A Complete History Of The Iconic Rolex Daytona - Chrono Hunter
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A Complete History Of The Iconic Rolex Daytona - Chrono Hunter

A Complete History Of The Iconic Rolex Daytona - Chrono Hunter


Well, Timelords. Where do we begin with the illustrious Rolex Daytona?

Inspired by the iconic Cosmograph Daytona track, dolled up with everything a speed freak would need, including a tachymetric scale and chronograph functionality, it has a claim to fame like no other watch. 

Nowadays, the collection is cemented in horological history with various nicknames including Big Red and Sigma Dial. Its real name being confirmed in 1963, and the story behind the collections stems way back to their venture into chronograph models back in the 1950s.  

A pure symbol of speed, energy and racing spirit, it is easily one of the most coveted and prestigious collections around. Their vintage pieces are lusted after and given holy grail status even more than Pope Francis while modern versions are snapped up before they leave the boutique. It’s estimated you’ll have to wait around five years to get your hands on a model!

The guys over at The Watch Centre similarly run through “The History Of The Rolex Daytona'', including the rocky beginnings and the incredible zenith as they peaked as one of the ultimate racing watches. Good stuff, gents!

So, if you are interested in the collection and want to feel the need for speed like many avid collectors, it’s time to put your horological metal to the pedal as Chrono Hunter runs through the incredible history of this storied collection.  

Let’s hope we don’t use the word “Iconic” over and over again!


Key Rolex Daytona References


Before we venture any further, we know some of you devoted Timelords will have a specific model in mind that you want to know all about. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered! Below is a handy table that runs through the chronology of each reference and their release dates. 





1963 - 1969


1965 - 1969


1965 - 1969




1971 - 1988


1970 - 1972


1971 - 1988


1988 - 2000




2000 - 2016

Ref. 116500LN

2016 - Present Day


2000s - Present Day


2000s - Present Day


2000s - Present Day


2000s - Present Day


Latest Models - 2020 Onwards


Build Up To The Rolex Daytona


They were born out of their experimentation with chronograph watches. To be more specific, they worked with mechanical chronographs during the 1930s. Trust us, it’s important to make this differentiation now instead of later!

During this period, they started to become more invested in the chronograph pieces. In fact, this is when ref. 6234 was released, featuring three sporty sub counters in the standard chronograph formation of 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. While the 6234 reference sounds like a Cosmograph Daytona reference, the name was not adopted until 1963.  

Ref. 6234 therefore hung around as a variation of the Oyster named, Oyster Chronograph. This was the watch adorned by highly revered sportsmen like Sir Malcom Campbell who broke the world speed record at a whopping 301.13 mph in 1935. 

The timepiece swiftly became popularised by the racing community due to the models reliability and ultra precision. As such, they smelt an avenue for a brand new line of chronograph watches which may just be the answer to the sporty gentleman. Please enter ref. 6238 and eventually ref. 6239.  

The 6238 was designed with a face that set the aesthetic codes for the future of the collection. Given a tachymetric scale, most of these models were made during the 1960s and only had around 2000 models made in total. 


The Starting Gun: 1963 - 1988




Its great name found itself on the reference 6239. 


Source - Christie’s

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They had found themselves associated with one of the biggest racing platforms in the world, The Daytona Speedway. In 1962, Rolex became the official timekeeper of the Daytona at the Florida Speedway. The partnership would confirm their link with racing and boost the reputation of the Cosmograph Daytona when it was released one year later. 

Originally released in 1963, the model was actually named the “Cosmograph” as opposed to its title that’s nowadays commonly adopted. Its name came into fruition in 1965 and was found proudly on the dial.  

The ref. 6239 took the 6238s codes and made a few worthy adjustments. The main one being that the classic three sub counters chronograph structure was given an inverted colouring to the dial. For example, from what was initially a silver face with chronograph silver sub-counters soon became a black face with silver sub-counters. 

The tachymetric scale was changed. Instead of resting on the face of the piece, the scale was now situated on the bezel. We are sure you recognise the tachymetric style on numerous models today! 

Reference 6239 represented a design change to a chronograph sporty allure as offered by the inverse sub counters and tachymetric scale that was now so prominent on the bezel. The “Daytona” text on the face would undergo an alteration within this reference, including moving from 12 o’clock to just above the sub counter at 6 o’clock in 1967. 

