Our Pick Of The Best Rolex Daytona References For The Hungry Horophile
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Our Pick Of The Best Rolex Daytona References For The Hungry Horophile

Our Pick Of The Best Rolex Daytona References For The Hungry Horophile


Hello, Timelords! We are back again with a look at the best Rolex Daytona references for all you hungry horophiles. And we can see why you’d join us for this article. After all, the collection has been steamrolling since 1963 and has become one of Rolex’s key models.

You may be asking about the Rolex Daytona Rainbow, how much is a Rolex Daytona or even the elusive panda dial that is associated with the late, great Paul Newman. Originally named the “Cosmograph”, The Rolex Daytona is named after the legendary Daytona race course.

It is given sporty aesthetics like three sub counters at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, as well as a tachymetric scale, used to measure elapsed time when beaming around a track. And we know you want the essential information on all things watches, fresh from the track.

With more criticism than Boris Johnson’s reign at 10 Downing Street, the strange design with screw down pushers eventually gave way to a diehard fan base that caused the Rolex Daytona waitlist rocketing to a wait of at least 5 years. 

Truth be told, we don’t have the patience or the time to wait that long to buy a Rolex! Good job Chrono Hunter has an alternative route to get the watch of your dreams. Thanks to our trusted network of luxury retailers, multiple offers, quick turnaround and unrivalled brand expertise, buy a pre-owned Rolex quickly via this essential form here

But now it’s time to focus on the king of horological comebacks. Let’s delve into our picks of the best Rolex Daytona references for the hungry horophile. 


Rolex Daytona Reference 6239


If you know about the collection, you may know about Paul Newman.

6239 - Source - Reddit

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Well renowned actor Paul Newman who featured in such films like Le Mans, was spotted with the infamous Daytona on his wrist. As a gift from his wife Joanna Woodward in 1972, he had a version with an exotic dial which many horophiles and avid collectors go bananas for. 

This moves the markers onto the outer track, exposing a monochrome face. While his edition sold for around £15 million at auction, we promise not all of this collection is as expensive!

Typically made out of steel across different variants and watches, its pushers and crown, not to mention the black or white dial, pertains to its ever present natural sporty allure.

The 6239 has a standard face with the markers in their usual position. Famed for being the first Daytona to have “Cosmograph” on the front, this set the precedent for Daytona watches we have become accustomed to. Take for example the engraved tachymetric scale, the “Units Per Hour” text at 1 o’clock and the contrasting face and sub counters outlay. 

If you are looking for the starting point of the Daytona we know today, look no further than the reference 6239. While updates like a ceramic bezel and sapphire glass as opposed to acrylic are not in this reference, it adheres to the vintage vibe of the watches. 

We recommend this watch as an investment due to it being the start of the incredible Daytona journey, not to mention its associations with Paul Newman and his very own pricey Daytona reference 6239. 

While you can buy a Rolex Daytona 6239 at retail due to it being discontinued, you can buy it on the pre-owned market for around £50,000 for the standard face at the time of writing.


Rolex Daytona “John Mayer” Reference 116508


When a Rolex is given a nickname, take a look at the Rolex Submariner “Hulk” or the GMT-Master “Pepsi”, they tend to be extremely lauded by you watch fiends!

Rolex Daytona 116508 John Mayer Yellow Gold Green Dial

Reference 116508 - Source - Reddit

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The Daytona “John Mayer'' 116508 got its nickname after he waxed lyrical about it on a show talking about watches. It subsequently boomed in popularity due to John Mayer’s presence as a musician and passionate collector. 

Of course, it wasn’t faring too badly before such an acclaim. Its yellow gold construction and highly attractive green dial is exceptional. Upon its release in 2016 during the boom of gold watches, it jumped straight into the ranks of the iconic Daytona. 

Crafted out of 18K yellow gold on the case and bracelet, the watches aren't too gaudy due to its clever play on the Daytonas sports heritage. Featuring three sub dials and a tachymetric scale to measure speed, reference 116508 doesn’t deviate from its illustrious past. 

The green face with sunburst finish is very tasteful, especially since the colour closely resembles the same British Racing Green you may have seen on cars haring around the track in 1959. 

Powered by the automatic calibre 4130 movement, it operates between a highly precise +2/-2 variance per day. For clarity, that destroys the COSC certification which we can appreciate as it’s a Superlative Chronometer movement. Like Tina Turner declared, this movement might be simply the best. 

