Everything You Need to Know About Rolex Daytona Watches
- By Diamond Source NYC -
The Rolex Daytona is one of the most popular watches in the world and is relatively inexpensive. The Rolex Daytona retail price when compared to the rest of the Rolex lineup is consistently one of the best Rolex Daytona affordable alternative choices. The Rolex Daytona is a fascinating watch for several reasons. The series of watches is named after Daytona Beach in Florida, and the Rolex Daytona Beach is considered the pinnacle timepiece for international car racing around the world.
Notably, at launch the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona did not fly off the shelves, and yet today the Solid Gold Rolex Daytona watch holds the record for being one of the most expensive Daytona Rolex watches ever sold at auction. Nowadays, the Rolex Daytona is easily one of the most treasured and valued watches in the world. In fact, the most popular Daytona Rolex watches are so hard to find, that you have to join long waitlists just to purchase a Rolex Daytona new model.
Not to worry, however, because by reading up on some key information and doing some bargain hunting to get a Rolex Daytona discount, you can successfully find and purchase a Rolex Daytona preowned or new Rolex Daytona at an affordable price. However, since the Daytona is still a Rolex watch, it is important to be careful and exercise safe consumer practices in order to know the difference between a fake vs real Rolex Daytona out in the wild that you need to look out for.
If you are looking for a Rolex Daytona to buy, do so wisely. Getting either a new or used Rolex Daytona is not something you do every day, so you should be careful and ensure you are definitely getting a genuine product when purchasing one. A Rolex Daytona authenticity check from a trusted seller can help put your fears aside. In order to have the most confidence in your purchase and knowing how to buy a Rolex Daytona, you need to be well informed about what you are buying. A new line of Rolex Daytona series watches was just announced on April 7th, 2021, so there’s no better time to be considering the purchase of your very own Rolex Daytona Rainbow or Rolex Daytona Gold watch.
The History of the Rolex Daytona Watch
The Rolex Daytona history is one of repute and excellence. Named after Daytona Beach in Florida, where professional car racers and other enthusiasts have been racing since 1903, the Rolex Daytona race car-focused watch was created after Rolex became the official timekeeper of the Daytona International Speedway back in 1962.
Introduced the following year in 1963, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona was designed to meet the needs of professional race drivers. It was designed with a unique Rolex Daytona chronograph feature that drivers could use to keep track of their laps with a fully functional tachymetric scale built into the bezel that allows Rolex 24 Daytona drivers to precisely measure their average speeds up to 400 kilometers per hour. Its precision is what makes the watch famously reliable.
The Rolex Daytona debuted at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona Live event, sometimes called the Rolex 24 Daytona, when it was presented to the winner alongside the trophy at the Daytona day-long endurance race. This was good publicity for the watch, which was also presented to the winners of France’s Le Mans, another 24-hour long race similar to the Rolex 24 race in Daytona.
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watches garnered even more fame and recognition when it was worn by a popular actor and fellow race car driver. Paul Newman wearing Rolex Daytona became iconic, as the watch was given to him by his wife for his first race. Over the years it appeared in many photographs and interviews. This brought a significant amount of attention to the piece, so much so that his name became widely associated with the Rolex Daytona 6241 Paul Newman watch.
The Rolex Daytona size has not always been the same through its many different iterations and models. The original Rolex Daytona case size was smaller than they are today, introduced in what is now the classic Rolex Daytona 38mm case sizes. They also featured a manual-wind precision mechanism for timekeeping and detailed Rolex Daytona winding instructions, unlike the perpetual motion self-winding mechanism used in modern Daytona watches. The word “Daytona” wasn’t actually added to the dials of the Daytona watches until 1964.
By 1988, the second generation of Rolex Daytona watches were introduced, with various additions and innovations such as the Rolex Daytona watch winder. The third iteration of Daytona watches were introduced in the year 2000 and boasted a new Rolex Daytona exotic dial.
If you are looking for a Rolex Daytona iced out, look no further. Through the decades, the Rolex Daytona watch has been constructed with a variety of luxury materials, such as precious metals and gemstones. The bold uniqueness of different models of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona diamonds series watches is what makes them so desirable to consumers and collectors alike. With a complex and incredibly interesting history that makes the Daytona watch one of the top choices for a racing or sports watch.
What models are available?
Three generations of Daytona series watches currently exist on the market for purchase, first generation, or “vintage” watches such as the vintage White Gold Rolex Daytona, second generations watches, nicknamed “Zenith” watches by collectors, and third generation Daytona watches, called modern series watches. Distinguishing between different generation Rolex Daytona for sale can be incredibly tricky, but there are some easy tricks to tell them apart.
First generation Rolex Daytona watches have four-digit reference numbers, such as:
- Rolex Daytona ref 6241
- Rolex Daytona ref 6270
- Rolex Daytona 6263
These watches were produced between 1963 and 1938 in 37mm cases, so they were smaller than more recent Rolex Daytona series watches. The Rolex Daytona vintage watches employed Valjoux-series mechanical wind movement mechanisms, rather than a self winding Rolex Daytona, which means you have to remember to wind the watch with the crown every so often, or else the watch would stop keeping time.
