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The Rolex Daytona Is the Most Costly Wristwatch Ever Offered. What Makes It So Precious?

Studying about watches can typically really feel like cracking open a textbook. Looking—and even shopping for—means being barraged with inscrutable phrases and phrases like ”tourbillons,” “perpetual calendars,” “minute repeaters,” and so forth. So right here, we’ll be breaking down the that means, historical past, and significance of various watch phrases. Welcome to GQ’s Watch Glossary.In 1975, James Dowling, now a Rolex historian who authored a ebook in regards to the model, went to purchase his very first correct watch. He had his eyes on a GMT, the aviation-inspired timepiece with a slick dual-colored dial. Earlier than he handed his bank card over to the salesperson, although, he requested if he might get a reduction if he paid money. “Rolex by no means provides reductions,” the salesperson stated, in line with Dowling. That’s, except he wished to purchase the model’s Cosmograph Daytona mannequin, during which case they’d be prepared to supply him one at twenty p.c off. The financial savings weren’t price settling for the Daytona, although. As Dowling tells it, Rolex watches within the early ‘60s, when the Daytona launched, could possibly be counted on to show the date, dip underwater with out breaking, and wind themselves routinely. The Daytona didn’t examine any of these containers.Forty years later, the Rolex Daytona is without doubt one of the most-wanted fashions on the planet. What occurred?Watches just like the Daytona are categorised by Rolex as “skilled” timepieces: they serve some goal, and are made with area of interest communities in thoughts. The Submariner was made for the diver, the Explorer for nice outdoorsman, and the GMT for pilots and businessmen who ceaselessly made use of these pilots’ companies. The Daytona went after racecar drivers, with a chronograph (stopwatch) characteristic drivers might use to time their laps. On Rolex’s web site, the model writes of its precision timing: “the Daytona is a look ahead to winners.” That’s true in a literal sense: the watch is actually a prize for first-place finishers within the 24 Hours of Daytona and France’s Le Mans, each 24-hour races.Rolex launched the Daytona in 1963, in hopes of competing with Omega’s Speedmaster and capturing racing followers. The identify is borrowed instantly from arguably probably the most well-known race on the earth, the Daytona 500. And throwing the watch in with the trophy was a modern bit of promoting: a manner for Rolex to neatly affiliate itself with victors, the identical manner it provides its watches to climbers who mount Everest or swimmers who cross the English channel. Though racing and Nascar don’t have the identical high-society picture it as soon as did when the Daytona (the watch) was first launched, the affiliation nonetheless pays dividends right this moment.A Singapore-based Daytona collector who goes by Ron Okay tells me that earlier than watches, he fell onerous for vehicles. “I made some huge cash from the inventory market, so I purchased my first Ferrari once I was 30 years previous,” Ron says. “Since then I had this penchant for vehicles, particularly the Ferraris. Why? As a result of the Ferrarris have this aerodynamic curvy form.” Ron discovered the identical elegant form on the Daytona and has amassed seven of them over his lifetime. “It has this magical enchantment and mystic really feel that makes me look very particular,” he says of the Daytonas.The Daytona’s most vital affiliation isn’t with the game of racing itself however one significantly well-known actor-turned-racer named Paul Newman. The story goes that after Newman began significantly racing his spouse went to Tiffany & Co and acquired a Daytona with a black-and-white “Unique” dial. The 2-tone dial grew to become so intently related to the Hollywood legend that collectors began referring to these fashions as Paul Newman Daytonas. When Paul Newman’s myth-making Paul Newman went up for public sale in 2017, it grew to become the most costly wristwatch ever offered at $17.eight million.