The ref. 6239 underwent a brief evolution phase, including the introduction of a number of “exotic dials”. These dials were created by the horological company, Singer, a strong team with a reputation for releasing strong dials with excellent design. 

So, just how important were the exotic dials? Well, this is the face that was chosen by none other than Paul Newman


Paul Newman - Reference 6239


Yes, Timelords. The model is so important that it requires a heading all of its own!


Source - Sotheby’s

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The 6239 had become a playground for the brand to try out new chronograph designs and styles. After adopting the Singer face on a few watches, one version was picked up by Paul Newman’s wife and actress, Joanne Woodward. She bought him the timepiece while he was filming “Winning” in 1969. After a small accident, she bought reference 6239 with the words “Drive Carefully Me” inscribed on the back. 

Given a white exotic face with black subdials and a red minute track, the timepiece was regularly won by Paul Newman. Later given to his daughter’s boyfriend, the model would end up at a Philipps auction in 2017 which sold for around £15.1 million. How’s that for loose change!

While we won’t get into their downfall just yet, it was incredibly important to the heritage of the collection. 


Personality Of Reference 6239

  • Predominantly stainless steel/ Some precious metal versions
  • Stick hour markers/hands
  • Inverse chronograph sub-counters
  • Daytona text situated above 6 o’clock
  • Valjoux 72 movement
  • Pump pushers


Main Changes/Key Alterations

  • It was the first ever “Daytona”
  • Brought the tachymetric scale onto the bezel
  • Moved the “Daytona” text to above chronograph sub-counter, located at 6 o’clock
  • Inverted colouring of the sub-counters
  • Worn by Hollywood great Paul Newman that saw its popularity soar.




The reference 6240 took the design of the 6239 and added a few horological whistles and bells to make the watch physically more sporty. 


Source - Christies

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For example, the 6239 utilised pushers which were operated with a pump mechanism. Yet, reference 6240 went a step further in ensuring the water resistance of the pieces by choosing screw-down pushers instead. This move would result in the reference 6240 being known as the Oyster Daytona, as a link to the durability of the watches. 

The exotic, chronograph style continues over to a few models within the 6240.On standard models, the bezel is enhanced with a black acrylic insert, enhancing the legibility of the tachymetric scale engravings.  

A new text style is released under this reference, named The Solo Dial. This finds that only The “Rolex” text remains below 12 o’clock and the “Oyster Cosmograph” text is removed. 


Personality Of Reference 6240

  • Stick hands/hour markers
  • Steel case
  • Valjoux 722 calibre
  • Screw down pushers
  • New, acrylic insert with engraved tachymetric scale


Main Changes/Key Alterations

  • New “Solo Dial” Variant.
  • Bezel uses an acrylic engraving insert for tachymetric scale.
  • New screw down pushers.




The highly coveted Paul Newman exotic style still continued into this reference. Spoiler alert, this exotic face continues right through to reference 6265!


Source - Christie’s

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The watches remain at a steady case of 37.5mm and maintain their classic chronograph stylings. There is a noticeable change when taking into account the reversion to unthreaded pump pushers. So, what’s the difference between threaded and unthreaded pushers? 

Unthreaded pushers were the pushers that didn’t have the water resistance of bog standard threaded pushers. While they do look more stylish, the threaded pushers are noted by the cog like ring that wraps around the circumference of the pushers. 

Typically available in steel, there are a few variations which come in gold. Beware, these are as rare as a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711! Powered by a new Valjoux 727 calibre, the bezel remains acrylic. Sorry, guys you’ll have to wait a little longer for the elusive Cerachrom variations. 


Personality Of Reference 6241

  • Sized at 37.5mm
  • Powered by the 727 Valjoux calibre
  • Steel or precious metal material
  • Acrylic insert
  • Unthreaded pump style


Main Changes/Key Alterations

  • Unthreaded pump pushers
  • New 727 Valjoux calibre




The ref. 6263 represented a technical improvement to the brand’s collection.


Source - Christie’s

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This reference was the first to include chronometer certification. However, this wasn't universal among all models, so if you wish to buy a Rolex ref. 6263 for the certifications, ensure you check the description.   

This reference features the iconic “Big Red” styling as worn by Ryan Seacrest. Essentially, the exotic, Paul Newman face style is modified to include a Panda chronograph style, loved by many enthusiasts but with a large, red “Daytona” reference above 6 o’clock.  