To avoid Rolex Daytona copy watches, it helps to know that authentic watches use acrylic crystals for the material over the dial, rather than glass or artificial sapphire, common materials used in modern watches. Although it may seem like classics like the vintage gold Daytona Rolex might lag behind in technology and advances when compared to more recent models, at the time they were still groundbreaking, including a variety of new innovations such as screw-down Rolex Daytona pushers, which improved reliability and waterproofing in the watch, answering the question, is rolex daytona waterproof with a resounding yes.
Second generation Rolex Daytona watches use five-digit reference numbers, such as:
- Rolex Daytona 16520
- Rolex Daytona 16523 Diamonds
- Rolex Daytona 16528
- Rolex Daytona Gold 16518
These watches were produced between 1988-2000 and were the first Rolex Cosmograph Daytona series to be made in the Rolex Daytona 40mm casing, rather than the 37mm casing used for the previous generations. The second generation of Rolex Daytona watches brought several more innovations, such as a self-winding movement mechanism versus the Rolex Daytona manual winding timepieces of before, which Rolex implemented by converting the design of a mechanism made by the company Zenith, the El Primero Calibre 3019 PHC.
Though about fifty percent of the components of Daytona Zenith Rolex watch’s design were removed and replaced with custom Rolex-designed parts, such as Rolex Daytona custom dials, the watch is known today by collectors as the “Zenith” generation of Rolex Daytona watches. These “Zenith” watches were also the first Daytona watches to employ a synthetic sapphire watch face to reduce the risk of Rolex Daytona scratches, whereas previous models had used acrylic crystal.
This Rolex Daytona sapphire watch face was significantly more scratch resistant than other watch face materials of the time, with a score of 9 on the Mohs scale of Mineral Hardness, a scale between 1-10 for measuring the scratch resistance of different materials. The only known substance with a higher score on the scale is diamond, with a score of 10. This understandably makes the Rolex Daytona value all the greater.
The third generation of Rolex Daytona watches, known as the “modern” series of Rolex Daytona models, began production in 2000 and is still produced today. These watches use six-digit reference numbers, such as the:
- Rolex Daytona 116520
- Rolex Daytona 116500ln
- Rolex Daytona 116503
Of all Rolex Daytona generations, the third-generation Rolex Daytonas were the first to use Rolex’s in-house solution for chronograph movement, the Calibre 4130. While it is also found in many other modern luxury watches, Rolex Daytona series primarily is the main timepiece that uses it.
The new generation of Rolex watches have a Rolex Daytona superlative chronometer, but are the most common and least collectible to add to your Rolex Daytona collection. Due to the mass demand for Rolex Daytona watches, even the newest models are still extremely valuable and hard to find. New Rolex Daytona watches also come in more material and color varieties, with new proprietary material solutions created by Rolex such as custom ceramics and steels for the watch housing and bezel.
What is a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona worth?
There are a few factors at play when evaluating the worth of any Rolex Daytona. The Rolex Daytona cost for new models is significantly higher than the price of a Rolex Daytona Cosmograph used, for example. The vintage Rolex Daytona watches are always more expensive than brand-new Daytona watches, due to a higher degree of collectability and lower supply. An extreme example of this is the Rolex Daytona Paul Newman. It is the single most expensive Rolex watch ever sold, fetching 17.8 million dollars at an auction in 2017.
This means that the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona price tends to be fairly volatile on the open market, although this also means that the purchase of a Rolex Daytona watch is always a smart investment if you are able to get your hands on the watch at a Rolex Daytona online shop or retail store. Do not second guess yourself by asking, is a Rolex Daytona worth the money? It always is, period.
The watches almost always immediately sell for more in second-hand markets, such as in Rolex Daytona watch auctions, and only gain value with age, provided you maintain the condition and function of the watch. If you are asking yourself- is a Rolex Daytona a good investment? In brief, the answer is yes.
The Rolex Daytona stainless steel retail price is around $13,150 for the base steel and ceramic model of modern Daytona watches, and only increases from there depending on materials used and edition, and whether you are comparing the Rolex Daytona used price to the Rolex Daytona new price.
Buying a Rolex Daytona: New vs Used
Ordinarily, you might think that a used product would cost less than a new or more recent product, but like wines, jewelry, and cars, that common convention is not always true when it comes to luxury watches, and certainly not for the Rolex Daytona different series. Rolex Daytona Cosmograph used watches almost always sell for more than the retail price on second-hand markets regardless of the model. If you are trying to find a Rolex Daytona used, ebay is not going to get you a good bargain. Just as long as they’re in good condition and quality, Rolex Daytona second hand, vintage models sell for even more due to the lower supply compared to modern watches, sometimes selling for twice the original value.
Second generation, or “Zenith” watches like the Rolex Daytona Vintage 6241 sell for several tens of thousands of dollars on the second-hand market depending on condition and model, more than what a new Daytona watch will cost at a new Rolex Daytona retail price. Even just parts of these watches can be expensive, with a replacement Rolex Daytona vintage leather strap running into the triple digits and a Rolex Daytona crystal replacement costing similarly. Even new watches tend to cost more on the second-hand market compared to retail prices, due to the extreme nature of a Daytona Rolex waiting list and scarce supply associated with new Rolex Daytona watches.
If you want to buy used Rolex Daytona watches, be smart about it. You should definitely purchase a Rolex Daytona watch at retail value if you have the opportunity, but if not you will either have to wait at the mercy of a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona waiting list or purchase the watch you want at higher prices on the second-hand market.
