The Collectability of the Rolex Daytona

Borro Benchmarks: The Collectability of the Rolex Daytona

It was inevitable that this model, the most talked about piece in Rolex’s collection, should eventually rear its asymmetrical head (more about that in a moment) in the Borro Benchmarks series, but what’s really left to say about the one, the only, Rolex Daytona – and as an added touch, we’ll be focusing on the collectability of the Rolex Daytona.

The Collectability of the Rolex Daytona

Well, quite simply, the first thing I want to say is that there isn’t just one and only Rolex Daytona – there’s a whole bunch of them, and just because some of them get as many column inches as the other members of N*Sync (yeah, I vaguely remember someone called Lance, but beyond that I’m stumped too), doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be top of someone’s charts.

We all know that Paul Newman wore a Rolex Daytona. It is without a doubt the most collectible of the bunch. The very watch that adorned the great man’s wrist sold for a record-breaking amount last year (but you can pick one up for a much more reasonable price here), and has been covered on our very own website once or twice before also.

Newman made the style so popular that the investment value of any Rolex Daytona sporting the same tropical dial he wore, is through the roof, which did great for the collectability of the Rolex Daytona.

But besides that grail of a watch, which members of the Daytona family stand out and which ones would I choose to strap on my wrist if money were no object?

The Collectability of the Rolex Daytona

First is the reference 6240 from 1965. For me, it is the quintessential model: Clean lines, white dial, slimmer bezel, the classic, screw-down pushers… Really, there’s nothing not to like. It looks like a blueprint for every sports chronograph that followed. And, in many ways, it was. At over half a century old, its status as a true investment piece is beyond doubt. The key here, though, is condition, Those early bezels were peachy when new, but they don’t hold up to the same kind of beating a modern Cerachrom one can. When assessing investment value, look for original components in uncommonly good condition.

When you’re buying a classic Rolex, you might strike gold with a model produced in scant numbers due to its design being way ahead of its time (ahem, Paul Newman tropical dial, I’m looking at you), but your safest bet is to buy something that looks just as good now as it did the day it was designed, and happens to have done so every day in between.

There are some watches that just transcend time. The 6240 was never not cool. Chances are, it’ll always rock, and that’s why I’d snag one in a heartbeat if I could.

And weirdly, I’d go for the fetching piece above. It’s absolutely obscene, I know, I’m not blind (although looking at it for long periods of time might change that tout suite). It kind of fulfils the criterion I alluded to two paragraphs ago, but it’s also just for the sheer madness. It’s the polar opposite of the 6240, and it’s glorious nonsense. That kind of (expensive) fun is sometimes what watchmaking is about. I mean, what better thing to spends your money on than pure, unbridled, rainbow joy? At the very least, it’s guaranteed to match your outfit…

In terms of the collectability of the Rolex Daytona, there’s not many other watches that carry the same story – from the wrist of Paul Newman to yours, what sounds better than that?


About the Author:

Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.