The 6263 brought back the threaded, screw down pushers with the cog like aesthetics and kept the black acrylic insert with the engraved tachymetric scale. Available in either steel or yellow gold, the “Daytona” and “Cosmograph” text varies per model. For example, the “Daytona” text may be above a 6 o’clock sub counter or under “Cosmograph” at 12 o’clock. 


Personality Of Reference 6263 

  • Crafted out of either steel or precious metal
  • Sized at 37.5mm
  • Black acrylic engraved tachymetric scale
  • Available in either exotic or standard dial face
  • Chronometer certified movements - only for a few
  • Screw down pushers
  • Daytona text either based above 6 o’clock or below Cosmograph


Main Changes/Key Alterations

  • Daytona text found either above 6 o’clock or below “Cosmograph” text at 12 o’clock. 
  • Chronometer certified variants of the Valjoux calibre 727




The ref. 6265 is a unique timepiece that flexes the chronograph design of the collection. 

Source - Sothebys

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The size dropped from 37.5mm, to 37mm. While this isn’t huge, it was a miniscule but effective demonstration of them tinkering with the design elements of the watches. Powered by the Valjoux 727 calibre, the model comes in both steel and yellow gold

With the reference 6265, comes the highly rare “Unicorn”. With just one model crafted out of white gold, this is a never seen material in the collection. Owned by collector John Goldberger and given a similarly unique bark bracelet, the timepiece was sold at a Phillips auction in 2018 for around £4.8 million.  

The bezels are changed in this reference. Instead of using acrylic inserts, the watches use the model's material instead. Rolex then engrave the tachymetric scale and fill them with black to promote their legibility.


Personality Of Reference 6265

  • Typically crafted out of steel (but with one ultra rare piece out of white gold) and yellow gold
  • Feature screw-down pushers
  • Bezel made of steel or gold bezel with black fill for tachymetric scale. 


Main Changes/Key Alterations

  • Changed from an acrylic insert to the case material e.g steel or gold. 
  • One off white gold variant released
  • Introduction of Big Red with large Daytona text




The ref. 6262 doesn’t alter much in terms of the collection’s design. 

Source - Christie’s

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Given either an exotic or a standard face, the watches are crafted out of steel or gold and follow the same bezel stylings of the 6265 in terms of engraving the tachymetric scale and opting for a black fill. The 6262 reverts back to an unthreaded pusher design as opposed to a screw down pusher.


Personality Of Reference 6262

  • Sized at 37mm
  • Crafted out of either steel or yellow gold
  • None screw down pushers
  • Option of exotic/Paul Newman or standard face


Main Changes/Key Alterations

  • Reversion back to threaded pushers




The ref. 6264 represented the death knell for the classic, unthreaded pump pushers. Sorry vintage lovers. All good things must come to an end!


Source - Sotheby’s

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As the last reference to utilise pump pushers, it was however the first to combine a black, printed acrylic tachymetric scale with pump pushers. Offered with either a standard face or Paul Newman’s exotic version. However, don’t be confused if you find your Paul Newman 6264 looks a little different to other variants. 

This is because Rolex have combined both colour co-ordinated seconds track markings with the rest of the dial, opposing the highly legible red track. In fact, the red variants garnered a new nickname, “Musketeer Dials”. One for all and all for one as they say.


Personality Of Reference 6264

  • Sized at 37mm
  • Crafted in both steel and yellow gold
  • Given a new printed acrylic tachymetric scale 
  • Adopting classic pump pushers
  • Offered in either a standard or Paul Newman dial


Main Changes/Key Alterations

  • Paul Newman face undergoes change of colour-coordination instead of bright red track
  • Tachymetric scale printed on bezel




The ref. 16520 was introduced in 1988 with a brand new model, designed with an automatic calibre. 


Source - Christie’s

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Rolex adopted Zenith’s highly successful El Primero calibre which had become popularised following the Quartz Crisis. Rolex made the choice to bring the rate down from 36,600VpH to 28,800VpH and named this, The Calibre 4040. 

The reason for knocking down the rate was to increase the power reserve of the piece,  allowing the timepiece to be out on the racetrack for longer, instead of in and out of service. Rolex made the decision to utilise an automatic calibre following the threat of quartz calibre which were significantly cheaper and more accurate than their mechanical counterparts.  

