Rolex Daytona Model Introduced in 1963

11:19 AM

The Cosmograph Daytona is one of the most popular Rolex models, with long waiting lists to purchase their 2016 model that debuted at Baselworld 2016. The Daytona was introduced in 1963, just a year after Rolex started their relationship with Daytona International Speedway as official timekeeper.

1962 3 Hour Daytona Continental Race Finish (photo: ISC Archives)

The watchmaker had been involved with racing for years before they began their association with Daytona. Land-speed record breaker Sir Malcolm Campbell was featured in Rolex ads in the 1930s and Rolex had been developing 'Pre-Daytona' chronographs since 1955. The chronographs they manufactured from 1955 to 1961 were met with little fanfare and were discontinued before the development of the first Daytona model, pictured below, in 1963. 
First Rolex Daytona Model, 1963 (photo: Rolex)
In the early 1970s, actor and race car driver Paul Newman began wearing the Daytona and became inextricably connected with the Rolex model ever since. Daytona models with 'Paul Newman' dials were not extremely popular at the time, but later the Paul Newman became a favorite for collectors due to their rarity and interesting art deco design features. 

The introduction of the tachymetric graduated bezel on this model made it a coveted tool for professional endurance race drivers at the time of its introduction to the market. While the majority of people on the waiting list for the 2016 model can use their smart phones to keep time, the spirit and style of the race watch makes it a coveted timepiece to this day.


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