Rolex Models Introduction


(Copyright 23 February 2008, Larry Draper)

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is arguably, the most well known watch on earth. Say the name Daytona in almost any country and you get nods and murmers of understanding – even if there is an otherwise language barrier.

The Daytona has reached cult status it seems. Look at the wrists of celebrities, the wealthy, and the want-to-be’s. If there is a Daytona there, and there are a lot of them, it will be prominately displayed along with all the other badges and symbols that define us.

Sports watches and chronographs in particular, are constantly being re-defined and transformed, but the Daytona remains largely unchanged (visually) since its release in the early 1960’s.

Rolex introduced their chronograph watches in the 1930’s, with the basic two-button design we are familiar with appearing in 1937 with those watches that contained the Valjoux movement. Our beloved Daytona began to emerge in its present form in 1949 along with the Oyster case and familiar Cosmograh name. Finally, in 1960 with the appearance of the tachymeter scale on the bezel of the Cosmograph reference 6239, rather than on the dial, it morphed into its iconic present configuration.

By 1961 the name Daytona began appearing on the Cosmograph with the 6241 models, but the name stuck after a time and all Cosmos were known eventually as the “Daytona”, even if the name wasn’t there. Today the 6239 and 6241 references, manual wind, non-screw down pushers, are the grail watch for many collectors.

The 1970’s hailed the last major changes to the manual chronograph with the introduction of screw-down pushers in the reference 6263. This change allowed the Daytona to be listed as waterproof to 50 meters, and finally 100 meters in depth. In these early days, only the Gold and Two-Tone models sported “Chronometer” on the dial, the only manual wind models to do so.

The early Daytona used the very reliable Valjoux movement up until 1991 when favor turned to the Zenith El Primero movement which earned its’ place in history in 1969 as the worlds first automatic chronograph movement. Zenith movements were a very fast beat 36,000 BPH, but Rolex redesigned themovement to operate at it’s tpical 28,8000 BPH. Likely this was done to keep grease and oils on the fast moving parts and to ensure that it remained reliable and stable for it’s expected lifetime. Coined the cal. 4030, this impressive workhorse powered the Daytona until Rolex introduction of their own fully patented and in-house built Cal. 4130 just a short decade later in 2000.

Daytona Reference Numbers:

  • 1960 to 1991 – 6239, 6241, 6240, 6262, 6263, 6264, 6265
  • 1991 to 2000 – 16520
  • 2000 to present – 116520

Date of production:

  • 1960 to 1991 with Valjoux movements including the 72B, 722/1, 727
  • 1991 to 2000 with modified Zenith movement
  • 2000 to present (for the current 4130 in-house equipped model)




