For a while now, the end game for a lot of vintage watch collectors has always been ‘vintage Daytona’. Mythical, scary, and eye-wateringly expensive, the very utterance of the term vintage Daytona is enough to get the attention of the most hardcore collectors. Partly branding and partly due to its status as the pinnacle of Rolex, even till this day, the Rolex Daytona is the hardest watch to get at a Rolex AD, with waitlists going for years and only clients with a history of buying allowed to even be considered a place in the queue.
With vintage, it is the same story but both trickier and more rewarding at the same time. With a plethora of variants from the 6239, all the way to the 6265 and even more dial variants from something as recognizable as Paul Newman’s to murkier details such as underlines, double Swiss’s and Mk 1 pushers, vintage Datyonas have always been scrutinized and studied, ridiculed and admired.
While there are plenty of nitty-gritty details that are important for collectors to know, at the end of the day, the main appeal of the Daytona is that it is just a downright good-looking watch. Sized at 36mm with its iconic three sub-dial layout, it is a hard watch to study, but an easy one to appreciate. A collector friend of mine once said: ‘Once you go Daytona, you never go back’, referring to vintage ones of course. It’s easy to see why, as on the wrist there is nothing quite like it, with its elegant proportions and sporty presence. While there are other chronographs of the era that look similar, somehow, Rolex just got the little things right. As Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe famously said: ‘God is in the details.’
This particular example is one of the icons, even within the vintage Daytona spectrum. When the average collector thinks of a vintage Daytona, there’s a good chance that it’s going to be a Ref. 6263. The Ref. 6263, along with the Ref. 6265 succeeded the Ref. 6262 and 6264 and is most recognizable as the first Oyster water-proof Cosmograph Daytona. Visually, it was the first time Rolex used screw-down pushers on a watch and acts as the biggest visual difference between its predecessors. The Ref. 6263 comes with an acrylic black bezel, as supposed to the 6265s that came with a stainless steel or gold bezel.
While Daytona 6263s do pop up, it is hard to find examples that are in excellent condition. The watch you see here today is certainly that, with a beautiful matte black dial with perfectly preserved lume plots and a thick stainless steel case with its original Mk 3 pushers and original bezel. Details aside, on the wrist, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6263 is a joy to wear, with perfect proportions and truly one of the ‘end-game’ pieces in watch collecting.