Gold or Platinum Daytona Watches
The Rolex Daytona watch has always been available with luxury metals, the most common being gold. Rolex Daytona Gold models are made with 18K gold and come in various models with a variety of dial colors. This includes those such as the:
- Rolex Daytona Yellow Gold Black Dial
- Rolex Yellow Gold Daytona Green Dial
- Rolex Daytona Yellow Gold Mother of Pearl
- Rolex 18k Yellow Gold Daytona Black Diamond Dial Model 16528
- Rolex Daytona Oysterflex Yellow Gold Black Dial
- Rolex Daytona Yellow Gold white face
and others. The Rolex Daytona Yellow Gold price is the lowest for all the Daytona models that use luxury metals, starting at around $28,500.
The company also offers gold Rolex Daytona watches made with Rolex Daytona 18K white gold, such as the:
- Rolex Daytona White Gold Oysterflex
- Rolex Daytona White Gold Blue Dial
- Rolex Daytona White Gold Rainbow
- Rolex Daytona White Gold Red Dial
- Rolex Daytona Panda White Gold, as well as others.
In addition to Rolex Daytona White Gold and Rolex Daytona Yellow Gold, Rolex offers the Cosmograph Daytona in one more variety of gold: Rolex Daytona Everose. While white and yellow gold are self-explanatory, the Rolex Daytona 18K Everose gold is a custom blend of gold made by Rolex for an exquisite copperish, pinkish metal that adds a wonderful sophistication and exotic look to watches.
For dress recommendations to take maximum advantage of Everose gold watches and knowing the fashion of wearing Rolex Daytona timepieces, be sure to check out a Rolex Daytona Everose Gold review. Everose gold is made by mixing pure gold with copper and platinum, an alloy that Rolex claims will never fade with age. This makes having a Rolex Daytona on wrist a must for any fashion-forward person.
Daytona watches made with Rolex Daytona 18K Everose Gold include:
- Rolex Daytona Everose Gold Daytona Rainbow
- Rolex Daytona Everose Gold Black Dial
- Rolex Daytona Everose Gold Oysterflex
- Rolex Daytona Everose Gold Chocolate Dial, as well as others.
The Rolex Daytona Everose Gold price and the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona White Gold price tend to be higher than that of the yellow gold models. However, the most luxurious of metals used to make the Rolex Daytona is platinum, one of the rarest metals on earth. Platinum is an extremely durable material, resistant to stress as well as extreme temperatures, making the Rolex Daytona Platinum price absolutely worth it. The Rolex Daytona Platinum watch casings handle wear very well, and do not tarnish or degrade with time. For more information about the benefits of choosing a Rolex Platinum Daytona watch for your watch casing material, be sure to check out a Rolex Daytona Platinum review.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watches made with platinum include the Rolex Daytona Platinum 2013, the Rolex Daytona Arabic Dial Platinum, and the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ice Blue Dial Platinum Men’s Watch. The Rolex Daytona Platinum price is the highest among models with luxury metals, with platinum models outpricing the Rolex Yellow Gold Daytona watch - everose gold and white gold models at retail and on second-hand markets.
What about rare Pre-Daytona watches?
Why is Rolex Daytona so rare, you might be wondering? Although these watches weren’t released with the Daytona brand, some of Rolex’s chronograph watches released before 1963 are considered predecessors to the Daytona series and collectors refer to these watches as “pre-Daytona” watches. These Rolex Cosmograph Pre-Daytona watches include the Rolex Pre-Daytona Chronograph 6234, and the Rolex 6238 Pre-Daytona Chronograph. These watches are extremely rare and scarce, due to how old they are, and can sell for between $30k up to over $100k depending on condition, materials, and reference model.
Features of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona:
The line of Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watches has lots of amazing design options for you to choose from. Each Daytona version brings an aesthetic of its own, since these watches are assembled by hand for exceptional quality and high standards. While every model comes with a Rolex Daytona tachymeter for measuring speeds, the Cosmograph line has never included a day or date indicator, like that found on the Rolex Datejust series of watches.
The watch is designed with two Rolex Daytona pushers that can be pulled out to stop the watch from working; the pushers flank a winding crown and are part of the Rolex Daytona watch winder settings used to adjust the watch while they are pulled out. Three subdials are set into the dial of the Rolex Daytona watches, one for measuring seconds, the other for measuring elapsed minutes, and a third for measuring elapsed hours. The seconds subdial can be used in conjunction with the built-in tachymeter along the bezel to track speeds of up to 400 units per hour, kilometers, or miles.
What is a Rolex Daytona made of?
Generally, these premium watches use Rolex Daytona Oystersteel, a proprietary 904L steel designed in house by Rolex, for maximum resistance to corrosion. The materials available for Daytona watches vary by generation. First generation vintage reference watches were only available in Rolex Daytona stainless steel, Rolex Daytona 14K gold, and Rolex Daytona 18K gold.
Stainless steel models of the Rolex Daytona include:
- Rolex Stainless Steel Daytona White Face
- Winner Rolex 24 ad Daytona 1992 stainless steel
- Rolex Daytona Ice Blue Stainless Steel
- Rolex Daytona Ceramic Stainless Steel
- Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel Blue Dial, and many more.
