The Rolex Daytona Cosmograph is the most sought-after timepiece in history. A watch that in 2017 set a new record at a memorable auction!
La Rolex Daytona Cosmograph Of Paul Newman : absolute timekeeper
Rolex has long accompanied sporting exploits. This time, it is the Daytona racetrack, destined to become mythical, that gives the name to one of the most sought-after watches in history. A Rolex Oyster, of course. But a very special Oyster.
The Daytona Circuit and the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph
The Daytona Beach racetrack in Florida was inaugurated for the first time in 1904. The automobile was in its infancy, but already a mad race was being run on the sand of Daytona Beach. Here, between 1904 and 1935, a legend was written.
Of the 14 world speed records, five were set by Sir Malcolm Campbell. The most important of which, at the wheel of his famous Bluebird, reached 276 mph (445 km/h). What was he wearing on his wrist? A Rolex Oyster, embossed with the crown logo.
Already closely associated with racing, Rolex became the official timekeeper of the motor racing circuit in 1959. But a change was to come. The Daytona race was no longer run, but a super-circuit now called Daytona International Speedway.
Wherever Rolex goes, the watchmaking feat is never far away… To celebrate this new collaboration, Rolex is publishing a watch that is up to the task. The Rolex Daytona Cosmograph ref. 6239. A piece produced to be the ultimate measuring instrument.
The Daytona is therefore robust, made of steel, waterproof, and its tachometric scale on the dial allows the average speed to be read. A watch thought in echo to the endurance of the racers of this race… And among these drivers of all horizons, a certain Newman…
The Daytona Of The Iconic Hollywood Actor
In the same year that the iconic Porsche 911 was produced, Rolex introduced the Daytona watch. The famous actor Paul Newman loved both. But it is his Rolex that goes down in history.
This story was written in 1969. The most mythical actor of his generation discovers the pleasure of racing while playing the driver Frank Capua. He learns to drive and, without expecting it, is taken by the passion of driving.
That same year, his wife, actress Joanne Woodward, gave him a Rolex Daytona Cosmograph. But still shocked by the motorbike accident he had that same year, 1969, she had an inscription engraved on the back of the Rolex. ‘Drive Carefully Me’.
To ward off bad luck, he never leaves his Rolex. In the 1980s, the piece was nicknamed the ‘Oyster Paul Newman’. However, in the same year, it was lost…
Rolex Daytona, References and a Historic Sale
If the Rolex Daytona watch is an icon, not all references are as sought after as the 6263.
Reference 6263. The Switch to Automatic.
Produced between 1971 and 1987, the Rolex Daytona reference 6263 is the most sought after. Firstly because it precedes the turning point of the automatic winding. Then and above all because it is the reference that comes with screwed pushers. These push-buttons have undergone only 3 evolutions. Always signed with the mythical Rolex crown.
Powered by the calibre 727, the reference 6263 also features materials dear to Rolex. Made of steel, 18K gold and 14K gold… These materials make these sublime and, above all, high-performance watches more resistant!
But in 1987, Rolex innovated once again and brought its icon into the automatic era. The Rolex Daytona is now equipped with the Zenith El Primero movement.
This new automatic movement is driven by a ref calibre. 4030. Derived from the Zenith 400 El Primero, it gives it the nickname of Daytona Zenith. Thus the modified movement, the watch increases its power reserve from 42H to 52H.
The tachymeter bezel is now made of steel or precious metal. And one notices the famous inverted 6, so coveted by collectors. IThat’s all it took to create a huge buzz. The fascination is intact and this new version of the Rolex Daytona is forcing the company to set up waiting lists. Since 1987.
2017, The $18 Million Rolex Sale
Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona was thought lost. That is, until this auction in late 2017 in New York. And it is Paul Newman’s daughter, herself, who best tells the secret of his disappearance.
One day her father gave it to her boyfriend at the time, James Cox. “Dad regularly went to check on James’ progress. When he asked him what time it was, as he had apparently forgotten to wind his watch that morning, James replied that he didn’t know the time and that he had never owned a watch. Dad then handed James his Rolex and said: If you can remember to wind it every morning, it really does tell the time.
On this day in October 2017, the Rolex Oyster Paul Newman broke the record of the century – after 12 minutes of bidding and phone bidding, the exceptional piece went for almost $18 million.
Rolex Daytona Cosmograph Features
The Rolex Daytona is an icon in the Rolex repertoire. And two of its many features make it a favourite with adventurers and outdoorsmen.
The Daytona still celebrates Rolex’s historic links to the exploits of mankind. A special relationship with motor racing, as the world of Formula 1 has adopted it as its Global Partner and Official Watch.
The 4130 Movement of the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph
The Cosmograph Daytona is equipped with the 4130 movement. A self-winding mechanical chronograph movement developed and manufactured by Rolex. And it is another technical revolution for the company.
Because of its architecture, it has fewer components than a standard chronograph. It therefore improves the reliability of the watch. Better still, the resulting space saving has made it possible to increase the size of the barrel spring… Increasing the power reserve of the calibre 4130 to 72 hours.
The performance of the 4130 movement is undeniably linked to the adoption of a vertical – and not lateral – clutch to engage the steel chronograph.
The Cerachrom Bezel
Made in Switzerland, like many watchmaking icons, the Cosmogrpah Rolex Daytona obviously shines with a rare elegance.
In some versions, its high-tech ceramic monobloc adds to its beauty. Its hardness makes its steel virtually scratch-proof. And, despite corrosion and the effects of UV rays, its colour will never be damaged. All of which ensures that this Daytona icon will be passed on from generation to generation!
The Cosmograph Rolex Daytona in steel is available here, at a price of 13700 €.
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