Rolex Daytona Review – Iconic Design and Great Performance

Rolex Daytona – Legendary Chronograph

The Rolex Daytona is one of the more popular models in the luxury watchmaker’s product line, offering dead-on accuracy, great styling, nice features, terrific build quality and an association with a longtime owner who happened to be famous.  First introduced in 1963, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, as it is officially known, has gone through a number of changes over the years, but the basic design remains the same and the model continues to be popular with racing fans, watch collectors and fans of the Rolex brand in general.

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Rolex Daytona Build Quality

Rolex Daytona - pink indexThe build quality of the Rolex Daytona is consistent with the build quality of the company’s entire product line.  Cases are made from stainless steel, steel and gold, all gold, and platinum.  The face is protected by sapphire crystal.  The timepiece is water resistant to 100 meters; not good enough for diving, but you won’t be afraid to take it near water.  The automatic movement is accurate and well made and should last for decades with proper care.

Rolex Daytona Movements

During its 50 years or so of production, the Rolex Daytona has been sold with several different mechanical movements.  The first models, made in the mid-1960s, featured a manually wound mechanical movement. In the late 1980s, the model was sold with an automatic movement made by Zenith and modified by Rolex.  Since 2000, the Rolex Daytona has used an automatic movement made in-house.  All are accurate, but the current model has been certified by the COSC as a chronometer, meaning that this watch has been able to fare quite well in tests against atomic clocks.  Given that this is a sports watch, intended to be worn and used by racing fans, the rock-solid accuracy is a major selling point.


A number of changes have been made to the Rolex Daytona over the years.  Early manually wound movements were eventually replaced with automatic movements and the latest of these are extraordinarily accurate.  A screw-down crown and screw-down timing buttons were added later to help with water resistance.

Rolex Daytona Styling and Features

Rolex Daytona - cosmograph 18kAs the Rolex Daytona is a sports watch, first and foremost, you’re not going to find much in the way of design variance in the product line.  All models feature the three inset dials to measure elapsed time in seconds, minutes and hours.  Displays are all analog, as these are mechanical devices.  You do, however, have a choice of several case materials – stainless steel, a steel/gold mix, gold, and platinum.   The Rolex Daytona is sold with faces in a number of different colors, including black, white, gold, and blue.   Silver and gold color bracelets are available as are leather straps in both brown and black.

Rolex Daytona Care and Maintenance

As these are precision mechanical timepieces, you’ll have to take special care of your Rolex Daytona.  The company recommends that they be serviced every five years.  This involves returning the watch to the company where they will disassemble it, examine it for worn parts and replace them as necessary.  Then they will reassemble it, lubricate it, replace the watertight seals, and test it for both accuracy and water resistance. Finally, they will clean it and polish it so that it looks like new.  Aside from this, you should store your Rolex Daytona in a cool, dry place and preferably in a watch winder if you’re not going to wear it regularly.  That will keep it running properly and maintaining accurate time.

Rolex Daytona Warranty

The warranty offered with the purchase of the Rolex Daytona is the same as that offered with the other products the company makes; two years against defects in materials and craftsmanship. This is roughly the industry average, though genuine factory defects in these models are quite rare.  You’ll also get a two year warranty when you have the watch serviced, effectively giving you a new two year warranty every five years or so.

Rolex Daytona Prices

Rolex Daytona - yellow goldAs with most of the company’s products, you’ll find that Rolex Daytona prices are fairly expensive.  Prices start at about $12,000 or so, and can easily run up to more than $100,000, depending on features.  Obviously, the gold and platinum versions and the occasional model with diamonds are going to cost more, while the stainless steel models will be less expensive.  Collectors love the Rolex Daytona, and are especially fond of the first generation models from the 1960s.  These can sell for astonishing amounts of money; we’ve seen older models sell for $1 million or so.  A model made in the 1970s had what is now known as the “Paul Newman dial”; these are particularly sought out as this is the type that actor Paul Newman wore for the last 35 years of his life, and he was quite popular as both a fashion icon and a sports racing figure.  Current versions of this particular model have good appreciation potential, though we can’t really recommend that you buy one for speculation purposes.  Nevertheless, these are attractive, highly functional timepiece, regardless of price.

Rolex Daytona for Sale

Officially, you can only buy the Rolex Daytona at authorized dealers, as the company is quite particular about both distribution and pricing of their products.  These authorized dealers are generally high end jewelry stores, and you’ll find that they aren’t particularly flexible on price. This is the company’s preference, as they not to have their brand diluted in the marketplace by making them overly available.  That said, it is possible to buy discount Rolex Daytona watches online.  Of course, older models will have to be purchased through dealers of second hand models and they can be quite difficult to locate and very expensive.

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Rolex Daytona Summary

In production continuously for more than a half a century, the Rolex Daytona remains popular with watch collectors and sports fans.  It’s loaded with features, has classic, iconic good looks, great build quality, and a lot of factory options regarding how it looks.  No, it’s not inexpensive, but then again, it’s a luxury watch and you’d expect it to be expensive.  If you like vintage design and great quality, you’ll like the Rolex Daytona.