The Calibre 4040 prides itself on being COSC certified. While technically, this is an incredible feat, collectors found the face to be rather busy due to the additional “SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED” below the Rolex text at 12 o’clock. 

The model jumped up from 37mm to 40mm to deal with the bulky calibre. They had emerged from the flames of the Quartz Crisis with a big smile. We’re back on track and racing to popularity!


Personality Of Reference 16520

  • 40mm case diameter
  • Powered by a brand new COSC certified Calibre 4040
  • Crafted only in steel
  • White or black dial
  • Steel bezel
  • Pushers firmly screwed down
  • New sapphire crystal


Main Changes/Key Alterations

  • Upgrade to 40mm case size
  • Predominantly steel build
  • New COSC certified calibre
  • Screwed down pushers
  • Sapphire crystal




Two references for the price of one? Aren't you lucky!


16528 - Source - Sotheby’s

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The real reason why these two references have been merged into one, is because Rolex directly aligned and followed the design styles with the 1988 release, The ref. 16520. Crafted in either two-tone gold for ref. 16523 or solid gold for the 16528, the dials were available in either gold, white or black. 

Finished with four lines of text below 12 o’clock, there is also red “Daytona” text positioned over 6 o’clock. 


Personality Of Reference 16523/16528

  • Crafted at 40mm
  • Available in either two tone or yellow gold 
  • Four lines of text referring to COSC certification
  • Black, gold or white face


Main Changes/Key Alterations

  • Inclusion of gold material
  • Introduction of gold face


The Daytona Becomes Automatic: 2000 - 2016



Before you question why we’ve repeated a reference, keep note of the extra “1” that’s appeared at the start! They cleverly decided to repeat the serial numbers, but added a simple adjustment in the form of an extra “1”.


Source - Christie’s

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The watches themselves continued to evolve as Rolex shifted into the 21st century. Technically, Rolex improved as they released the first ever in-house calibre within the collection. The model received a higher 72 hour power reserve, but still relied on a number of the El Primero’s characteristics, including the column wheel activators. 

This new calibre would actually impact the physical state of the dial. If you don your monocles, you may notice that the sub counters are slightly raised as opposed to flat into the face like previous models. On the topic of sub counters, you may have noticed that the organisation of the chronograph functions has changed. 

The running seconds at 9 o’clock have been switched to 6 o’clock, leaving a 12 hour counter at 9 o’clock. While we are sure you all appreciated the vintage allure of the older models' hour markers, the 116520 took visibility one step further with wider markers that were filled with lume. 


Personality Of Reference 116520 

Generally, the watches remained the same, apart from a few key changes. 

  • Sized at 40mm
  • Now features an Oyster Steel case and bracelet, the brands own variation of 316L steel, which was increased to 904L. 
  • Powered by the calibre 4130
  • Steel bezel
  • White/Black face
  • Thick hour markers


Main Changes/Key Alterations

  • Material now in Oyster Steel
  • New calibre 4130
  • Sub counters are swapped - Running seconds at 6 o’clock
  • Sub counters are lifted due to movement
  • Thicker hour markers


The Daytona Becomes Modernised: 2016 - Present Day




Modernity starts with this reference. 


Source - Sotheby’s

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The ref. 116500LN is the reference that we have today. Coming in at 40mm, these super sleek luxury watches are crafted out of Oyster Steel throughout the entire piece. Furthermore, the bracelet has been updated to feature an Oysterlock safety clasp, as well as an Easylink extension link up to 5mm. 

Powered by the same 4130 movement, the Superlative Chronometer Certification came in 2015, just one year before the release of this reference, meaning this piece is guaranteed to be accurate and have longevity for years. 

They started to use Cerachrom engraved tachymetric scales. Cerachrom is the Swiss outfit’s patented material, following the durability of ceramic on their pieces. Highly scratch resistant, this is the ultimate material for those who want to buy a Rolex with first rate legibility and durability. 


Personality Of Reference 116500LN 

  • Fitted with Cerachrom 
  • White or black face
  • Oyster Steel build
  • Superlative Chronometer Certified movement
  • 40mm sizing
  • Bracelet with Oysterlock safety clasp and Easylink extensionMain Changes/Key Alterations
  • Superlative Chronometer Certification
  • Bracelet with Oysterlock safety clasp and Easylink extension
  • Cerachrom 




The ref. 116503 added more glitz and glam than The Oscars red carpet to the hot new ref. 116500LN. 


