Rolex Daytona

The Rolex Daytona was inspired by racecar drivers and enthusiasts, most notably, iconic actor Paul Newman, who reportedly wore his Daytona every day from 1972 until his death in 2008.Rolex purchased these movements for the Daytona, and then modified the movement from 36,000VPH to 28,800VPH and made a few other subtle changes. These later series Daytonas, pre-dating in-house movements, were accurate and reliable; they were produced in limited quantities from 1988 to 2000.

The Cosmograph Daytona, introduced in 1963, was designed to meet the demands of professional racing drivers. With its highly reliable chronograph and bezel with tachymetric scale, it allows drivers to perfectly measure average speeds up to 400 kilometres or miles per hour, as they choose. An icon eternally joined in name and function to the high‑performance world of motor sport.

There was just one problem: Daytonas are scarce. Considered a timepiece for cognoscenti, not first-time buyers, the company typically parcels them out in limited numbers to dealers, who, in turn, set aside the few they can get for their most loyal customers.

A new Rolex Daytona

Now that Baselworld is three weeks behind us, we can take a minute to answer the questions you all have about this – the most talked about watch of 2016, and the one that you’ve been told already has a very, very long waiting list – you know, the brand new Rolex Daytona.

This watch is hot, and in this post we will cover the specs, the details, and give you our own thoughts on it after spending a brief moment with it in the Rolex booth. What’s more, we’ll give you an idea of when the first batch will hit stores, how many an authorized dealer might hope to get it in calendar year 2016, and how many people are currently on the wait list.

I’ll be honest, I was pretty ornery that day at Basel (ask Stephen P. if you run into him, he’ll tell you). I remember speaking to Jack about at a dinner that Basel – he was a frenemy then, as EiC of Revolution, and he put it clearly: Is a $75,000 watch with brown bezel and blue dial the Daytona we all wanted then, or worse, was it what we all deserved in celebrating 50 years of Cosmograph? I can say that 2013 was the year that many of us reached peak Rolex annoyance – as if the kid down the street, the one you told people was your best friend, and who happened to be the smartest, coolest, and most popular kid in the 8th grade, had forgotten to invite you to his birthday party. You’re angry, dejected, but on Monday, when you see him in the cafeteria and he invites you to sit at the cool kids’ table, you quickly forgive and forget, because it’s him.

In shooting the new Daytona in less than ideal lighting, you see everything. In fact you see much more in that horrible yellow light of a trade show booth than you would anywhere else. In these pictures you can see every strange glare, every finger print, every scratch, but the most interesting thing to note is the almost glossiness on the dial. They appear as if they’re almost enameled, or lacquered – they’re not, but in these pictures, they look like they would be.