ROLEX DAYTONA, an icon of the world of luxury watches that was born from the need to perfectly measure the average speed of high-competition car drivers, but do you know its history? We will review the most important milestones to become one of the most sought after pieces.
The creator of Rolex (Hans Wilsdorf) knew from always that the best way to increase sales was through Marketing and is a point that has managed to squeeze to the maximum to this day, being one of its great pillars.
In the 30's his idea was to link a Rolex to a high-competition sports figure and it all started in 1927 with Mercedes Glietze who was the first English woman to cross the English Channel and swim; for this, he wore a Rolex Oyster. But his fixation was on the newly created automotive world and; that's why he teamed up with Sir Malcolm Campbell who achieved 9 world speed records on the beaches of Daytona Beach, becoming one of the most important figures in this world. This association lasted for many years and made him the First Rolex Ambassador because he believed that it symbolized the lifestyle of his brand and even came to launch a Rolex Malcolm Campbell model with his name on the dial.
In 1953, due to the great affluence of public, they decided to transfer the Daytona Beach race to a permanent circuit that became effective in 1959, becoming one of the most important endurance races in the world. Thereafter, the Rolex-Daytona International Speedway relationship began, of which Rolex is "Official Sponsor" since 1992.
For this reason, the Cosmograph chronograph model designed in 1963 (ref.6239) is called DAYTONA, the 37mm piece is more robust, hermetic, with a tachometer scale in bevel to calculate the average speed and with the round buttons. ROLEX DAYTONA became the perfect measurement tool for endurance pilots.
Between the years 1963 and 1966 the references 6239 (steel bezel) and 6241 (black bezel) implemented the tachymeter in the bezel, the movement was the Rolex 722 with manual loading and the power reserve was 42 hours, but the buttons of the Chronograph were not Oyster; that is, they did not have the push buttons.
Therefore, in 1965 it launched the reference 6240, a prototype that lasted 4 years but was the first model with the screw pushbuttons, being finally replaced by the reference 6263 in the year 1970. Reference 6263 (black bezel) presented along with the reference 6265 (metallic bezel), thus replacing the versions of the 60s and improving the water resistance for diving from 50 meters to 100.
In 1984 few Oyster Cosmograph units were produced with threaded pushbuttons of the reference 6269 and 6270 that came with an 18K gold case and dial and bezel with diamonds.
In 1988 the turning point of Daytona's popularity took place; since, Rolex communicated that the previous models would not continue producing and that it would take a new model: Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Chronometer "Daytona" 16520: FIRST AUTOMATIC DAYTONE AND UNIQUE MODEL IN STAINLESS STEEL WITH CHRONOMETRIC CERTIFICATION.
This reference 16520 was made of steel with a 40mm case; which for the time was considered large, had the sapphire crystal and consisted of crown protectors. In addition, he incorporated the Caliber Rolex 4030 (Caliber 400 of Zenith the first). This model had other combinations: Ref. 16523 (steel and gold), Ref. 16528 (gold), Ref. 16518 (yellow gold, leather bracelet and 18K gold clasp) and Ref. 16519 (18K white gold, bezel at 400 units / hour and leather bracelet). All these references were valid until the year 2000, when Rolex already equipped its own manufacturing caliber 4130, thus presenting its new models whose references are still valid today: 116520, 116523, 116528, 116518 (yellow gold box) and 116519 (box White gold).
The only thing that has changed in these years has been the incorporation of the ceramic bezel (Cerachrome) in 2011 to its model Ref. 116515.
DAYTONA – PAUL NEWMAN.
There is no model that is the "Paul Newman", if not the actor was a great lover of the Rolex Daytona and the promotional events of the film "500 miles" of 1969, always wore a Daytona with exotic dial (design more rare than usual and, therefore, more valuable to collectors).
His first Daytona was given to him by his wife when he became a racing professional, becoming his lucky charm and symbol of the union with his wife.
All this, together with the announcement of the stoppage of production and the subsequent launch of a new model, helped to popularize and revalue the Rolex Daytona, which in the 90s even had waiting lists of up to several years. Technique that Rolex has maintained in the following years as a sign of brand value.