Rolex Daytona: 50th Anniversary Of A Legend

Unveiled in 1963, a year after the Rolex 24 was launched at the Daytona race, the Rolex Chronograph in the Oyster series, which is often referred to simply as the “Daytona” by enthusiasts, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. A genuine icon in the watchmaking universe and a legendary chronograph about which much has been written, the Rolex “Daytona” has been a permanent source of fascination for fans of fine timekeepers.

Watchonista looks back at the legend of this iconic chronograph with an exclusive page.

Rolex Daytona's History

Daytona: From Speed Races To Mythic Chronographs

Episode 1 - A genuine icon in the watchmaking universe, the Rolex Chronograph in the Oyster range, often referred to by enthusiasts as simply the “Daytona”, is this year celebrating fifty years of a tremendous history in which the passion for speed and the world of racing cars have come together.

The Birth Of The Rolex Daytona's Legend

Episode 2 - The gigantic amphitheatre 4 kilometres in circumference, with its 31 degree banks allowing cars to reach remarkable speeds, and the Rolex brand, together formed a genuine relationship that continues to this very day. 

Rolex Daytona: An Ever-Changing Icon

Episode 3 - The legendary chronograph, about which much has been written, available early on in steel then very soon afterwards in solid gold (and for the first time in platinum for its 50th anniversary this year), now has a definite chronology established by the brand that brought it into being.

The Rolex Daytona 'Paul Newman' And The False Dials

Episode 4 - Rolex also kitted out certain Rolex Daytona chronographs with different dials from the ones that came series-built. These unique, exotic references (from 1963 to 1978) gave rise to many design excesses, in particular the dial embellishment on watches now referred to by everyone as the ‘Paul Newman’.

The New Millennium Daytona: A Pure Watchmaking Product

Episode 6 - In the year 2000, the Daytona chronograph entered a new millennium having undergone a major modification. From that year forth, the chronograph featured a new-generation automatic chronograph movement, entirely designed and manufactured by Rolex: calibre 4130. 

Rolex Daytona Platinum 116506: The Anniversary Chronograph

Episode 7 - This year, all watch enthusiasts were waiting for the presentation of a commemorative timepiece. For nearly half a century, the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona has continued to evolve to today become a reference in specialist timekeepers used for sports.

Rolex Daytona Anniversary – Interviews

Rolex Daytona Anniversary - John Goldberger Interview

As the Rolex Daytona is probably one of the most iconic watches ever, it was important to share some experiences and testimonials from very special people to understand the reasons of this passion. For this reason we wished to include very brief interviews of collectors, auctioneers, journalists, designers, and more...

Rolex Daytona Anniversary - William Rohr Interview

As the Rolex Daytona is probably one of the most iconic watch ever, it was important to share some experiences and testimonials from very special people to understand the reasons of this passion. For this reason we wished to include very briefs interviews of collectors, auctioneers, journalists, designers, and more...

Rolex Daytona Anniversary - Alfredo Paramico Interview

My name is Alfredo Paramico and I have been collection watches for almost 20 years. Since 2011, I am the Fund Manager of Precious Time the first and only existing Fund investing in vintage and collectible watches. Even if my main focus is Patek Philippe my admiration for the Daytona is extremely strong !

Rolex Daytona Anniversary - Eric Giroud Interview

Eric Giroud, born in Switzerland, was immersed in the world of art and culture from a very young age.

Passionate about art and music, he has cultivated an enthusiastic, open-minded view of the world since he was a young boy.

Rolex Daytona Anniversary - Claude Sfeir Interview

Claude Sfeir of Lebanon, is an important collector, but also a gemologist and jeweler. Difficult to miss Mr. Sfeir during auctions... Watchonista had to interview such a "serial" watch collector on his relationship with the iconic Rolex Daytona.

Christie's Celebrates 50 Years Of The Rolex Daytona

On November 10th 2013, Christie’s will offer to auction in Geneva an exceptional selection of 50 emblematic examples of Rolex Daytona wristwatches.

by Marco Gabella – Named “Rolex Daytona Lesson One” the commemorative auction will include some of the rarest Daytona models ever produced. Many of these watches are coming to the market for the first time and have been produced in very limited numbers…

Rolex Daytona Lesson One: An Historical Auction

Last Sunday the “Rolex Daytona Lesson One” auction organized by Aurel Bacs and Christie’s, presented only the best and most mythical Daytona wristwatches ever produced.

by Alexander Friedman – This unique sale, created by Aurel Bacs with the support of Pucci Papaleo, Rolex expert, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Rolex Daytona, has been extremely successful: all pieces were sold by lot and by value…

Rolex Daytona Movements By Pucci Papaleo

From the book “Ultimate Rolex Daytona”, Pucci Papaleo Editore. Texts by Dody Giussani - Photos by Pino Abbrescia and Fabio Santinelli.

