The Daytona has been Rolex’s flagship sport model since 1963. Originally designed for racing drivers, the Cosmograph Daytona features a highly accurate chronograph, a large easy-to-read dial, and an eternal legacy of cool. The Daytona was famously a favorite of actor and racing legend Paul Newman. Today, models from his era are now highly desirable in the pre-owned market. Buying a Rolex Daytona watch means owning one of the most coveted models produced by the brand. View our collection of exceptional used Rolex Daytona watches for sale today.
Just a few years after the first Daytona 500 race in 1959, Rolex started their sponsorship of the 24 hours of Daytona and developed a namesake collection in honor of the legendary city of Daytona Beach, Florida. The Rolex Daytona watch marked the brand’s first official collection of chronographs. In 1963 the initially released model, the Cosmograph, featured a panda dial, inverse colors for chronograph registers, and an engraved tachymeter scale on the dial. When the Daytona signature appeared on the dial in 1965, the collection was officially born.
The Daytona first gained recognition after receiving an endorsement from the legendary racecar driver and actor Paul Newman. Subsequently, the early Daytona models of the 1960s and 70s are called the Paul Newman series. When Rolex began developing the automatic chronograph, Zenith approached them to collaborate on the movement. Rolex agreed if and only if Zenith would revive the iconic El Primero movement and eight years later, the first automatic Daytona was launched.
With the launch of the all-new 16500 series, watch enthusiasts began to consider the Daytona a collector’s timepiece. In addition to the new movement, the models featured a larger case size, the addition of a sapphire crystal, a lacquered and glossier dial as opposed to the original matte finish, and applied metal hour markers treated with luminous material. At the turn of the new millennium, Rolex introduced the new model, the Reference 116520, at the annual Baselworld exhibition.
Video: Rolex Daytona History
Brush up on your Rolex Daytona History with the stories behind the model you love.
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