Its association with John Mayer and its very popular gold case and green dial combination allows this to be a watch that's more than suitable as a possible investment. 

While you can no longer buy a Rolex Daytona “John Mayer” Reference 116508 at retail due to it being discontinued, it sells on the pre-owned market for around £70,000 at the time of writing.


Rolex Daytona Reference 126506


We’ve seen a couple of discontinued watches, how about one that’s so hot off the horological press, they’ve had to cool it down with an icy face?

126506 - Source - Rolex

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Introducing, The Daytona Reference 126506 in platinum. As a material, platinum is very rarely used in the horological world. Recently seen on the new A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1, platinum is much more expensive than gold, released for special occasions. Oh yes, Rolex doesn't use any old platinum either. This is the 950 good stuff and their watches are full of it!

Rolex released the platinum Daytona as an updated model…but this time, it’s back with a bang! The case and bracelet are crafted out of platinum while the face is given an ice blue sheen with a highly contrasting chestnut brown Cerachrom bezel. It may seem that the colour combination is bizarre, but in fact, it’s a truly fascinating drop that looks even better than Ken and his vintage Carrera watches.

Featuring three sub counters and a tachymetric scale, the bare bones of the Daytona’s heritage is there. It just so happens that it’s been caught in a timekeeping whirlwind of precious metals and innovative colours.

Powered by the new automatic calibre 4131 movement, the Daytona watches retains its -2/+2 second per day variance with added protection via a Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorber. In effect, this deals with pesky magnetic rays or accidental trips after a few too many Long Island Ice Teas.

Crafted out of the eternally popular platinum material and it being so fresh out of Rolex’s catalogue, this may be a Daytona watch to consider as an investment. You can buy a Rolex Daytona Reference 126506 upon requesting a price at the time of writing. 


Rolex Daytona Reference 126503


Speaking of fresh Daytona watches, it would be a crime not to introduce the very suave Daytona 126503. 

126503 - Source - Rolex

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Men are always a little iffy about diamonds on their watches. What if we were to tell you that they are actually incredibly popular at the moment? With timepieces like Graffs Hallucinations coming in at over £40 million or TAG Heuer’s lab-grown diamond infused Plasma Diamant D’Avant Garde with 4 carats worth of diamonds, these are the watches that social elites are lapping and snapping up due to their luxurious feel, elite status and timeless style. 

The Daytona reference 126503 very much follows suit, but takes away from the overly glitzy elements of those watches. With a decidedly conservative steel, yellow gold bracelet and case, the eyes are instantly drawn into the wonder of the dial. 

With a yellow gold bezel featuring a tachymetric scale the dials face is pitch black, allowing the yellow gold sub counters and hands to steal the show promoting crystal clear legibility. But where are the diamonds I hear you say? Take a look at the hour markers which are composed of diamonds, set in yellow gold. 

We don’t know about you, but we feel that the diamond and yellow gold combination, all boasted on a pitch black dial, is just fascinating. It boasts a style that is uncommon as well, due to the Daytona watches having its sporty effects like a tachymetric scale and sub counters. 

Sports-chic may be the perfect definition for such a model while at the same time providing the durability of a marathon runner. Besides, these watches can last decades if properly taken care of. Don’t know how to look after your precious timepiece? Check out our handy guide here.

Powered by the 4131 automatic calibre, the Daytona reference 126503 has a 72 hour power reserve and a daily variation of -2/+2 seconds per day. If it’s any more accurate, we may have to install them onto the German train lines!

You can buy a Rolex Daytona Reference 126503 at retail for £18,100 at the time of writing.


Rolex Daytona 116519LN


Watches and Wonders 2021 brought a variety of Rolex watches that caught the eye. From an old school re-interpretation of the Rolex Explorer II, the Daytona Reference 116519LN was the real show stopper.

116519LN - Source - Reddit

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Without getting too spacey on you, the dial is crafted out of meteorite…a favourite with 2023 Wimbledon Champion Carlos Alcaraz. Yes, you heard that right. Taken from the Gibeon asteroid that crashed into earth millions of years ago, Rolex was the first brand to adopt meteorite into watches, starting with the Daytona then stemming to other collections like the Day-Date and the GMT-Master.