Second generation Daytonas introduced the Rolex Daytona “Rolesor” style of watch casing, the Rolex Daytona two tone design made using stainless steel and gold. These two-tone watches include the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Yellow Rolesor, the Rolex Two Tone Daytona White Face, the Rolex Daytona Two Tone Black Dial, and the Rolex Daytona Two Tone Diamond Dial, among many others.
With the introduction of the modern line of Rolex Daytona watches in 2000, Rolex Daytona Platinum watches and Rolex Daytona Everose Gold models were made available as well. Despite this wide range of options, the vast majority of Daytona watches are made with 904L Oystersteel branded stainless steel, the most expensive steel in the world. Most modern watches are also sold with Rolex Daytona oyster bracelets that come in either stainless steel, Rolesor, or two-tone stainless steel and gold, or platinum.
What dial options are available for the Rolex Daytona?
Classic watches only came with Rolex Daytona White Dial, Rolex Daytona Black Dial, Rolex Daytona Silver Dial, or champagne dial options. The watch dial refers to the color of the face of the watch, underneath the crystal or sapphire case of the watch.
A Gold Rolex Daytona White Dial provides a classic, soft, and unassuming look to your watch that blends in well with lighter color outfits, as well as providing contrast against a dark suit. Be sure to check out a Rolex Daytona White Dial review for more information about why white dial watches are such a classic option before looking for a Rolex Daytona White Dial for sale.
Some varieties of this refined options include:
- Rolex Daytona 6263 White Dial
- Rolex Daytona Ceramic Bezel White Dial
- Rolex Daytona 2 Tone White Dial
- Rolex Daytona White Gold White Dial
Both black dial and white dial Rolex Daytona watches are classic, but in the great battle of Rolex Daytona white dial vs black dial, black dials offer some advantages over white dials. Black dials have connotations of creativity, elegance, authority, and power, and provide a layer of enigma to an ensemble. For more on the advantages of black dial watches, be sure to read a Rolex Daytona Black Dial review before looking for a Rolex Daytona Black Dial for sale.
Rolex Daytona Black Dial watches include:
- Rolex Daytona Two Tone Black Dial
- Rolex Daytona Yellow Gold Black Dial
- Rolex Daytona Black Dial Red Hands
- Rolex Daytona Everose Gold Black Dial
- Rolex Daytona Black Dial Diamond
- Rolex Daytona Black Dial Rose Gold
Rolex Daytona Champagne dial is another classic color for a dial with a shade close to gold. Champagne dials are more flashy than black or white dials and are ideal for a celebration watch worn to a wedding, party, or other social event. Popular champagne dial watches include the Rolex Daytona Two Tone Champagne, the Rolex Daytona Champagne Diamond Dial, and the Rolex Daytona Yellow Gold Champagne Dial.
The final classic dial color for the Rolex Daytona series watches is grey; Rolex Daytona Grey Face watches are a more muted and understated dial color, but one with an air of sophistication and grace unmatched by black-, white-, or champagne-colored dials. Grey dial models of the Rolex Daytona series watches include the Rolex Daytona White Gold Grey Dial, the Rolex Daytona Two Tone Grey Dial, and the Rolex Daytona Grey Gold.
Rolex Daytona Paul Newman dials
When the Rolex Daytona series first launched, a select few models were made with a special, Rolex Daytona Paul Newman exotic dial that used an art deco style font for the numbers in the subdials and a contrasting color for the elapsed minute subdial and an exclusive Rolex Daytona second hand movement. These watches were not initially very popular, but when it became known that these watches were the preferred style of famous actor Paul Newman, they became significantly more popular. Now a Rolex Daytona once owned by Paul Newman is a highly coveted timepiece.
These “Paul Newman dials” as they are so called by collectors are now one of the most sought-after watch models and the Rolex Daytona Paul Newman price is one of the highest of any Rolex Daytona models. The Rolex Daytona 6239 Paul Newman price was over 17 million dollars.
The “Paul Newman” style watch dial models of the Rolex Daytona include:
- Rolex Paul Newman Daytona 6239
- Rolex Paul Newman Daytona 6241
- Rolex Paul Newman Daytona 6263
- Rolex Paul Newman Daytona Gold
- Rolex Paul Newman Daytona Panda
- Rolex Daytona Paul Newman Black Dial
- Rolex Daytona Paul Newman Storia
- Rolex Daytona 6265 Paul Newman
In the decades since the initial release of the Rolex Daytona, all sorts of dial options have been added to the lineup, such as the festive and colorful Rolex Daytona Two Tone Blue Dial, the Rolex Daytona Beach Pink watch for that added young and hip vibe, or a Rolex Daytona Gold with green dial for an added natural appeal to a hiking watch.
If you are looking for a Rolex Daytona Custom watch, the colors aren’t the only customizable part of modern Daytona dials. You can also buy Rolex Daytona watches with dials set with various precious stones, such as mother of pearl or lapis lazuli. For an out-of-this-world unique watch, get a Rolex Daytona Meteorite White Gold watch, or treat yourself to a dazzling Rolex Daytona Black Mother of Pearl Dial watch for an impossible-to-miss add on to your everyday ensemble. You can even find a Rolex Daytona Custom Rainbow watch, if you felt so inclined.
