Get updated on the latest news from the watch world - Subscribe

DailyWatch MAGAZINE

Rolex Daytona History

Combining the most heroic of complications, the chronograph, with the most important watch brand ever gives you the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. We dive into the Rolex Daytona history.

Rolex Daytona History

Combining the most heroic of complications, the chronograph, with the most important watch brand ever gives you the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. We dive into the Rolex Daytona history.

Combining the most heroic of complications, the chronograph, with the most important watch brand ever gives you the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. We dive into the Rolex Daytona history.

Launched in 1963

Rolex launched Daytona in 1963 and the watch was immediately linked to the race track. This was a watch for race drivers and the Daytona name refers to the race track in Florida, where Rolex was official timekeeper. The affiliation of the brand with car racing has remained very strong over the decades, and until this day Rolex is the official Formula One timekeeper, amongst others.

Rolex Daytona History
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

The Rolex Daytona history in 3 periods: the first era

Back to the Rolex Daytona History. It can roughly be divided in 3 periods. The first one, with the 4-digit reference numbers runs from 1963 until 1988. the references 6239 to 6265 all had manually wound and Valjoux-based movements, making it exceptionally reliable chronographs in the classical sense of the word and the looks.

The second era

The second era started with the introduction of the Daytona 16520 in 1988, and this was a big step forward, both in case size and design (it basically became the Daytona we all know today) and in movement. The automatic movement was a modified Zenith El Primero, one of the most heralded chronographs ever. The Daytona become more and more popular and the nineties showed the first signs of an unpopular but nowadays dominant Daytona feature: the waiting lists. 

The third era of the Rolex Daytona History

From 2000 onwards the six-digit reference numbers mark the third era, when Rolex introduced the reference 116520 with an all-new in-house movement. The path of evolution was followed and is followed until today, where the Daytona is constantly improved within the boundaries of the iconic looks. 

Rolex Daytona History DailyWAtch
Rolex Daytona

Why should you have a Daytona?

The Rolex Daytona is the archetypal Chronograph. It has gained its reputation as the archetype Chronograph for a reason. The looks are perfect and the constant evolution has made every single part of the watch perfect as well. Everyone appreciates the Rolex Daytona: it is simply on top of the world. Ask the most seasoned collector what his ultimate one-watch collector will look like and a Daytona will probably come to mind very soon.

Exceeding demand

To obtain a Daytona today is a hassle. Official retailers will probably have to disappoint you, as demand is structurally exceeding supply for a long time already. The secondary market can be a minefield, so “buying the seller” is an important element when you consider a Daytona. Checking the stock of our partner Watchbox might be a good idea. They have a constantly changing stock of great Daytonas at good market prices. We have selected two examples for you below.

Rolex Daytona

MORE ARTICLES

Why we love the Hublot Square Bang

The Hublot Big Bang was launched in 2005 and is widely regarded as one of the great watches of the 21st century. It certainly pushed Hublot to a next level with its bold and recognizable design, and became a modern interpretation of the brands’ Art of Fusion philosophy. 17 years later, we have seen the Big […]

Cartier Tank, an icon by any means

The Cartier Tank is an iconic watch by any means. Check any “top 10” list of watches you can find and the Tank will be on it. And that is for a reason. No watch breathes history, luxury and style more than the Tank. Let us do a quick dive in its history.The Cartier Tank […]

Roger Dubuis celebrates the Tourbillon in many forms

Roger Dubuis brings an ode to the tourbillon at this years’ Watches and Wonders. The highly admired complication, part of the brands’ catalogue for a long time, has always been a showcase of horological wizardry. And understanding Roger Dubuis, you’ll know that they won’t take anything for granted. No less than 4 new tourbillon pieces […]