The highly unique pattern, named the “Widmanstatten patterns” cannot be influenced or changed, meaning each meteorite dialled Rolex watches is completely unique to each other. Its silver sheen is due to the high iron and nickel content of the meteorite, which sets the perfect backdrop for the black sub counters and black Cerachrom bezel that circles it. 

For the rest of the Daytona, the case is crafted out of the highly lauded white gold material and fitted with a black Oysterflex bracelet. The hands and hour markers on these watches are similarly crafted out of white gold. While they may appear tough to see, they are dosed up with Rolex’s own luminescence, named Chromalight, ensuring solid visibility. 

Powered by the automatic calibre 4130 movement, the Daytona reference 116519LN has a Superlative Chronometer certification, ticking the horological boxes for both precision and accuracy. This is enhanced by the Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers. 

The highly unorthodox meteorite dial and the precious metal construction of the case, means these Daytona watches are a pretty solid investment opportunity. 

You can no longer buy a Rolex Daytona 116519LN at retail due to it being discontinued, but you can buy it on the pre-owned market for around £100,000 at the time of writing.


Rolex Daytona “Rainbow” 116595RBOW


The Daytona ‘Rainbow” gets its nickname for a very obvious reason. 

116595RBOW - Source - Reddit

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Judy Garland, stay at home. There’s a rainbow which not even you could wish for! Rolex have been bejewelling their watches since the 1980s, when they released a Daytona 6269 with 240 brilliant cut gems and a solid gold case. 

Fast forward to 2018, and we have Daytona watches that take the jewels up a notch. Crafted out of Everose gold, these Daytona watches decide to exchange diamonds for the more colourful sapphire gems. On the lugs and the crown guards are topped up with 56 baguette cut diamonds which marry up beautifully. 

In 2020, Stormzy flexed this number at the Brit Awards while other celebs have shown the pull of this hot piece such as Jay-Z who sported an 18K Everose gold model to his Shawn Carter Foundation Gala. Meanwhile, Jonah Hill and Antoine Griezmann are just two gentlemen that wear these watches, in yellow gold, reference 116519 and reference 116595RBOW respectively. 

The bezel is kitted out with 36 baguette cut sapphires which are coloured and designed in such a way to resemble a rainbow in its circular frame. Each sapphire is not tainted or coloured to get the desired effect. In fact, Rolex runs through thousands just to find the perfect colourway. How’s that for horological trivia!

The hour markers are also made up of colourful sapphires which stand out well against the black dial. Crafted out of 18K Everose gold, the case is the perfect set up for the brightly lit gems and diamonds. The sub counters are similarly an Everose gold shade with the outer track and the hands. 

Powered by the automatic calibre 4130, the Daytona watch is a Superlative Chronometer which has a 72 hour power reserve and a sublime degree of accuracy and precision. To see a Daytona with such sublime jewelling is a shock to the system, but a welcome one. It’s a very exciting prospect to see this Daytona look like something fell off the King’s Coronation carriage! 

As such, it’s an investment opportunity that you should certainly keep your eyes on. While you can no longer buy a Rolex Daytona “Rainbow” 116595BRBOW at retail, you can buy it on the pre-owned market for around £400,000 at the time of writing.


Rolex Daytona Reference 116500LN


The Daytona 116500LN was a monumental change to the Daytona’s lineup. 

116500LN - Source - Reddit

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Measuring 40mm, the Daytona 116500LN sees no drastic differences from its predecessors. Crafted out of Oyster Steel, the Daytona is hypoallergenic and the 904L equivalent of your standard steel. Essentially, this is top grade stuff.

Crafted in the classic Oyster case, the Daytona prioritises its waterproofness through a solid case back, a screw down crown and screw down bezel, all of which pertains to Rolex’s “Triplock” system. 100 metres of water resistance is not too shabby either for an out and out racing watch. 

Featuring a black dial, these watches are given stainless steel markers and hands. Similarly, the sub counters are etched with a steely ring while their centres are black to match the whole face. The three sub counters are all chronograph functions, relating to a 30 minute counter, small running seconds and a 12 hour counter at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock respectively. 

This is all well and good of the Daytona, but why is this reference so integral? Essentially, this is the reference that kickstarted the brand new Cerachrom bezel. Cerachrom boasts a number of 

pros over its stainless steel predecessor. Take for example its resistance to UV rays, its ability to be less likely to scratch, or the extremely low likelihood of its rich, black colour fading. 

