Rolex Daytona history unveiled in 1963, a true icon in the wristwatch world and a legendary Cosmograph Daytona has been a everlasting source of obsession for fans of fine timepieces.
Why the name Daytona? Daytona is the name of a Florida city, a wide smooth beach with compacted sand, that is a superb location for land speed record attempts. It was a place for motor-sports enthusiasts.
Rolex Daytona History – The Cosmograph Daytona Story
Everything has a beginning, and the Rolex Daytona history took place at the very beach of Florida. There were no Cosmograph Daytona back then, but pure speed enthusiast knew the potential on this long smooth beach. On this 35km long beach, the motor sports industry was thriving between 1904 and 1935. Car developers were striving to deliver more power for their motor racers to flaunt their real might. Daytona beach played an important role in Rolex history as this name was later used to the watch we known as Rolex Cosmograph Daytona we know today.
The Cosmograph Daytona Story
The actual story starts with ‘The Speed King’, a very popular auto racer known as Sir Malcom Campbell. He has set many land-speed records in his Blue Bird Race car on the Daytona Beach. In fact, most of his records were set driving on the beach sand, and not a traditional race track.
Han Wilsdorf took noticed of Sir Malcolm Campbell’s achievements and wanted him as the Rolex Ambassador. Although many said that Mercedes Glietze was the first Rolex Ambassador, Sir Malcom Campbell soon overshadowed her as the Rolex Ambassador. For years, Malcom Cambell appeared on behalf of Rolex. Rolex even developed a Malcom Campbell Rolex model to honor the exemplary racecar driver.
The Rolex Daytona History continues..
When Malcolm Campbell left for the Bonneville Salt Flats, a second important figure appeared in the Rolex Daytona History. William France, Sr., is another racer who love the Daytona beaches. Rather than going to school, William France grew up racing his family’s Model T Ford and moved to Daytona in 1935. The Rolex Daytona story continued in 1938, with France not only managing and taking over the racetrack, but also setting new racing records there. He continued the Rolex history just as good as the legend of the awesome racing.
We have not drift too far away from the Rolex Daytona. The progression in the Daytona Speedway mirrors the love Rolex has in many ways for the sport. By the 1960s, Rolex history was inevitably connected with the Daytona raceway. It was later worn by legendary races such as Junior Johnson and, of cause Paul Newman.
Take a look at Rolex Daytona models
In Rolex Daytona history, the watch was not known as Daytona. Instead, the 1955 version, with Reference 6234 was named as the “Rolex Chronograph”. This is the first known Daytona watch and it is estimated that small amount (of around 500) were made per year amid 1955 and 1961. As you may know, this is the period where Rolex GMT Master was first born as well.
It can be said that Rolex Chronograph is the forefather of the Daytona model of today. While it needs manual winding, the overall aspect of the watch has not change much.
The name “Cosmograph” was registered by Rolex in 1953 and was placed on the Rolex watch in 1956. The name Rolex Cosmograph Daytona was more frequently used in the 1960s instead of Chronograph. The Cosmograph Daytona fate continued to produce through the 1980s with both with and without the word “Daytona” on the dial.
The new era of Cosmograph Daytona – Paul Newman
Paul Newman is the most well-known person to ever wear the Daytona. Today, Rolex models that are name a ‘Rolex Paul Newman Daytona‘ are highly sought after collector’s items by Rolex fans.
The Rolex Paul Newman Daytona became so popular that a second model was design in 1988 with a Zenith “El Primero” modified winding movement. In order for Rolex watches to be considered a “Paul Newman” Daytona, the watch must have four digit reference numbers: 6239, 6241, 6262, 6263, 6264 or 6265.
Today, Rolex Cosmograph Daytona has remained as one of the iconic watch of Rolex watches, together with the the Rolex Submariner. In 2013 Rolex launched the Daytona Cosmograph Platinum to commemorate the 50 years from the launch of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watch.
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