Rolex Daytona 6265 ‘Big Red’
The 6265, the 'grail watch' for many aficionados worldwide.
In 1958, NASCAR created the Daytona International Speedway in the city of Daytona, Florida. One year later, Rolex introduced the Oyster Chronograph; a manual-wind chronograph with an Oyster case. Rolex produced this watch to 1961 and then, the reference 6238 made its way to the market.
This watch is better known as the Pre-Daytona; the forefather of the Daytona. One year later, Rolex served as the official timekeeper of the Daytona Speedway. In 1963, the reference 6239, sometimes nicknamed by Rolex as ‘Le Mans’, was launched and this watch had the design of the Daytona as we know it today. It had the tachymetric scale engraved on the bezel and faceted hour markers and baton hands. In 1965, the name Daytona appeared on the dial.
In 1971, Rolex brought out ref: 6265, which we have on offer today. This Daytona had a steel bezel as opposed to some other references that had a black acrylic bezel. Moreover, this watch featured screw-down pushers and therefore, was made to be waterproof.
The model we offer you today dates back to 1987. So, it’s a late example. Characteristically, for the late 6265’s are the ‘Big Red Dials’, which means the word Daytona is printed in a large, red font.
Its 37mm case houses the famous Valjoux 727 and this watch, which has been kept in great condition, comes as a full set.
Rolex started making chronographs in the 1930s, but it was only in 1963 that a named product line was introduced: the Cosmograph. In some early advertisements, Rolex referred to the watch as the ‘Le Mans’ after the famous race track in France, although the name never appeared on the dial. After a few years, the line was officially renamed Cosmograph Daytona, after the racetrack in Florida. The most noticeable difference between these Cosmograph (Daytona) models and earlier Rolex chronographs, was the tachymeter scale (used for measuring distance and speed) that was moved from its traditional placement on the dial to the bezel. Furthermore, the dial was updated with the introduction of contrasting sub-dials. It’s hard to imagine now, but Daytonas received little love after their release. Most Daytonas languished in dealer displays for years and were only started to get noticed by Italian collectors and dealers in the late 1980s. Nowadays, Daytonas are among the most sought after Rolex models, fetching prices from $15,000 for modern ones to many millions for rare vintage references. A big contrast with the $210 list price when it was first released!