Cerachrom was and still is a staple of Daytona watches. From this point, even the engravings on the bezel changed in font, revealing a more precise and neater standard which is more legible and filled with platinum, boasting their high contrast change. 

This change is massive for Rolex Daytonas and added a little extra flair to the beautiful sports collection. As such, due to its historical ties as the first automatic sports watch to feature a ceramic bezel, this reference may be one to look out for as an investment.

While you can no longer buy a Rolex Daytona 116500LN at retail due to it being discontinued, you can buy it on the pre-owned market for around £25,000 at the time of writing.


Rolex Daytona Reference 126505


Back to modernity for now. After all, Rolex are spectacular innovators, constantly evolving to rival Charles Darwin himself. 

126505 - Source - Rolex

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The Rolex Daytona reference 126505 follows the classic Daytona design codes with modernised pushers and crown. Given a serrated edge, they are easier to turn and press which is perfect for the driver needing to quickly measure his track time. Formula 1 petrolheads need not apply. For me and you, we’ll be right at home measuring how long it is until the weekend.

This Daytona may be a little garish to some. But we can assure you these are truly fantastic watches due to their imposing colour. Measuring 40mm, it is crafted out of 18K Everose gold which blends copper, platinum and gold into Rolex’s patented pink gold sheen,  

It’s a perfect size for the modern user who aspires to wearing luxury watches for everyday use. The bezel is similarly created out of Everose gold and has a tachymetric scale in black engravings. The scale is a staple of the Daytona layout and is capable of measuring up to 400 units per hour. Perfect for the last ditch run to the train.

Featuring a brand new sundust dial, the dials face offers a delightfully light pink sheen that projects light exceptionally well with slight brushing that extends outwards from the dials centre. The snailed sub counters are highly contrasted in a pitch black, allowing for direct visibility at a quick glance. Given a healthy dose of chromalight, the watches are highly legible for those dark nights in the office submerged in spreadsheets.

The Oyster bracelet is a great innovation from the 1930’s that offers optimal comfort and style on the wrist. Powered by the automatic calibre 4131 movement, the watches have a weekend-proof 72 hour power reserve and fall under Rolex guarantee of a Superlative Chronometer.

Its classy colour scheme and highly reputable automatic movement means these are watches that won’t do you much wrong. If you’re brave, a pink shirt will look sublime. If you are more conservative, keep a grey suit shirt handy to let the watches pop.

As such, it may be worth considering this watch as an investment watch. 

You can buy a Rolex Daytona 126505 at retail for £35,800 at the time of writing. 


Rolex Daytona Reference 126508


We’ve been through quite a few watches in this article, but yellow gold is one that’s yet to be boasted throughout the entirety of the model. 

126508 - Source - Rolex

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Built in the same Oyster case as per other Daytona editions, it is crafted entirely out of yellow gold, from the casing through to the bracelet. The bezel is similarly crafted out of yellow gold and given a black tachymetric scale which is a fantastic tool for endurance drivers due to its ability to measure elapsed time. 

The dial is a fantastic point of interest due to its very pure cream sheen. Given a white dial, the sub counters are edged with yellow gold, as are the hour markers and hands. The sweep seconds can offer 1/8th of a second accuracy, while other sub counters competently measure both the hours and the minutes. 

The yellow gold isn’t any random materials either. Since Rolex have been family owned since their inception in 1905, they have slowly been creeping towards being self serving, to the extent where every aspect of the business is conducted in-house. This even comes down to the manufacturing of materials, as they have their own foundries which can make only the best 18K alloys. 

Pulsating along at a very reasonable -2/+2 seconds per day variance due to the mighty 4131 automatic calibre, This Daytona pulls no punches in terms of its solid movement potential. 

Its precious metal construction, complemented with the very pure white dial is something that gives the sporty Daytona a new lease of life, ideal to slap on as an elegant dress watch. Consequently, we think you should keep an eye out for this model as a possible investment 

You can buy a Rolex Daytona 126508 at retail for £33,300 at the time of writing. For a price like that, let’s hope you can find one on the sea bed like an Australian Surfer did when he found a vintage Submariner.