You can even choose which kind of hour markings you prefer on the watch dial. Rolex offers a variety of typefaces and styles, including Arabic numerals, Rolex Daytona Roman Numerals, and Hindu-Arabic numerals, as well as hour markers stylized with diamonds or rainbow-colored sapphires. You can choose to get a Rolex Daytona Blue Dial Arabic if you prefer a more modern looking clock face, or stay traditional and go with Roman numerals.
What bezel options are available for the Rolex Daytona?
Just like dials, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watches come in a variety of bezel options and colors. While original models of the Rolex Daytona used black acrylic or metal for the bezels, almost no watch from the second generation onwards employed acrylic for the bezels, as it scratched easily and did not hold up to wear as well as other materials. This is one of the reasons why good quality vintage Rolex Daytona watches sell for so much money, since many of the materials used for the old Daytona watches were less wear-resistant, so it is rare to find them in acceptable condition.
Second generation Rolex Daytona classic watches exclusively used metal for the bezels due to Rolex’s policy of phasing out acrylic, and by the time third generation Daytona watches were released in 2000 Rolex had developed their proprietary ceramic solution for watch bezels, known as Cerachrom. Cerachrom is a brand trademark that combines the terms “cera” from “ceramic” and “chrom,” Greek for “color.” Thus, the Rolex Daytona ceramic bezel watches were born.
Cerachrom is exceptionally popular with modern Rolex watches today, and almost all modern Rolex Daytona watches use either a Rolex Daytona Cerachrom Bezel or Rolex Daytona Gold Bezel to form the iconic bezel of the watch; in fact, Rolex has stopped producing Daytona watches with a stainless steel bezel since 2016. This makes the Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel availability much more rare. Rolex Daytona watches can come with a variety of bezel colors, such as the:
- Rolex Daytona White Face Black Bezel
- Rolex Daytona Blue Bezel
- Rolex Daytona White Ceramic Bezel
- Rolex Daytona Brown Bezel
- Rolex Daytona Bakelite Bezel
each with a combination of red and blue, and so on.
Aside from the ordinary variety of bezel colors, the Rolex Daytona also comes in a selection of limited-edition bezels, usually with beautiful gemstones set into the bezel for an extra special look. These include the Rolex Daytona Rainbow Bezel, with a ring of rainbow-colored sapphires perfect for celebrating Pride Month, or the Rolex Daytona Leopard, which features a ring of thirty-six cognac colored sapphires along the bezel.
Rolex Daytona Movement Mechanism
The Rolex Daytona movement or mechanism of a watch describes the internal machinery that allows the watch to perform accurate timekeeping. Rolex Daytona classic watches used a mechanical mechanism that required winding Rolex Daytona watches periodically by the user, while newer model watches have transitioned to a self-winding perpetual motion mechanism. This is why models of the Rolex Daytona after the second generation of iterations are referred to as Rolex Oyster Perpetual Daytona watches, since they use a perpetual motion mechanism.
The First Series of Rolex Daytona Movement Mechanisms (Valjoux)
The first series, or first generation, of Rolex Daytona watches featured Rolex Daytona manual winding movement. Different mechanisms were used in these watches, all from the Rolex Daytona Valjoux brand calibres. The watch was originally introduced with the Valjoux Calibre 72, before the mechanism was quickly replaced with the updated Valjoux Calibre 722 mechanism.
Why is the Rolex Daytona hard to find? This exclusivity means that vintage Rolex Daytona watches that use the Valjoux Calibre 72 are particularly rare and hard to find, since not only are these watches the oldest and the most rare Rolex Daytona lineup, but they were also produced for the shortest amount of time. This makes the Rolex Daytona production quite limited and also quite coveted.
An example of a Rolex Daytona watch that uses a Valjoux Calibre mechanism is the Rolex Daytona Swiss Valjoux 7750. The Valjoux Calibre 722 mechanism would be employed for a considerable length of the production time for the first generation of Rolex Daytona watches, creating exclusive Rolex Daytona production numbers before eventually being replaced with the Valjoux Calibre 727, an updated Rolex Daytona mechanism with significantly greater precision compared to the older version. It increased the vibrations per second of the mechanism from 18,000 vibrations per hour to 21,600 vibrations per hour.
The Second Series of Rolex Daytona Movement Mechanisms (Zenith)
The second series, or second generation, of Rolex Daytona watches included the Rolex Daytona Zenith Storia and Rolex Daytona Zenith Patrizzi. These innovative watches saw the introduction of a self-winding mechanism in the Rolex Daytona, based on the Zenith-made “El Primero Calibre 3019 PHC”.
Because of this adaptation, Daytona watches in this series are fondly called the Rolex Daytona Zenith series, as Rolex customized and added onto the Zenith mechanism to suit its own purposes. Rolex replaced about 50% of the Zenith brand El Primero Calibre 3019 for its own mechanism in the second generation Rolex Daytona watches, rebranding the mechanism as the Calibre 4030.
Models of the Rolex Daytona watch that feature a Zenith-based mechanism include the:
- Rolex Daytona Zenith Ref 16520
- Rolex Daytona Zenith Patrizzi
- Rolex Daytona Zenith Storia
- 1991 Vintage Rolex Daytona Zenith
- Rolex Daytona Zenith 16523
This self-winding perpetual motion mechanism offered a variety of benefits to the user, most notably the elimination of winding Rolex Daytona watches constantly, but also by increasing the accuracy of the mechanism and reducing the potential for mechanical faults.
