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The Rolex Cosmograph "Daytona"

The Rolex Cosmograph

The Rolex Cosmograph is a chronograph that additionally functions as a stopwatch. This model has a separate second hand which can be started, stopped, and reset to zero with the help of push buttons on the side of the case. Considered one of the most popular Rolex sport models, the Rolex Cosmograph "Daytona" is truly exceptional. The term “Cosmograph” was coined by Rolex when it decided to come out with an improved version of its earlier line of chronograph watches. Today, Rolex Daytona has become synonymous with car racing.

Functions of the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona

The basic functionality of this Rolex model, which makes it so popular, is its capability to measure elapsed time and average speed with the help of the Tachymeter scale printed on the bezel. To operate the first function, there are two buttons on the side: a start-stop button and a reset button. As you push the start/stop button after unscrewing it, the large sweep second hand becomes operational. Out of the three mini registers on the dial, two of them start recording the elapsed hours and minutes respectively. The third mini register is not a part of the stopwatch function and constantly measures the seconds. If you press the start/stop button a second time, it will stop the function of measuring the elapsed time. Upon pressing the lower reset button, the large sweep second hand and mini registers will go back to their original positions with the former on the reset position and the latter indicating zero. When you press these side buttons, a distinct “click” sound can be heard clearly. The crisper the sound of this click, the clearer
the indication that you have an authentic Rolex Daytona in your possession.

The Tachymeter bezel scale also helps to measure the average speed using the start/stop and reset buttons. Measuring average speed becomes easier if the total measured time falls between 9 seconds to 60 seconds corresponding to 400 to 60 units per hour (speed) on the bezel. For instance, suppose you have measured 20 seconds (using the start/stop button) to travel a distance of 1 mile, and then the corresponding number that you find on the tachymeter bezel scale is 180 indicating an average speed of 180 miles per hour (mph). If you have traveled a distance of 2 miles in 30 seconds, the corresponding number on the bezel is 120. Now, to find the average speed, a simple calculation is involved; since you have covered a distance of 2 miles, your average speed would be 2x120 mph or 240 mph.

Different Features of the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Available Today

The most sought-after Rolex Cosmograph Daytona models today are those offered in 18k yellow gold, white gold, and Rolesor (steel and gold).

Common Features: Some of the common cosmetic elements that you find in all current Daytona models include the following:

  • 40mm case
  • Special screw-down push buttons
  • 31 jewel chronometer movement
  • Synthetic sapphire crystal

However, plenty of options are available in dials and bracelets.

Dials: The options available in dials include the following:

  • White dial with Arabic numerals
  • Mother of Pearl Arabic/Serti dial
  • Black dial with champagne counters
  • Diamond-paved dial with black enamel Arabic numerals
  • Dial fitted with 8 round cut diamonds
  • Semi-precious stone dial fitted with 8 round cut diamonds
  • Meteorite dial with Roman numerals
  • "Pave Extra Large" diamond dial set with 8 round cut diamonds

    Bracelets/Strap: Color variety is also available in bracelets/straps as described below:

  • A brown/pink/green leather strap with 18k yellow gold deployable fliplock clasp
  • A blue/red leather strap with 18k white/yellow gold deployable fliplock clasp The Rolex Cosmograph
  • Special Oysterlock bracelet with a safety clasp

Rolex Daytona at the Basel Fair, 2008

At the Basel Fair, 2008, Rolex introduced a new peerless chronograph featuring a range of stunning new dials. Made of 18k everose gold, this new model also features an Oysterlock bracelet with easy links.

One of the Recent Achievements of Rolex in Making Daytona

Until 2000, Rolex manufactured the Daytona line carrying imported movements. In 2000, Rolex took the plunge and introduced a new line of Daytona (Model 116520) powered by in-house manufactured Caliber 4130 movement. This new movement has a 72-hour power reserve if the stopwatch function is not used (or 66 hours of power reserve otherwise). This new model also features a special proprietary deployment clasp and new 6-digit model number. With this, Rolex maintained its image of creating movement (as it does for all other models) that is an example of the utmost precision. The movement in all current models features a blue Parachrom hairspring--a patented invention of Rolex. It provides protection from shocks and magnetic fields.

The Early Rolex Cosmograph Models

Year of Introduction: Introduced in 1960, model 6239 was the first Rolex Cosmograph. A year later, another model 6241 was also released.

Technical Features: Both the model 6239 and the model 6241 were powered by the 72B movement, which was imported from Valjoux. As opposed to the earlier chronograph models, which had the tachymeter scale engraved on the dial, these Cosmograph models had it on their bezels. In addition, the tachymeter scale calibrated to 300 units per hour, shortly thereafter changed to 200 units per hour.

Cosmetic Features: The basic difference between these two early models was that while the model 6239 sported a solid steel bezel, the model 6241 had a steel ring fitted with clear acrylic insert. As far as the dial is concerned, all early Cosmograph models were available in the following two dials:

  • Standard Dials: The standard dials were either black with silver registers or silver with black registers.
  • Exotic Dials: The exotic dials were available in either black with white registers or cream white with black registers. This created an interesting contrast not found in other Rolex models.

Subsequent Models of Rolex Cosmograph "Daytona"

Over the years, Rolex came out with the following new Daytona models, each showing some technological improvements over the previous models in some way or another:

Model 6262 & 6264: In 1965, model 6262 replaced the model 6239, while the model 6464 replaced the model 6241. These models were an improvement over the earlier versions as they utilized a new Valjoux 727 movement.

Model 6240: It was a completely new model, also launched in 1965. Its unique feature was its screw down waterproof pushers making it waterproof to a level of 165 feet. It was also the first Rolex Daytona that had "Oyster" engraved on its dial.

Model 6263 & 6265: Introduced in 1971, model 6263 was an improved version of Model 6262, while model 6265 improved upon model 6264. These improved versions featured the new screw-down waterproof pushers. They were also the first Daytona models to use a new larger Triplock winding crown.

Model 16520/16523/16528: These models include the new Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, launched in 1988. While the tachymeter scale present in these models calibrated to the usual 200 units per hour, it was soon thereafter upgraded to 400 units per hour (as can be found in all current Daytona models). The only difference between these models was that while model 16520 was available in stainless steel, model 16523 was available in a combination of stainless steel and 18k yellow gold (two-tone) and model 16528 was available in 18k yellow gold only. These models were powered by caliber 4030 Zenith El Primero movement, which gave them an edge over previous models in terms of performance.

Model 16518: Rolex launched a new Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona model in 1992, which was made available only in 18k yellow gold. It also featured a leather strap and safety deployment clasp. It was different from the earlier models due to its bezel, which sported small triangles in place of small dots pointing to the individual calibrated numbers.

Model 16519: Introduced in 1997, it was similar to model 16518, the only difference being that it was made of white gold.

Rolex Cosmograph Also Known as the Paul Newman and Daytona

In the car racing film Winning, the star Paul Newman was seen wearing a Rolex Cosmograph with an exotic dial. Later, he made appearances in movie posters and some popular Italian magazines, reportedly flaunting his Rolex Cosmograph collection. This publicity fueled the popularity of all versions of the Rolex Cosmograph with contrasting registers (having square markers within), and they became popularly known as Paul Newmans. This Rolex model was already an instant hit in the auto racing market due to their usefulness in calculating average lap speed. However, the association of Paul Newman with this model resulted in a huge publicity windfall.

The model is also popularly known as Daytona after the world famous Daytona Beach in Florida, which has created and continues to foster legendary racers and racing icons.