Rolex Daytona Reference 6265


The Buzz Aldrin of the watchmaking world. Enough said. This is a genuine icon in every sense of the word.

You may know this piece as the “Unicorn”. This is because this is actually the only white gold edition of a vintage Rolex Daytona that has been made aware to the public. 

Selling for upwards of £5 million, this is the second highest value ever paid for a Rolex Daytona. You may notice the Sigma emblem on the dial. This is used as proof of legitimacy, used by Switzerland to confirm that the timepiece is made exclusively out of solid gold. You can probably see why it’s named “Unicorn”!

Representing the last edition of the manual winding Daytona, this edition gleaned the name “Oyster” due to its screw down pushers and screw down crown, pertaining to the classic waterproof case of the watch.

Reference 6265 - Source - Sotheby’s

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Originating from the 1970s, you had the option of getting this reference in either 14K or 18K gold. Admittedly, our preferences lie with the real deal 18K gold edition. At 37.5mm, the watch was a perfect size for its era and well ahead of its time. It now represents a rather slimmer fitting fitting in with the modern gentleman’s need for smaller watches, more in the spirit of a dress watch than a sports one. 

Fitted with a yellow gold bezel, the tachymetric scale black, and etched in to enhance its legibility. Given a champagne gold dial, the watch is seamless in its build and colour scheme. It oozes enchantment and sparkles of the highest horological order.

Featuring three black sub counters in uncommon positions of 3, 6 and 9 o’clock which reference a 30 minute counter, 12 hour counter and a running seconds respectively, this is a timepiece to bow down to. As revered as StoneHenge or the Mayan civilization, this watch sets the horological barometer when it comes to an out and out dress watch.

For vintage lovers, there is no modern day Chromalight. In fact, the dial is luminated with tritium lume which is before the era of Super-Luminova. While it’s not as long lasting as Super-Luminova or Chromalight, it’s vintage charm is a good enough reason to enjoy it. 

Replacing the “Daytona” text on modern editions, the word “Cosmograph'' takes its place. Featuring the automatic calibre Rolex 727 movement, it worked from the Valjoux 72 A movement, but offered a few updates like a fresh balance that bolstered the VpH up from 18,000 to 21,000. After all, it had to reach its Superlative Chronometer status somehow!

Its precious metal construction and its storied history means that this particular reference is an integral part of the Rolex Daytona’s collection, and makes for a potential investment. 

While you can no longer buy a Rolex Daytona 6265 at retail due to it being discontinued, you can buy it on the pre-owned market for around £110,000 at the time of writing. 




We’ve finally climbed the timekeeping tree and reached the Zenith (no movement pun intended) of the best Rolex Daytona references. They have unequivocally set the barometer among enthusiasts and collectors. We’ve seen a myriad of great watches from the bejewelled Rolex “Rainbow” with its array of sapphires and diamonds to the revered Daytona 6265.

With a 5 year wait time becoming increasingly normalised in the Rolex world (take a look at the Sky-Dweller for example), that still doesn't mean you should subject yourself to it. After all, for a little more, you can get your hands on one on the pre-owned market. Plus you will not lose as much subject to the model when compared to retail prices.

In case you feel like these Rolex Daytonas do not do your horological pallet justice, here is a table of our other top picks;




Daytona 6263 “Big Red”

Around £80,000 (As of August 2023)

Daytona 126518LN

At retail for £25,800 (As of August 2023)

Daytona 126509

At retail for £35,800 (As of August 2023)

Daytona 126500LN

At retail for £12,700 (As of August 2023)


We hope you have enjoyed our rundown of the best Rolex Daytona references. If this has got your horological taste buds tingling, perhaps it’s time to look at the best place to buy a second hand Rolex?

Can’t wait to buy a Rolex? Want to get your hands on the newest Rolex Daytonas to date? Check out ChronoHunter for the most competitive prices on the market in real time. Compare offers from some of the finest and most trusted retailers and enjoy the best possible buying and selling luxury watch experience. If you want to buy a watch or sell a watch, we can discuss your specific requirements. With peerless service, quick turnaround and outstanding Trustpilot reviews, save money the smart way today.


Further Reading:

MarketWatch: How Much Can You Sell Your Rolex “Batman” 126710BLNR Through Chrono Hunter?

Chrono Hunter's Top Rolex Watches For Investment In 2023: The Essential Guide


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