from Zenith and there was a scarcity of them.”

Nowadays, it’s rigorously managed advertising and marketing, with world annual manufacturing restricted to a couple thousand. Such is its icon standing – and funding potential – that for some, the wait is value it; others will both go elsewhere or cough up considerably extra to purchase from a (non-Rolex-approved) re-seller.

“Gold and platinum Rolex Daytona fashions promote effectively, however they don’t seem to be laborious to return by,” says Koullapis. “The actual ready record is for the chrome steel fashions.”

The Cash

The Rolex Daytona in metal, with the ceramic bezel as launched in 2016 (often known as reference 116500LN), has a listing value of £9,100 and includes a white or black dial. In case you are shopping for from an permitted vendor, anticipate to place down as much as 50 per cent as a deposit.

After all, there are quite a few different flavours of Rolex Daytona: it may be had in yellow, rose or white gold, in addition to platinum, and as of Baselworld 2017, the gold fashions now come on an Oysterflex rubber strap in addition to the total weight of a gold bracelet. The platinum Cosmograph Daytona retails at £54,300 on the time of writing (formally value on request); trade charges being what they’re, Rolex has taken to rising costs not less than yearly.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona With Oysterflex BraceletRolex Cosmograph Daytona With Oysterflex BraceletRolex Cosmograph Daytona With Oysterflex BraceletRolex Cosmograph Daytona With Oysterflex BraceletThe brand new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona 2017

If you happen to enterprise into the pre-owned or classic watch market (the distinction being primarily age; “classic” being no youthful than roughly 25 years in the past) then anticipate to half with not less than £9,000 for a watch in respectable situation from a much less fascinating period (say, the early 2000s). From there on upwards, the sky is the restrict.

New mannequin 116500LNs are buying and selling for £14,000 or extra, and there actually isn’t any such factor as an undesirable Daytona from the Valjoux period, 1963-1988. An “atypical” Paul Newman goes to run north of £50,000, whereas the most effective items comfortably break six figures. At public sale, the place the creme de la creme surfaces, the report is presently held by a yellow gold Paul Newman (considered one of simply three) which bought at Phillips public sale home earlier this yr for $3.7m.

“The perfect place to begin for a collector can be the Ref:6239 Daytona non Unique dial selection,” says Paul Maudsley, UK watch director for Phillips. “This mannequin is the basic Daytona with contrasting dial variations and the look equally pretty much as good on a bracelet or strap.”

The excellent news is that – up to now – Rolex Daytonas have held their worth or appreciated considerably. Shopping for now would possibly really feel like coming in on the high of the market, and previous efficiency isn’t any indicator of future success, because the banks inform us, however consultants see no signal of costs going into reverse any time quickly. Braver consumers would possibly really feel like taking an opportunity on the hitherto inexpensive references, notably from the late Eighties and early Nineties.

Proudly owning A Rolex Daytona

How To Put on It

Let’s look forward to your Daytona possession and take pleasure in its mirrored glory. You’ll be forgiven for carrying it morning and evening, to boardroom, bed room and ballroom, however no-one needs to be a bore about it. Assuming we’re speaking the metal Daytona right here (fashion recommendation for the yellow gold and brown dial is a complete totally different ball recreation), what’s your greatest look?

You may get away with carrying it with a go well with – helped by the 40mm diameter – nevertheless it’s not a look ahead to formal events and also you’d be greatest suggested to maintain the bracelet well-fitting. Nothing good about that hanging-down-the-back-of-your-hand look.

The place the Daytona will shine is – fortunately – practically in all places else. As a Rolex Oyster on a metal bracelet it’s sufficiently bombproof to put on knocking about on the weekend, and it is going to be in its ingredient within the mainstream minefield that’s smart-casual.


Regardless of its aura of greatness, the Daytona shouldn’t be proof against put on and tear, and you’ll need to look after it like another mechanical watch. Rolex watches include an unbeatable assure, however it is best to nonetheless test it in for a service each 5 years or so. That gained’t come low cost – however by now that shouldn’t be a shock. Count on to pay round £450 for the essential service, extra if it wants work doing, and brace your self for being parted from it for a number of months if it has to go again to Switzerland.

Whereas that’s taking place, your native vendor ought to be capable of give you one thing else to put on within the meantime – assuming to procure it by means of them within the first place. The excellent news about servicing for you as a Rolex proprietor is that as of 2015 the model prolonged its guarantee from 2 to five years; for those who purchased a Daytona between 2013 and 2015 the guarantee was retrospectively elevated by a yr.

Not that it is best to anticipate a lot to go flawed with a Daytona, except you topic it to uncommon punishment. Rolex’s construct high quality is peerless, and the addition of the ceramic bezel solely makes the Daytona harder. The metal is high-grade 904L and the watch is waterproof to 100m – simply keep in mind to screw down the chronograph pushers.

How To Purchase A Rolex Daytona

We’ve already touched on shopping for a brand new Rolex Daytona – to summarise, be extraordinarily persistent and affected person. Watch out paying high greenback to skip the ready record; there’s an opportunity it may be a faux and even when it’s not, be sure to can actually belief the vendor.

On-line, don’t be afraid to ask for extra excessive decision footage, and get the serial quantity (you’ll be able to test it in opposition to registers of misplaced and stolen watches).

If you happen to’re shopping for second-hand, a current mannequin ought to include all of the paperwork. As they become older it will grow to be much less doubtless and extra extremely prized.

A very good beginning place to browse on-line is Chrono24, a market for permitted sellers, each commerce and personal, with fairly good purchaser safety and screening in opposition to faux watches.

