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 often 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 listing, and classic fashions have turn out 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 reputation of motor racing (bear in mind that is lengthy earlier than the Speedmaster went into house). Rolex had produced a handful of chronographs earlier than, however they belonged to the earlier era, with skinny, elegant palms, Arabic numerals and in much less substantial circumstances. At the beginning 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 think about Rolex as a really centered and decisive agency,” says James Dowling, Rolex historian, creator and collector. “This wasn’t the case within the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties, when there was usually indecision about mannequin names. The Submariner was virtually referred to 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 referred to as the Le Mans.

“After I purchased my first Rolex within the late Seventies (a 1675 GMT), I enquired a couple of low cost and the salesperson responded, ‘Sorry sir, we don’t low cost Rolex, however in order for you one of many Daytonas, I may give you 20 per cent off’.”

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

Paul 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. Automated chronographs hit the watch market in 1969, however Rolex caught by the guide 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 come back). This additionally marked probably the most vital redesign of the Daytona since its inception; it gained crown guards, a thicker metal bezel, new typefaces and subdials. The Daytona’s reputation actually begins right here – the market was on the best way again after the Quartz Disaster and at present’s notion of a luxurious watch emerged.

In 2000 Rolex in the end launched its personal in-house chronograph motion, the calibre 4130. Conscious of its repute, Rolex made certain that it boasted unbeatable specs for anything within the sports activities chronograph sector – day by 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 one in every of only a few watches to come back with a protracted ready listing; simply a yr or two, and that’s if the supplier is aware of you, you set your title down the day it was launched and your center title is “fortunate”.

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

Nowadays, it’s fastidiously managed advertising, with international annual manufacturing restricted to some 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 nicely, however they don’t seem to be onerous to come back by,” says Koullapis. “The actual ready listing 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 an inventory worth of £9,100 and incorporates a white or black dial. If you’re shopping for from an accepted supplier, 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 worth on request); change charges being what they’re, Rolex has taken to growing costs at the least 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

For those who 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 at the least £9,000 for a watch in first rate 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 “odd” Paul Newman goes to run north of £50,000, whereas the very best items comfortably break six figures. At public sale, the place the creme de la creme surfaces, the document is at present held by a yellow gold Paul Newman (one in every of simply three) which offered at Phillips public sale home earlier this yr for $3.7m.

“One of the best 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 prime 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 patrons would possibly really feel like taking an opportunity on the hitherto inexpensive references, notably from the late Nineteen Eighties and early Nineties.

Proudly owning A Rolex Daytona

How To Put on It

Let’s sit up for your Daytona possession and take pleasure in its mirrored glory. You’d be forgiven for carrying it morning and night time, 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 an entire totally different ball sport), what’s your finest look?

You will get away with carrying it with a swimsuit – helped by the 40mm diameter – nevertheless it’s not a look ahead to formal events and also you’d be finest 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 – almost all over the place else. As a Rolex Oyster on a metal bracelet it’s sufficiently bombproof to put on knocking about on the weekend, and it will likely be in its factor 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 will have to take care of it like every other mechanical watch. Rolex watches include an unbeatable assure, however it is best to nonetheless verify 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 fundamental 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 move again to Switzerland.

Whereas that’s occurring, your native supplier ought to be capable to give you one thing else to put on within the meantime – assuming you got it by 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; should you 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 incorrect with a Daytona, until you topic it to uncommon punishment. Rolex’s construct high quality is peerless, and the addition of the ceramic bezel solely makes the Daytona more durable. The metal is high-grade 904L and the watch is waterproof to 100m – simply bear 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 prime greenback to skip the ready listing; there’s an opportunity it is perhaps a faux and even when it’s not, ensure you 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 verify it towards registers of misplaced and stolen watches).

For those who’re shopping for second-hand, a latest mannequin ought to include all of the paperwork. As they become old this can turn out to be much less seemingly and extra extremely prized.

A very good beginning place to browse on-line is Chrono24, a market for accepted sellers, each commerce and personal, with fairly good purchaser safety and screening towards 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, contemplate going old-school. A classic Daytona, in addition to a fantastic funding, is certainly cool.

The only finest piece of recommendation when shopping for classic is “purchase the vendor”. Belief is every little thing – 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 supplier, however I’d be very cautious in shopping for one from what you’ll name a complete stranger,” says Maudsley. “However that might be the identical on any object of great worth.”

If you’re shopping for on-line, be certain that it’s a good retailer by asking round on boards similar to or social media. Do your homework and ensure you know what serial quantity vary your goal watch ought to fall into, in addition to different particulars just like the typography of the Rolex emblem – it has modified down the years. There’s some huge cash to be made in faux Rolexes, so the fraudsters are completed at their artwork. Scrutinise the dial (the vast majority of the worth lies in its situation and authenticity) and if doubtful, 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 Finest Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Iterations

So that are the precise fashions of Rolex Daytona that you need to be taking a look at? Leaving apart the concept of bagging a Paul Newman, listed here are six of the very best 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 guide fashions that got here earlier than, and values are in all probability 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 have your coronary heart set on a pre-Zenith, guide 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 vogue, and as collectors start to show their consideration to the Nineteen Eighties and early Nineties, these might be on the rise.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch - Ref 16523

Ref. 116520

The latest 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 can be many who have been on the ready listing that may now have turned their consideration to the brand new one. At a look, it’s very almost 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 – at the least, from the trendy period. Simply mistaken for metal, that is 100 per cent white gold, providing 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 purple “racing” subdials make for a punchy mixture.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch - Ref 116509

Ref. 116500LN

We might hardly miss the reigning Daytona off this listing: at present’s mannequin is perhaps onerous to pay money for however they’re on the market. The massive change is the addition of a ceramic bezel, and the large resolution is black dial or white dial; every offers a distinctly totally different character to the watch. Finally, although, most followers would chunk your arm off for both.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch - Ref 116500LN

Alternate options To The Rolex Daytona

If, in spite of everything this, you’re not fairly certain 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 ought to be an computerized chronograph with a prime price motion, the place else might you go?


One chronograph with almost 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 factor. You may definitely spend Daytona cash on a Navitimer however the excellent news is you don’t must: 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 could possibly head to IWC. The most recent Ingenieur vary consists of some good-looking chronographs, should you nonetheless need a dose of petrol along 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’ll seemingly be higher off sidestepping that complicated set of costs and going straight for the Portugieser Chronograph (£6,550): it’s not so much like a Daytona in appears to be like however is unarguably one of many nice chronograph designs and a stable funding.

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IWC 40.9mm Portugieser Chronograph watch


For those who’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, incorporates a ceramic case and is water-resistant to 300m. Yours for £12,490.

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Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Chronograph Watch


Lastly, you could possibly do lots worse than look to Rolex’s one-time provider of actions. Zenith’s El Primero continues to be going robust, and your Daytona price range would provide the choose of the vary. There’s a mannequin for everybody as of late (and a few which may not be for anybody) however we’d advocate the good new panda dial variants in black ceramic, at present retailing at £7,200.

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Zenith El primero 36,000 VPH

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