Rolex Daytona: Ahead of Their Time

In 1962 Rolex became the official timekeeper of the prestigious race on the Daytona International Speedway. One year later, the Cosmograph with reference number 6239 and the epithet “Daytona” was presented. The watch was designed for racing drivers.
Text Wiebke Brauer
Photo Steffen Jahn

“Rolex watch worn during record attempt and still going splendidly notwithstanding rough usage received.” That’s the cable that Sir Malcolm Campbell sent to Rolex in 1935. Merely calling Campbell a successful racing driver would be quite an understatement. After all, he broke the speed record in his “Bluebird” nine times between 1924 and 1935. He set his last record on September 3, 1935, with 484.62 km/h. But let’s get back to his watch: in 1962 Rolex became the official timekeeper of the prestigious race on the Daytona International Speedway.

One year later, the Cosmograph with reference number 6239 and the epithet “Daytona” was presented. The watch was designed for racing drivers. Its tachymeter scale on the bezel is significantly larger than on watches from other manufacturers. At the end of the 1960s, Paul Newman was seen wearing a Daytona. It then resurfaced in the early summer of 2017. On October 26, 2017, it was sold at auction for a record price of $17,752,500. The actor had once received the watch as a present from his wife. Engraved into the bottom of the case are the words “Drive Carefully”.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona
With its high-tech ceramics bezel that includes an injected tachymeter scale, the watch can be used to measure velocities of up to 400 miles or kilometers per hour. The black bezel and its black plexiglass disc are a reference to the 1965 model.

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