The Rolex Daytona Zenith Movement price averages around fifteen thousand dollars. You can find a Rolex Daytona Zenith Movement for sale on various trusted second-hand markets and used watch shops.
The Third Series of Rolex Daytona Movement Mechanisms (In-house)
The third series, or third generation, of Rolex Daytona watches saw the first in-house Rolex Daytona automatic chronograph movement. The new in-house mechanism was still a self-winding perpetual motion mechanism, but this time it was completely designed and built by Rolex themselves. The winding Rolex Daytona mechanism featured a longer mainspring, which allows the watch greater power reserves in case of battery failure, and is able to continue for 72 hours after the Rolex Daytona battery runs out of juice. The watch mechanism also employed a vertical clutch, replacing the lateral clutch of previous designs.
The benefits of the in-house design when one compares the Daytona Zenith vs Rolex movement are numerous; with a vertical clutch, the mechanism was able to avoid issues with loss of amplitude in the Zenith-based mechanism, as well as eliminate the jittering found in lateral-clutch design mechanisms. Rolex Daytona Zenith vs Inhouse saw a victory for Rolex, as the new architecture was also simpler and used far fewer components, making the Rolex Daytona second hand movement both more reliable and service friendly. The resulting design was more efficient and accurate, with less chance of mechanical failure or parts breakdown, and easier repair procedures if they did.
What are the most popular Rolex Daytona reference models?
The Rolex Daytona reference numbers mark many of the most popular watch models in the world, including some models that are more common and popular compared to others. One of the most popular Rolex Daytona models is the sought-after Rolex Daytona Batman, which only saw 300 releases. Whether that makes a watch more or less desirable is up to the buyer; if you want something that is widely acclaimed and certifiably fashionable a more affordable watch is an excellent choice. However, if you’d prefer something a little more unique and suited to your individual tastes, there is a huge world of options out there to explore.
Third Generation “Modern” Rolex Daytonas
For the most recent iteration of Rolex Daytona watches, known as “modern” or third generation Rolex Daytona watches, the most popular watches are the models made with steel, white gold, and the gorgeous Rolex Daytona Rolesor two tone design. The Rolex Daytona “Panda” 116500 is a beautiful watch made with 904L “Oystersteel” stainless steel for the watch casing.
Since it is a third generation watch, the Rolex Daytona 116500 is a 40mm watch, and it uses a proprietary Rolex Daytona Cerachrom ceramic bezel, famous for being virtually scratch-proof and retaining color. The watch is called the “Panda” watch because it comes either with a black dial and white bezel, or a white dial and black bezel, the contrasting colors creating a minimalist and chic look that complements any outfit.
For a more luxurious, festive look, the Rolex Daytona 116523 40 mm features a breathtaking two-tone stainless steel and 18k Yellow Gold casing. The watch is the perfect addition to a party-going ensemble, or just to add a bit of flair to a business outfit. The Rolex Daytona 116523 comes with the option of either a black, white, champagne, or silver colored dial, so you can be sure to find one that suits your style. For an extra bit of flashiness, you can get the watch with a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona mother of pearl dial, with small pieces of genuine mother-of-pearl set into the dial itself. The material is beautiful under light, refracting a myriad of colors through the synthetic Rolex Daytona blue sapphire watch lens.
Finally, for a more elegant timepiece, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116519 is built using 18K white gold for the casing, with the option of either a Rolex Daytona oysterflex strap or a leather strap for the watch bracelet. The Rolex Daytona white gold ceramic casing adds a flair of sophistication and stature unmatched by other materials, and the Rolex Daytona leather strap or Rolex Daytona Oysterflex strap adds a unique and personal touch to the watch design. Leather makes a fantastic watch strap material, since it is more breathable than a Rolex Daytona gold bracelet while still remaining durable. Both watch bands are designed to be flexible, ensuring a comfortable fit.
Second Generation “Zenith” Rolex Daytonas
For the second generation, or “Zenith” series Rolex Daytona watches, produced between 1988 and 2000, the most popular references are the steel, yellow rolesor, and yellow gold models. The Rolex Daytona Zenith Ref 16520 features a stainless-steel watch casing, 40mm just like modern Daytona models. The watch’s bezel is made out of the same stainless steel, adding a weighty feel and wholeness of construction different from the way the watches are made today. The Rolex Daytona 16520 comes with either a black or white dial, with the same classic Rolex Daytona ceramic “Panda” look as the Ref. 116500. The timeless design is sure to pair well with any style and outfit.
The Rolex Daytona Model 16523 was the first Rolex Daytona watch to feature a two-toned “Rolesor” design, with a beautiful mix of stainless steel and 18K yellow gold. The Rolex Daytona Cosmograph 18K Gold was also one of the first to offer a choice of champagne and grey watch dials, in addition to the black and white dials and Rolex Daytona subdials found on previous models. A literal piece of history in the timeline of the Rolex Daytona series, it is no surprise that the Ref. 16523 is so beloved by fans of the Daytona watches. The Rolex Daytona 16523 price on the used market is about $20,000 to $25,000, depending on condition and dial color, making the price of Cosmograph Daytona watch expensive but worth it.