Source - Christie’s

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The ref. 116503 brought in a combination of Rolesor precious metal and steel on the case and the bracelet. The piece remains the same however in terms of its 40mm sizing and 4130 calibre, but utilises a gold bezel. 


Personality Of Reference 116503

  • White or Black Dials
  • 40mm Sizing
  • Precious Metal Bezel
  • Two Tone Steel and Precious Metal Construction


Main Changes/Key Alteration

  • New Precious Metal Bezel
  • New Rolesor material design




These references continue to boast the brand’s pursuit of the luxury world of precious metals. 


116505 - Source - Christie’s

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The 116509 reference is crafted out of white gold, the 116505 is built with their proprietary alloy, Everose gold and the 116508 is crafted out of yellow gold


Personality Of Reference 116509/116505/116508

  • Rolex features an everose gold, white gold or yellow gold face. 
  • Built with white gold, yellow gold and Everose gold casing
  • 40mm case sizing
  • Powered by 4130 movement


Main Changes/Key Alterations

  • Introduction of Everose gold




Ref. 116515 is crafted out of Everose gold, ref. 116518 is crafted out of yellow gold while ref.116519 is crafted out of white gold. 


Source - Sotheby’s

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Following on from The Yacht-Master in 2015, it adopts the Oysterflex rubber strap to add another sporty dimension to the watches. The model remains to be powered by the Superlative Chronometer Certified calibre 4130. 


Personality Of Reference 116515/116518/116519

  • Sized at 40mm
  • Crafted out of Everose Gold, Yellow Gold and White Gold
  • Feature same coloured dials as precious metals
  • Powered by Calibre 4130


Main Changes/Key Alterations

  • Features an Oysterflex rubber strap which is integrated into lugs




The ref. 116506 is its move into the stunning precious metal, platinum. 


Source - Christie’s

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Released to celebrate 50 years of the collection, the model was released in 2013 in the gorgeous platinum material. Given an ice blue dial, this was one of the first instances where they adopted this material for the line. Given an unusual chocolate brown bezel, many collectors have their grievance with the combination, but we take great pleasure in it. 

Designed identically to the previous releases, just with a hot new material, why change a winning formula?


Personality Of Reference 116506

  • Crafted out of platinum
  • Sized at 40mm
  • Given an ice blue face
  • Given chocolate brown Cerachrom bezel


Main Changes/Key Alterations

  • Crafted out of platinum
  • Given an ice blue face
  • New chocolate brown coloured bezel


Latest Rolex Daytona Watches


So, that's the riveting history behind one of the most iconic sports models of all time. We’ve touched on the latest edition, the ref. 116500LN and all its gold and precious variations. 

We know what you are thinking. ‘Are there any more variants we should be aware of?’ Well, yes there are my Timelord friends. Look only a few months back to Watches and Wonders for a few examples! 

The key update to note is the movement has been updated from the Calibre 4130, to the Calibre 4131. The latest movement is made up of fewer components compared to its predecessor and, for the first time ever, is given a gorgeous Rolex Côtes de Genève on the bridges. 

So, the movement’s power reserve, Superlative Chronometer Certification and frequency is matched but with fewer components. Talk about technical evolution!





RETAIL PRICES (As of October 2023)



Platinum Dial

Price on Request


Stainless Steel and 18K Yellow Gold 

Gold dial



Everose Gold 

Everose Dial



Stainless Steel 

White Dial



18K Yellow Gold 

White Dial



Everose Gold/ Bracelet

Everose Dial



White Gold 

Silver Dial



White Gold 

Black Dial



Recently Discontinued Rolex Daytona Watches


As much as we love the models being released, some models have to be discontinued. We know the pain, especially when you see some of the models that have been released


Rolex Daytona John Mayer Cosomograph - Reference 116508


Crafted entirely out of 18K yellow gold, the timepiece features a black tachymetric scale and a stunning British Racing Green face with gold edging on the hour markers and hands. 


Source - Christie’s

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Originally released in 2016 during Baselworld, the model was quickly snapped up by none other than musician and avid collector, John Mayer. Soon after, the timepiece exploded more than the effect of Barbiecore and quickly rocketed up in popularity. 