How To Purchase Classic

If the brand new Daytona isn’t your bag, or you’ll be able to’t bear the wait, take into account going old-school. A classic Daytona, in addition to an incredible funding, is definitely cool.

The only greatest piece of recommendation when shopping for classic is “purchase the vendor”. Belief is the whole lot – if one thing appears to be like too good to be true, it all the time all the time is. “I’d purchase one on-line from a good public sale home or vendor, however I’d be very cautious in shopping for one from what you’d name a complete stranger,” says Maudsley. “However that will be the identical on any object of great worth.”

In case you are shopping for on-line, ensure it’s a good retailer by asking round on boards comparable to or social media. Do your homework and be sure to know what serial quantity vary your goal watch ought to fall into, in addition to different particulars just like the typography of the Rolex brand – it has modified down the years. There’s some huge cash to be made in faux Rolexes, so the fraudsters are achieved at their artwork. Scrutinise the dial (nearly all of the worth lies in its situation and authenticity) and if unsure, hunt down second, third and fourth opinions. Within the rabbit warren that’s Rolex amassing, there isn’t a such factor as an excessive amount of data.

The Greatest Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Iterations

So that are the precise fashions of Rolex Daytona that you have to be ? Leaving apart the concept of bagging a Paul Newman, listed here are six of the most effective from down the years.

Ref. 16520

Undoubtedly a collector favorite, which is mirrored within the costs, the 16520 is the unique metal computerized Daytona. There are extra of them on the market than the handbook fashions that got here earlier than, and values are most likely nonetheless on the best way up.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch - Ref 16520

Ref. 6263

The 6263 was in manufacturing from 1971 to 1988, and is available in a variety of metals and dial configurations. When you’ve got your coronary heart set on a pre-Zenith, handbook winding Daytona, a 6263 might be going to be the best to seek out – however keep in mind there isn’t a such factor as an “undervalued” Daytona.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch - Ref 6263

Ref. 16523

The metal and yellow gold iteration of the “Zenith” Daytona, this has traditionally been much less sought-after than its all-steel cousin within the classic market. However bi-metal watches are again in trend, and as collectors start to show their consideration to the Eighties and early Nineties, these may very well be on the rise.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch - Ref 16523

Ref. 116520

The newest stainless-steel Rolex Daytona however one, the 116520 has now been changed by the 2016 mannequin (116500LN). Admittedly, that may have led to a little bit of a spike in costs, as the tip of manufacturing means a finite quantity are on the market, however on the flip aspect there might be many who have been on the ready record that may now have turned their consideration to the brand new one. At a look, it’s very practically the identical watch.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch - Ref 116520

Ref. 116509 (pre-2017)

If there may be such a factor because the stealth-wealth Daytona, that is it – not less than, from the trendy period. Simply mistaken for metal, that is 100 per cent white gold, supplying you with all of the wrist presence with not one of the brashness of yellow or rose gold bracelets. The telltale characteristic is the Arabic numerals, which along with the black and crimson “racing” subdials make for a punchy mixture.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch - Ref 116509

Ref. 116500LN

We might hardly miss the reigning Daytona off this record: right this moment’s mannequin may be laborious to pay money for however they’re on the market. The massive change is the addition of a ceramic bezel, and the massive determination is black dial or white dial; every offers a distinctly totally different character to the watch. In the end, although, most followers would chew your arm off for both.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch - Ref 116500LN

Options To The Rolex Daytona

If, in any case this, you’re not fairly positive a Daytona is for you, the excellent news is that it’s removed from the one present on the town. Assuming the cash burning a gap in your pocket is destined to go on one watch, and that it must be an computerized chronograph with a high fee motion, the place else might you go?


One chronograph with practically as a lot cachet, an equally compelling historical past and ample construct high quality is the Breitling Navitimer. It has an in-house chronograph motion, the calibre B01, and a largely untouched design – though the slide rule-style telemetric scales are one thing of a Marmite ingredient. You may actually spend Daytona cash on a Navitimer however the excellent news is you don’t have to: the one you need is the 43mm basic, which matches for £6,750.

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Breitling Navitimer 01 Mens Watch


In the same vein, you would head to IWC. The most recent Ingenieur vary contains some good-looking chronographs, for those who nonetheless need a dose of petrol together with your watch. The entry-level piece, oddly sufficient, is a restricted version – the Version 125 at £6,450 – then there’s the usual Ingenieur Chronograph at £7,250 or the Chronograph Sport, which prices £9,850 and comes with a cool lightning strike seconds hand.

Nonetheless, you’d doubtless be higher off sidestepping that complicated set of costs and going straight for the Portugieser Chronograph (£6,550): it’s not so just like a Daytona in appears to be like however is unarguably one of many nice chronograph designs and a strong funding.

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IWC 40.9mm Portugieser Chronograph watch


If you happen to’re ready to interrupt 5 figures and fancy one thing that – whisper it – betters the Rolex for technical touches whereas retaining a hyperlink to the previous, how concerning the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe chronograph? It’s a flyback, that means you’ll be able to extra simply time consecutive occasions, includes a ceramic case and is waterproof to 300m. Yours for £12,490.

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Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Chronograph Watch


Lastly, you would do so much worse than look to Rolex’s one-time provider of actions. Zenith’s El Primero remains to be going sturdy, and your Daytona finances would provide the decide of the vary. There’s a mannequin for everybody today (and a few that may not be for anybody) however we’d suggest the good new panda dial variants in black ceramic, presently retailing at £7,200.

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Zenith El primero 36,000 VPH

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