Last but not least, the Rolex Daytona 16518 is one of the most classic watches in Rolex’s Daytona series, built completely out of 18K yellow gold for the casing. The watch features a Rolex Daytona black leather strap, a luxurious bracelet made with genuine leather treated to maximize durability, and designed to be flexible and comfortable when wearing the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona on wrist. The watch also comes with a variety of dial colors, including white, black, and champagne, which refers to a shade of gold. For those who want that extra special unique touch, the Rolex Daytona Ref 16518 also offers a mother-of-pearl dial, a refractive material that can create a beautiful Rolex Cosmograph Daytona rainbow of colors in the light.
First Generation “Vintage” Rolex Daytonas
The first generation, or “vintage” Rolex Daytona watches are the most sought-after models by collectors and have stood the test of time in terms of their fashionable design, classic look, and everlasting appeal. All references produced during this period, between 1963 and 1988, were available in steel, 14K gold and 18K gold, but had varied Rolex Daytona dial options, as well as bezel offerings.
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6239 was one of the earliest models of the Rolex Daytona series watches, and the personal favorite of famous actor Paul Newman. Like all the other models of watches in this generation, the Rolex Daytona Model 6239 was available with a casing made out of either steel, 14K gold, or 18K gold, and was 38mm in size. The watch came with a variety of dial colors, including black, silver, and a more unique cream color.
The watch was also famously produced with an “exotic” style dial, which actor Paul Newman popularized at the time. The “exotic” style bezel featured a contrasting color for the subdials and an art deco style font for the markings on the subdials. The Rolex Daytona Paul Newman 6239 famously sold for over 17 million dollars at auction, making it the most expensive Rolex Daytona watch ever sold.
The Rolex 6241 Daytona is another extremely popular watch from this generation, offered in steel, 14K gold and 18K gold like the rest of the first generation lineup. The Ref. 6241 employed an acrylic bezel rather than the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph ceramic bezel or the Rolex Daytona steel bezel found on more recent models of the Rolex Daytona watches. This also means it may be more difficult to find a Ref. 6241 in good condition, as acrylic tends to be less durable than other bezel materials and may even fade in color. The vintage Rolex Daytona 6241 watch came with either a Rolex Daytona black dial or Rolex Daytona white dial, standard for the time, and was also available in the same “exotic” so-called Paul Newman style bezel as well.
The Rolex Daytona 6241 jps is the most coveted model of this particular reference; the JPS stands for “Rolex Daytona John Player special,” named after a cigarette brand with the same black and gold brand colors as the watch. John Player famously sponsored Lotus in the Formula One World Championship. The Rolex Daytona 6241 JPS price is very high, recently selling at one million dollars at auction.
Finally, the Rolex Daytona 6262 continues to have a very loyal following even decades after its release. Produced with steel, 18K and 14K gold casings, the watch offers a silver, black or champagne dial, as well as the exotic-style dial made famous by Paul Newman. The watch was the last Rolex Daytona series watch equipped with pump pushers and is a very desirable model for collectors. You can find a Rolex Daytona 6262 for sale with a Rolex Daytona 6262 price in the range of $100,000 dollars.
Famous owners of a Rolex Daytona watch
Since this is such an iconic watch and chronograph, it should be unsurprising that the famous Rolex Daytona would associate with a wide range of famed individuals who enjoy and own their very own favorites. These Rolex Daytona famous wearers include such notable individuals as Michael Jordan and even John Legend.
French soccer player Antoine Griezmann, member of the LaLiga club F.C Barcelona, has played as a successful forward for many years. He owns an exquisite third generation Rolex Daytona Rainbow Everose Gold 116595rbow. Made of proprietary Rolex Daytona 18K Everose gold, a blend of pure gold with copper and platinum, the Rolex Daytona 116595rbow also features a ring of brilliant rainbow-colored sapphires along the bezel. That’s what the “rbow” in the reference stands for: rainbow. The soccer player has been seen wearing the watch at various formal events, as well as on the street in casual wear. The Rolex Daytona Rainbow Everose Gold price is quite steep, averaging about $500,000.
The Rolex is not just for actors -- yes, for the Rolex Daytona, models like to wear it too. English actress and Victoria Secret Model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is also a huge fan of Rolex Daytona watches. The actress has starred in feature films including blockbusters such as Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Oscar-winning film Mad Max: Fury Road. Ms. Huntington-Whitely owns two Rolex Daytona watches, a Rolex Daytona Rose Gold watch as well as a Rolex Daytona stainless steel model 116520.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan has a famously large Rolex Daytona collection and owns a wide range of some of the most prized and prestigious watches in the world. The NBA superstar reportedly adores his Rolex 116506 Cosmograph Daytona Platinum With Ice Blue Dial, a luxurious and beautiful watch made from platinum, one of the most durable watch case materials on the planet. Wearing the same watch as the king of basketball will no doubt make you feel like a king yourself.
Another Rolex Daytona celebrity is American singer, songwriter, and producer John Legend, one of the most successful individuals in the music industry today. The singer is one of only fifteen people in the world to have won all four creative honors, and owns a platinum Rolex Daytona Chronograph Diamond.