Powered by the Calibre 4130 automatic movement that offers Superlative Chronometer Certification and a power reserve of 72 hours, the regal colour scheme of green and gold is prime for any horological connoisseur. 

Discontinued this year, we can only expect this timepiece to be one of the most desired editions around. You can buy a Rolex Daytona John Mayer on the secondary market for around £70,000 at the time of writing. 


Rolex Daytona Meteorite Dial (116505, 116508, 116509, 116515LN, 116518LN, and 116519LN)


The Meteorite face set fire to the horological world due to its highly unique design. But as we said. All things must pass, even leading to them culling the meteorite dials in the Datejust 41mm. 


116505 - Source - Sotheby’s

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The meteorite face is designed in a way that means there can be no alterations to it. Each one is unique in their own right. In fact, the meteorite face actually garners a Widmanstätten during its course to planet earth. This means that the pattern formed cannot be altered due to the rarity of the materials and risk of damaging it. 

Powered by the calibre 4130 movement, the timepiece boasts a 72 hour power reserve and Superlative Certification. Originally present in the likes of the Day-Date and The GMT-Master II, the meteorite face is down and out. 

Worn by Wimbledon winner, Carlos Alcaraz, we can safely say that the timepiece has never looked so good at the side of the gorgeous trophy. 

You can buy a Rolex Daytona Meteorite on the secondary market for around £86,000 at the time of writing.


Rolex Daytona Reference 116509 - Navy Dial


The ref. 116509 discontinuation was as much of a heartbreaker as Justin Bieber.

Source - Christie’s

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But baby, baby, baby oh, there’s something special about this model, crafted in a sublime white gold case. This time round they opted for sporty edge instead of luxury. Choosing a very unique racing blue face, the timepiece featured white gold edging around the hour markers and hands, showcasing the luxury quality of the watches. 

As a modern reference, it’s a shame it had to make an untimely exit. However, all good horophiles know that its discontinuation means its value will potentially rocket subject to the model, supply vs demand and other factors! 

You can buy a Rolex Daytona 116509 Navy on the secondary market for around £40,000 at the time of writing.


Who Wears Rolex Daytona Watches?


The vast range of celebrities that choose Rolex is incredible. We would place a wager that out of all of the watches, This specific collection is the main model worn by the elites.

Just to showcase how popular the line really is among celebs and the like, here for your horological eyes only is a cohesive list of the ten biggest celebs that wear the Daytona. 




6263 “Tiffany”

Antoine Griezmann


Eric Clapton

6263 “Oyster Albino”

Ed Sheeran


John Mayer


Erling Haaland


Kevin Hart


Zlatan Ibrahimovic


Michael Jordan


Victoria Beckham



Is The Rolex Daytona Valuable?


Let’s not beat around the bush. Yes, they can be incredibly valuable!


Ref. 116500LN - Source - Sotheby’s

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The brand itself is a cultural icon. Associated with great wealth and money, the brand is considered a status symbol, linked with incredible build quality and longevity…a term Chrono Hunter would like to identify as a “Generational Piece”. The models will forever be timeless, meaning you could pass them on and let your grandkids bask in the watches' opulence too!

It swiftly became one of the key players of the brand's portfolio. Credit where credit is due, we believe it all started with the stunning ref. 116500LN. Following the disastrous Quartz Crisis, The ref. 116500LN offered a new slant on the movement they were using in the previous ref. 116520. 

Moving from The El Primero to being the first in-house movement, The 4130, the timepiece offered 72 hours of power reserve and a ceramic bezel, all within a delightful Oyster steel case and bracelet. 

Of course, vintage or  rare pieces are definitely worth considering as a possible investment piece. Nevertheless, just for the purposes of context, this novelty started its meteoric rise to popularity following The ref. 116520LN.

The line is therefore extremely popular, resulting in the watches being coveted by every manner of horophile. As such, their demand has continued to vastly exceed their supply, even though they release around one million watches per year. 

Given a five year waitlist on average, they are extremely expensive on the secondary market due to the incredible waitlists. If you are looking to buy a Rolex pre-owned for the best possible price, Chrono Hunter will be more than willing to offer guidance.


Examples: Retail/Vintage

Take for example The ref. 126503. Combining both yellow gold and steel, the watches have a diamond set, black face and a gold bezel. You can buy a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 126503 at retail for £18,100 but one from 2023 with a black diamond dial sells on the secondary market for around £38,000 at the time of writing. 

