“It’s all about the watch,” is a famous statement in Daytona, where this weekend the 54th edition of the 24-hour race for prototypes and GT cars is held. For the 24th year in succession Rolex is title sponsor of the race, which is also known by many as “The Rolex. The tradition of awarding a Rolex Daytona watch the winners goes back to the origins of the race in the sixties. AUTOSPORT.NL went in Daytona looking for the story behind the watches.
In 1962, Rolex gave the first for timekeeping at Daytona International Speedway. In that year took the sports car race another three hours, as the following year, to pass through two games of 2000 km in the years 1964 and 1965 for the duration of a day, which was the case every year since 1966. The Swiss watch manufacturer had previously some chronographs in the program, but they were never as popular as the normal models for hours, minutes and seconds hand. In 1963, the Rolex Cosmograph applied with the reference number 6239 on the market. The model was named “Daytona” with it, to show the connection between the circuit more content and brand. Rolex regarded racing drivers as a serious target group and therefore made the numerals on the bezel a lot bigger than comparable watches from other brands.
Paul Newman, not only a famous actor but also quite skilled driver, a dedicated ambassador for Rolex Daytona. By Newman supported model, with a second scale on the dial in a different (red) color received by fans nicknamed “Daytona Paul Newman. Such copies are sold at auctions for amounts up to 100,000 dollars, but caution is advised: there are ‘fakes’ than originals in circulation. The same applies to the Rolex Daytona that get the race winners at Daytona and for several years also in the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “They are engraved and do a little depending on the event and the driver, some 50,000 Dollar,” said Rolex connoisseur and collector Wolfgang Wieland. “But even here there are more false than originals in circulation. Especially in Asia they are very creative in there …”
What does such a watch for a driver, we asked after Nick Tandy, who was allowed to participate as a member of the winning Porsche team at Le Mans last year a Rolex received, and previously as a class winner at Daytona in 2014 such “Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona” was. “Yes, I also wear them sometimes,” he says. “Not every day, but on special occasions. It’s like a kind of replica rolex trophy. Of course I Le Mans also the winner’s trophy, but that is at home in the closet. The watch is a trophy that can take around you everywhere, and wonderful reminder that success. ” He has already received offers to sell his watch? “Sure, but not a hair on my head to think about it!”
The Rolex Daytona is available in several versions, starting with the steel version, which costs 11,000 Euro since the recent price increase. If you can get there, because the waiting list before long. Upwards, the series well, with gold and other value-added business. But what makes these steel version now so coveted? Rolex expert Wolfgang Wieland: “Until 1988 were the Daytona models, you then had to replica rolex uk wind by hand, real store daughters, nobody wanted them but when Rolex came up with the Zenith mechanism, a vending machine, and when they were. popular. it is indeed a separate phenomenon to get the best performance the most difficult is, all other models are always just ease available. I think Rolex itself keeps deliberately sparse model. Rolex is a foundation, not a listed company, so there are no published production or sales figures. How many Daytona’s are produced, so no one knows. it also adds to the mystery that hangs over every Daytona. “