The Rolex Daytona7:40 am
A round sturdy timepiece, three chronograph sub-dials, a tachymetric bezel and an exceptionally robust case: these are the characteristics of the Rolex Daytona. With mentions in popular culture and close associations with celebrities, the racing chronograph from Rolex is among the most famous time tellers of all time. Originally introduced in 1963 as the Cosmograph, the watch has gone through quite a few changes over the years, each time evolving into a better and sturdier timepiece, while maintaining the soul of the original – that of a pure racing watch.
Hollywood actor Paul Newman reportedly wore his Daytona every day from 1972 until his death in 2008.
Since the 1930s, with the advent of the Oyster case, Rolex had begun its association with sports. Around this time Rolex started producing chronograph timepieces with a single push button to start, stop and reset the chronograph hand. As time progressed, Rolex began developing watches for specific sports and professionals such as the Explorer for mountain climbers and the Submariner for deep-sea divers. The brand’s reputation as a manufacturer of sports watches was simply reaffirmed in 1963 with the launch of the Cosmograph. The most distinctive features of the watch were – and are still seen on the Daytona watches made today – three contrasting chronograph sub-dials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, and a tachymetric scale on the bezel. This was a design innovation at that time as most watches featured the tachymetric scale on the outer rim of the dial. The Cosmograph scored over them as featuring the tachymeter on the bezel led to better legibility, which was a key requirement from a racing watch.
The watch was initially called a Cosmograph, and the now legendary “Daytona” name was added later to it. The name originates from Daytona Beach, which is a city in Florida, where in 1936 the first stock car race was held on the Daytona Beach Road Course. In 1958, when the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing was formed, it led to the creation of the Daytona International Speedway, and thus made the city a major destination for car racing events. The name “Daytona” perfectly represented everything that the watch stood for – pure racing spirit – and the timepiece has now become the definitive racing watch for millions of enthusiasts spanning several generations.
In 2013, Christie’s sold a rare Rolex Daytona, manufactured in 1969, for 989,000 Swiss Francs (equivalent to more than 6 cr Indian Rupees)
The Daytona completed fifty years in 2013, and as was befitting such an occasion, Rolex launched a new version of the timepiece. This was the first Oyster model in Rolex’s professional range of watches that is offered in a platinum case and featured a monobloc Cerachrom bezel which is virtually scratch proof and is not affected by chlorinated or salty sea water. The tachymetric scale numerals are inscribed on the bezel using a special process of coating with yellow gold or platinum, and it takes 40 hours to produce a single Cerachrom bezel. This feature was developed by Rolex and is exclusively seen in their watches.
There are a number of other versions of the Daytona also available. While they’re not made of platinum, they do have all the characteristics of a classic Daytona, which include the clearly legible tachymetric scale, a chronograph function and the three sub-dials at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock which are usually of a contrasting colour to the dial, or at least lined with a contrasting colour. The Daytona has a 40 mm Oyster case, a screw-down caseback and a winding crown. It is powered by the Calibre 4130 self-winding chronograph movement and has been certified as a Chronometer by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).
The timepiece has a water resistance of 100 metres and features an Oyster three-piece link bracelet. The watch is available in quite a few versions: steel, yellow gold, white gold, everose gold and a two-tone version of steel and yellow gold.
The Daytona is not the ultimate racing watch, but yes, it has a rich history to its name and is one of the most popular timepieces among racing enthusiasts. The Daytona has a distinctive look that clearly sets it apart from other racing watches, and combines modern technology with a classical design that has been enhanced to match with the times.
If you’d like to know more about the Rolex Daytona or are interested in buying the watch, you can call our Luxury Watch Consultants at +91 8725028888 or +91 8725028889. We would also love to hear your thoughts on the Daytona. Please share your views about this watch by commenting on this blog post.
Features Writer, The Watch Guide
He is a watch aficionado with an obsessive compulsion for writing. He spends his days exploring the intricacies of modern watchmaking and his evenings reading literary classics.