The History Behind The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watch

Looking back at the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, which was introduced to the world in 1963 and according to Rolex, stands in a class of its own among sport chronographs.

The rich history behind this Oyster-cased mechanical chronograph Rolex dates back to WWII and evolved through the 50’s and 60’s with its multi-purpose design. The concept and technology behind this refined timepiece was to track speed over a given distance with its chronograph functions that are activated by pushers that screw down like the winding crown.

Through the years, Rolex made approximately 500 of this style per year until 1961. It was at this point that they dropped the chronograph reference and it became known as Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. Named for the famed Daytona 500, as it quickly became a necessity on the track.

Even after the rename, this model wasn’t very successful until the early 20th century when the passion for speed and racing flourished and was cemented in 2013 by becoming the Global Partner and official timepiece for Formula 1 racing.

Recently the Daytona design made headlines again by Hollywood’s most treasured blue eyed leading man, Paul Newman. The movie star and race car enthusiast, received his 1968 Daytona watch as a treasured gift from his wife Joanne Woodward. She personalize the timepiece and inscribed it “Drive Carefully Me”.
This story was made famous in 2017, when auctioned off at the Winning Icons Auction. More than 400 people from all over the world gathered and within 12-minutes of bidding, the cherished item was sold. Auctioned for $17.8 million dollars, Paul Newman’s Rolex Cosmograph Daytona was at the time considered to be the highest priced timepiece in the world. Reconfirming Rolex’s strength in the market.

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