16516 - Source - Sotheby’s

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How about The ref. 126505. Crafted out of Everose gold, the watches feature an Everose face and are powered by the 4131 movement. As a superlative chronometer, the model has a 72 hour power reserve and a fantastic precision of -2/+2 seconds per day. You can buy a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 126505 at retail for £35,800 but a 2023 model in rose gold sells on the secondary market for around £70,000 at the time of writing.  

How about you indulge in a little vintage madness? The 6263 is a vintage reference that’s littered in horological heritage. Created circa 1969, this model is known as “Oyster Sotto”, is only one of two and features a chocolate variation of the Paul Newman exotic dial. It sold at a Christie’s auction in 2017 for around £900,000 at the time of writing. 

Another vintage addition of the collection is the Zenith inspired ref. 16516. Given a platinum, screw down caseback and turquoise hardstone dial, the timepiece was made in 1998 as part of the “Stella” collections. Powered by the Zenith 4030 movement, the watches sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 2021 for £2.5 million.

They are both valuable and aspirational. Its incredible legacy and continuing heritage allows the history of the collection to be confirmed in the horological books as nothing short of G-d tier level status!


Is A Rolex Daytona A Good Investment?


Yes, they have excellent investment potential if you buy the right model and you can find one. This is also tied into other factors as to when you bought it, supply vs demand, condition of the timepiece and provenance. Be it investor or collector, over time, most of these watches will hold their value with limited edition runs and discontinued models fetching over retail on the secondary market. This is due to their exclusivity and lack of supply.

First introduced in 1963, the collection is given a highly distinctive design and craftsmanship, priding themselves on a highly sporty design. Boasting three sub dials and a great tachymetric scale, this is the ultimate racing piece. 

They have been owned by a vast list of celebrity clientele. Owned by the likes of Paul Newman, who’s version sold for around £15 million at auction and Eric Clapton’s Albino variation, there are a number of exclusive models you may find match the value. 

Take for example the Lemon Legend which is entirely made out of yellow gold and sold at a Christie’s auction for around £3 million. How about The Rolex 24 winner variation which is granted solely to the winners of the Rolex 24 race and sold at a Christie’s auction for around £26,000. Suffice to say, most references have every chance of booming in value. 

An iconic collection, associated with the greats and boasting enough heritage to challenge Manchester United, this is the ultimate Rolex for investment.


How Many Rolex Daytonas Are Made Each Year?


It is estimated that around 40,000 Rolex Daytona watches are produced annually, meaning the collection is highly desired by every manner of horological collector.




Well, Timelords. We’ve reached the pinnacle of horological heritage with The Cosmograph Daytona. We’ve discussed not only where it all began and where we currently are, but exactly why they are so revered amongst the collecting world…and the long list of celebrity clientele that proudly adorn the pieces. Take a breather for a second!

It has got the timekeeping engines running of collectors and enthusiasts worldwide since its first release in 1963. The collection continues to expand, featuring the ostentatiously bejewelled “Rainbow” with its array of sapphires and diamonds not to mention celebratory watches like The Le Mans edition that celebrates 100 years of the race this year. Yet ref. 116500LN has remained a true constant in the brands catalogue and is still one of the most iconic watches in the timekeeping sphere.

We don’t want to be a sad cloud over the state of their availability, but just take a look at the Sky-Dweller for an example of how long these particular waitlists can get. Why not think ahead of the game and find a site that can tickle your horological taste buds. 

For a little bit more, you can spend some of your hard earned cash on a piece that will last you a lifetime, and not lose value! We hope you have enjoyed our rundown of the complete history behind the iconic Daytona. If your heart rate is up to seismic proportions and you feel an insatiable urge to get your wrists adorned with a high quality timepiece, why not visit Chrono Hunter to source your new or second hand Rolex the smart way?



Can’t wait to buy a Rolex? Want to get your hands on a vintage Cosmograph Daytona or a fresh model straight off the platter? Contact ChronoHunter for the most competitive prices on the market via our Apple or Android app that offers real time updates. 

Enjoy offers from our extensive list of the best luxury retailers and indulge in the best possible buying and selling luxury experience. If you want to buy a watch or sell a watch, we are happy to chat through what you are looking for. With peerless service, quick turnaround and outstanding Trustpilot reviews, save money the smart way today and enjoy a buying and selling experience like no other.


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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