|Case||Oyster, 40mm, 18ct Everose gold|
|Crown||Screw down, Triplock waterproofness system|
|Bezel||Black monobloc Cerachrom in ceramic with engraved tachymetric scale.|
|Movement||Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding, Calibre 3255|
|Waterproofness||Waterproof to 100 m (330 ft)|
|Power Reserve||Approximately 72 hours|
|Functions||Centre hour, minute and seconds hands. Small seconds hand at 6o’clock. Chronograph accurate to within 1/8 of a second, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, and 12 hour counter at 9 o’clock. Stop seconds for precise setting|
|Bracelet||Oysterflex with Oysterlock safety clasp|
The Rolex Daytona is something of an enigma. A watch that, perhaps more than any other, captured the imagination of the public more than 50 years ago and has held it in an iron grip ever since.
A little history
Rolex launched its first chronograph in 1955, which incorporated within the dial a tachometer scale on the outer ring and a telemeter scale (for distances) just inside it. This watch, a 37mm known as the 6234, was then superseded by the 6238, which removed the telemeter and adopted baton style hands and faceted hour markers. Many collectors know this model as the ‘pre-Daytona’.
It was in 1963 that Rolex introduced the first Cosmograph model, the 6239. Not created as a replacement for the 6238, this is the grandfather of the watch we have grown to love; with the tachometer engraved into the bezel and only available in black with silver sub-dials or vice versa. Initially it was graduated up to 300 units per hour but later changed to 200 units per hour.
Indeed some may not know it was not until 1965 the watch was actually named Daytona, after the iconic American speedway; prior to this it had been known as the Le Mans. Additionally, even though Rolex had formally named the model, it was not until the 6241 (the 6240 having introduced the first waterproof version with screw down pushers) that the word Daytona was officially printed on the dial on each watch thereafter.
Fast forward to 2011 and Rolex first introduced the ceramic bezel on the precious metal versions only, the material only making an appearance on the steel Daytona at Baselworld in 2016.
Whilst on this topic, from the beginning, the overwhelming majority of the watches were made in stainless steel, with less than 10% fashioned out of precious metal. Rare they may be in gold therefore, but it illustrates they are still an important part of the Daytona’s history.
This trend has continued and so it’s the stainless steel version, given its more financially attainable status (at RRP), that has become the Daytona to have. As a result, the new ‘Cerachrom’ versions are nigh on impossible to source though an authorised dealer, unless you are either an excellent customer, have built a rapport with them, or both.
The sum of all this therefore is for a watch that costs £9,550 through a boutique, the secondary market is red hot, meaning seriously inflated prices; they have recently hit the £20,000 mark.
It’s in situations such as this you have to question the marketplace. How can a stainless-steel watch cost almost as much as a brand new version of its precious metal sibling? It just does not make sense and, if you bear with me, I’m about to argue that (ignoring the sourcing conundrum), instead of making the obvious choice of the steel Daytona, perhaps you should consider a precious metal version instead.
Firstly, the modern Daytona is a classically proportioned sports watch. At 40mm in diameter it takes up, in my view, the perfect amount of wrist real estate and, perhaps more importantly, it wears true to size. There are no overhanging lugs here, just an elegantly curved case that gently tapers towards the strap. The screw down pushers are relatively easy to use, albeit requiring a little contortion of the wrist to access. They lend a rugged tactility however to what would otherwise be a relatively dainty piece to behold. The feel and sound they make when used is robust and satisfying, although if you are used to the ‘butteryness’ of a member of the Holy Trinity you will be disappointed.
The ‘Cerachrom’ bezel provides a beautiful distinction between the dial and the case and is, effectively, unmarkable; a real step on in that respect from the somewhat easily tarnishable metal versions of previous generations.
The version we have here is in Everose gold with a chocolate dial, with a RRP of £22,150. In my opinion this is precisely the kind of version that should be considered against the steel model. Firstly, it has the elegance and nobility of precious metal, but given its creation in Rolex’s own foundry, it has a durability to it that gold watches from other manufacturers do not seem to be able to compete with. Combine that with the Daytona’s classic sporting character and you have a stunning watch, not only because it is an unusual choice, but also because of its beauty and classic proportions.
To add to this, it retains the 100m water resistance and near bomb-proof construction seen in the stainless-steel version. Additionally, it looks just as at home with a suit as it does in any casual situation you might throw at it. It’s when you start to think of it in these terms you see how the market has become warped thanks to overhype from the public and enforced scarcity from the manufacturer.
So that is my take on the Daytona puzzle. I can say, without hesitation, that almost every version of the current line up is lovely to behold; so the next question is which one is right for you. Some will, of course, always believe the steel version is the one for them, be it for kudos (because they have obtained a ‘unicorn’), financial speculation or simply because they believe it to be less ‘flashy’. But if you are in the market for a Daytona, you at least owe it to yourself to consider a precious metal version; it’s the less obvious choice and, as a result, in my opinion is the one to go for.
The RRP of the Everose Rolex Daytona, on a strap, is £22,150 and £28,850 on a bracelet. Despite being precious metal, because they are made in relatively low numbers, they hold their value well. If you want one on the grey market, you are likely to pay between £17-19,000 for the former and £21-24,000 for the latter.