Color/ Material



Buttons & Crown


62341955Wasn’t called a Daytona but is considered the precursor. 500 made until 1961.
623819616238 is often referred to as the ”pre-Daytona”. It was rather similar to the 6234 but featured a few important visual differences.
62391963Valjoux 72BSolid Steel.Originally 300 units per hour, shortly changed to 200 units.Standard (black with silver registers, or silver with black registers)Exotic (black with white registers, or cream with black registers)
62401965200 units per hour“Oyster” engraved on dial for first timeScrew down pushersThe first waterproof chronograph and featured screw-down push-pieces. As such, it also featured the text ”Oyster” on the dial.
Waterproof to 165 feet.
62411966Valjoux 72BSteel ring, acrylic insert. Originally 300 units per hour, shortly changed to 200 units.Similar to the 6240 but it did not have screw-down pushers.
62621970Valjoux 727200 units per hourOne of the rarest Rolex watches from Rolex ever made. Only in production for one year, in 1970.
The reference 6262 was not a big seller, and this is one of the reasons why it was phased out so quickly. It was also only a transitional model. Due to its short production period, the production numbers are highly limited, making it one of the rarest and sought-after vintage Rolex watches.
62631970200 units per hourScrew down pushers + Triplock crownEarly versions of the Rolex Daytona ref. 6263 did not include the Daytona signature on them—only Cosmograph.
Of those Daytonas featuring a Paul Newman dial, the reference 6263 is the most sought-after.
First use of Triplock crown.
62641971Valjoux 727200 units per hourKnown as the ”Paul Newman”, as the actor and race car driver frequently wore this reference. But note that this refers to a particular dial, and several (6) Daytona references did feature the Paul Newman dial.
It was in production for only a few years in the 1970s, and its release coincided with that of the reference 6262.
62651971Steel bezel as opposed to some other references that had a black acrylic bezel. It has a 37mm case. 200 units per hourScrew down pushers + Triplock crownFirst use of Triplock crown
6269197x18k yellow gold.Screw down pushers + Triplock crownImmensely special and rare. Made in full 18k yellow gold. It is an Oyster with a screw-down and pusher.
627018k yellow gold. Pavé diamond-set dial, and the numerals are sapphires, the bezel is set with baguette diamonds, and the sub-dials are purple! One of the most expensive Daytona ever made by Rolex. Only eight pieces were produced, all made especially for his Majesty Qaboos Bin Said of Oman.
1652019884030 Zenith El PrimeroStainless Steel400 units per hour “Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph” Screw down pushers + Triplock crownThe “Zenith” Daytona.
Tachymeter originally 200 units, shorty upgraded to 400.
1652319884030 Zenith El PrimeroTwo tone stainless steel + yellow gold400 units per hour “Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph” Screw down pushers + Triplock crown
1652819884030 Zenith El PrimeroYellow gold400 units per hour “Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph” Screw down pushers + Triplock crown
1651819924030 Zenith El PrimeroYellow goldTriangles on bezel rather than dots “Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph” Screw down pushers + Triplock crownLeather strap and safety deployment clasp
1651919974030 Zenith El PrimeroWhite goldTriangles on bezel rather than dots “Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph” Screw down pushers + Triplock crownLeather strap and safety deployment clasp
11652020004130 RolexStainless Steel Seconds dial moved to 6 o’clock from 9 o’clock
116523 20004130 RolexSS and GoldTwo-tone version of the Daytona 116520. The difference is that it is made in gold and steel instead of full steel.
116528 20004130 RolexYellow gold
1165892000s4130 Rolex18k White GoldDiamond bezelRare and unique variant of the Rolex Daytona 116520. It is presented on a leather strap, but most importantly, it features an 18K white gold case and a diamond bezel. It is available with a number of different dials, but most commonly, it can be found with diamond indices.
11650920044130 RolexWhite goldGraduated bezel with numerals orientated towards the centre with black or white dial  Blue
116505  20084130 RolexEverose gold, a special pink gold alloyEverose goldPink
1165152011 4130 Rolex Pink goldMonobloc ceramic bezel and ivory or chocolate dial Initially released on a black alligator strap, but Rolex discontinued this configuration and instead changed it to its new innovation Oysterflex – a comfortable rubber strap that adds sportiness to this watch.
116506 Daytona Platinum2013 4130 Rolex PlatinumChestnut brown monobloc Cerachrom Iced Blue and brownDaytona Cosmograph Platinum, the model created by Rolex to commemorate fifty years from the launch
1165992010s4130 Rolex18k GoldDiamonds or SapphiresDue to the expensive nature of this watch, it is uncommon and not often discussed.
1165002016 4130 Rolex Stainless steel Cerachrom bezel in black ceramic White or Black
11650320164130 RolexOystersteel and yellow gold Yellow goldChampagne set with diamonds
116515LN20164130 RolexEverose goldBlack monobloc Cerachrom Chocolate and blackOysterflex bracelet
116500LN20164130 RolexOytersteel (Stainless steel)Black monobloc Cerachrom BlackThe first steel Daytona to feature a ceramic bezel. The introduction of this watch meant the discontinuing of the previous steel Daytona reference 116520.
116518LN20164130 RolexYellow goldBlack monobloc Cerachrom Champagne and black
116519LN20164130 RolexWhite goldBlack monobloc Cerachrom Steel and blackAvailable in a number of different iterations. The most recent include a ceramic bezel and an Oysterflex bracelet, whereas the early versions include an 18K white gold bezel and leather strap.
11650820164130 RolexYellow goldYellow goldGreen
11659520164130 RolexGemsExtremely rare and limited modern Rolex watch, not part of Rolex’s official catalog. It is reserved for top VIP customers, and in order to get the opportunity to buy one from an official retailer, Rolex has a particular application process in place. The watch has a gem-set bezel, featuring gemstone in different colors, creating a rainbow effect.
The lugs of the watch are diamond-set, and the markers also have rainbow-effect-applied baguette gemstones.

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