Since their release, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona models were powered by three different mechanisms: the Valjoux 72 calibre (which developed in the following versions: 72B or 722, 722-1 and 727), the Rolex 4030 movement (based on the Zenith El Primero) and the current in-house Rolex 4130. These three mechanisms can be taken as an example of the mechanical chronograph’s development from the ‘60s up to the present days…

The Ultimate Rolex Daytona Book By Pucci Papaleo

Issued in a limited and hand-numbered edition of 599 units, portrays the history of an iconic symbol.

The most advanced photographic technologies and highest printing resolution complete an object made using refined materials and manufactured with old-time handicraft binding techniques. The wooden box features the finest materials, high class design and the utmost finishings. Moreover, it can be used as a book stand and display showcase. The exact miniature reproduction (reduced to 36%) of the Rolex Ultimate Daytona book…

Rolex & Daytona Editorials

The Watches And Racing Life Of Legendary Endurance Racer Scott Pruett

We sit down with the five-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner to talk watches and car racing. His one-of-a-kind collection of Rolex watches will surprise even the most astute collectors.

by Josh Shanks – If you told young Scott Pruett that he’d become one of the most well-known names in endurance car racing, he probably wouldn’t have believed you. Growing up in the small Northern California town of Roseville (just outside of Folsom, CA) Pruett started racing cars at the tender age of 8.

Timing Daytona With Rolex, A 24 Hour Experience

The official kick-off to the 2019 racing calendar, the Rolex 24 at Daytona was full of intriguing storylines, incredible racing, and some very special watches.

by Josh Shanks – There are very few races as iconic as the 24 Hours of Daytona. Since 1962, this 24-hour-long endurance race has attracted drivers from all walks of life including; F1, IndyCar, Sports Cars, NASCAR, and more. The race ranks right up there with Indianapolis, Monaco, and Le Mans.

Tom Kristensen Talks Rolex, Racing, And Monterey Car Week

The nine-time winner of Le Mans is a man on the move. During Monterey Car Week, Watchonista caught up with the legendary driver and here’s what he had to say.

by Alexander Friedman – To be in Monterey surrounded by the beautiful scenery and even more beautiful cars is a special treat for me. It’s yearly tradition that I look forward to with childlike wonderment. An opportunity to catch up with friends new and old…

A Look At Rolex’s New Precious Metal Daytona Line

Born to race, the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona versions in gold now feature a permanent Cerachrom bezel and Rolex’s rubber-covered Oysterflex strap to help them to stay the course.

by Vincent Daveau – Introduced in 1963, the Daytona chronograph was made to meet the demanding requirements of racing drivers. A favorite among fans of beautiful mechanics, the reference quickly earned a track reputation on the wrists of the most outstanding drivers. Just like all true icons, it must evolve if it’s to keep its status. Indeed, the chronograph is universally appreciated for its accuracy, robustness, endurance and the fact that it is instantly identifiable…

The Actual Paul Newman Daytona, FOUND!

For years, collectors and watch aficionados have been entranced by the Rolex Daytona reference 6239, aka the Paul Newman Daytona.

by Josh Shanks – While this reference isn’t necessarily rare (some put production numbers around 15,000), the watch has been sought after year-over-year and thus valuations have gone through the roof. Recently, one went for well over 1 million CHF at auction.Inevitably, whenever the Paul Newman Daytona is discussed, many wonder what ever happened to the actual watch that adorned Paul Newman’s wrist in the 70s and 80s…

The "Triple Crown": Rolex Updates Three True Classics

While many brands employed a conservative approach to this year's Baselworld, Rolex pulled out all the stops with significant redesigns of some of it most legendary models.

by Simon de Burton – There was no shortage of doom and gloom being forecast during the build-up to Baselworld, but anyone who was there will probably agree that there was as much of buzz as ever throughout the halls around the Messeplatz - much of which, as far as I could make out, emanated from the booths of sister brands Rolex and Tudor.