Elle Macpherson, an Australian model, actress, and businesswoman famously wore a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona men's watch before the company started marketing the brand towards women as well, creating their famous Rolex Daytona women timepieces. Elle Macpherson’s favorite Rolex Daytona watch is a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116528 made out of 18K Yellow Gold, with a champagne color dial and black subdials. In addition, the businesswoman owns a Rolex Daytona White Dial made out of 18K gold.
What models of the Rolex Daytona are trending?
The Oysterflex edition third generation watches are pretty popular, such as the Rolex Daytona 116515, with an Everose gold casing, the Rolex Daytona 116519, with a white gold casing, and the Rolex Daytona 116518 40 mm, with a yellow gold casing. The most fashionable Rolex Daytona watches in 2021 are important to many people who want to be as trend conscious as possible.
One of the most up-and-coming watches this year also happens to be one of the most popular Rolex Daytona watches to begin with, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500, with an Oystersteel Rolex Daytona finish, a Rolex Daytona Cerachrom bezel, and white or black dial. For more information on why the Rolex Daytona 116500 is so popular, check out a Rolex Daytona 116500 review.
Rolex Daytona FAQ:
What kind of watch is a Rolex Daytona?
This timepiece was originally designed for professional motor racers. The Rolex Daytona features utilities to measure elapsed time as well as to calculate average speed.
Why is the Rolex Daytona so expensive?
At $13,500, this is the Rolex Daytona's official price, and it is actually quite reasonable for what you are getting. However, with a limited supply and ever-increasing demand, the watch tends to be marked up on second-hand sources.
Is a Rolex Daytona a good investment?
Limited editions and special models of the Rolex Daytona are especially good Rolex Daytona investments, since they will have a higher value to collectors down the road. That means that although a Rolex Daytona watch is pretty pricey upfront, you will actually make that money back and more in the long term, as long as you do not wreck the watch.
Will Rolex Daytona go up in value?
Are you wondering which Rolex Daytona should I buy so you can track its growing value? A good rule of thumb is that any men’s Rolex Daytona stainless steel watch will consistently rise in value, while the others are unpredictable.
Can you buy a Rolex Daytona for $1,000?
The cost of Rolex Daytona stainless steel retails for around $13,500 at minimum, and they do not tend to depreciate over time even when purchasing a second-hand watch. If the price seems too low, you are likely paying the Rolex Daytona copy price for a knockoff brand, not the price of a real Rolex Daytona.
How many Daytonas does Rolex make a year?
There is no official statement from Rolex for how many Rolex Daytona watches the company produces per year, but experts estimate that Rolex Daytona production amounts to approximately 14,000 watches per year. That Rolex Daytona production number may seem small, but each watch has to be painstakingly put together and calibrated, with many of the production procedures done by hand.
Is Rolex Daytona automatic?
All Zenith and later models are automatic. Whether you are looking for a Rolex Daytona men's watch or a Rolex Daytona women’s watch, rest assured that it will not be a hassle to use.
Does Rolex still make the Daytona?
Although Rolex doesn’t share their numbers and schedules with the public, they do release new models of the Daytona whenever they do a limited production run -- such as the Rolex Daytona Formula 1 limited edition or the Rolex Daytona Black Venom limited edition.
Who wears Rolex Daytona?
Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona is a perfect example of famous celebrities wearing the brand and contributing to its prestige. However, possibly the most extravagant case would be with Jay Z.
Jay Z wanted all his celebrity friends to attend his eponymous Gala with him -- but rather than send them boring paper invites, he sent them all Rolex Daytona Everose Gold watches instead! For Jay Z, Rolex Daytona was the best invite possible.
What is the most popular Rolex Daytona?
Two of the most popular watches are the Rolex Daytona 16523 (Zenith generation) and the Rolex Daytona 116523 (third generation). Both are considered collectables, and both run in the same price range, between $9,000 and $15,000 depending on condition.
What is the best Rolex Daytona?
The Rolex Daytona 6241 is considered by many collectors to be the rarest and most valuable of the Daytona line. Also known as the “Rolex Daytona John Player Special” due to its coloration, this watch was made way back in the 1960s -- and less than 300 total were ever produced!
Is a broken Rolex Daytona worth anything?
Yes! Even authentic vintage Rolex Daytona leather straps in decent condition can run at a minimum $100, more if in better care. And that’s just the strap, most Rolexes can be repaired by a qualified specialist and restored to their original value.
What is the best Rolex model to buy?
In the great debate of Rolexes, it comes down to Rolex Daytona vs Submariner. The Submariner is considered a far more luxurious but pricey option, while the Daytona series is a more affordable and accessible option with many of the same latest innovations built in.
How much does it cost to service a Rolex Daytona watch?
The Rolex Daytona service cost will typically run between $600 to the low thousands, depending on condition, model, and other factors. Make sure to keep your guarantee papers, which also double as your manufacturer’s warranty.
Can I sell a Rolex Daytona without papers?
You should keep your Rolex Daytona papers, as they help prove the authenticity. The same is true for the Rolex Daytona box. Not only are the guarantee papers (or for modern watches, guarantee cards) necessary to repair your Rolex, but they’re often considered part of the “Rolex Daytona box and papers” set that watch collectors are seeking before they buy. For this reason, expect to get a lower offer than you would receive if you still had it.