Masculinity and Speed

The present lot, a Daytona Rolex with original box; Paul Newman and Bill Freeman at Willow Springs Raceway in 1976 along side Bill Freeman's Porsche 911.

“Daytona” evokes thoughts of speed and motorsport as the famous Daytona speedway racetrack continues to host the iconic Daytona 500 and the Rolex sponsored Rolex 24 celebrates its 60th year this coming January. However, now “Daytona” has dual associations, as the Rolex Daytona has become one of the most coveted and well-known wristwatches in the world. Paul Newman wore the watch for his racing debut in 1972 and subsequently after, for various photo shoots, sealing its association with racing and masculinity.

Daytona International Speedway

The Rolex Daytona 6265 model replaced the 6264 in 1971. The 6265 came with a steel metal bezel and the watch was fitted with the Valjoux 727 movement. In1987, it was taken out of production and has become highly coveted for its unique and attractive design. Often called the “Big Red”, “Daytona” is written in red on the dial and it is a reverse panda dial, black with white sub dials, which makes the watch more desirable. This watch has screw down crown and pushers.

With their continuously growing popularity, “Daytona” wristwatches from this period have become increasingly rare. To find one with box, papers and original tag is even rarer. This Daytona emerges from a private New Jersey home as a complete package. 


In 1905, at age 24, German businessman Hans Wilsdorf founded a company with Alfred Davis called Wilsdorf & Davis in London with the goal of selling high-quality, affordable timepieces. Three years later, he and Davis registered the brand name Rolex in Switzerland with a singular vision: quality, good-looking watches. Wilsdorf created the first watch to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision in 1910. In 1914, he changed the name of the company to The Rolex Watch Company and several years later he moved their headquarters to Geneva, Switzerland, where the company remains to this day.

Rolex is likely the most recognizable watch in the world, and for good reason. The “Crown” (as it is affectionately called by collectors) it is in many ways the brand to which all other brands are compared. Rolex’s “firsts” are myriad and include the first waterproof watch in 1926 and the first self-winding mechanism in 1931. They are not the oldest watchmaker, nor are they the most exclusive, and certainly not the most expensive. However, when one thinks watches the first name that often comes to mind is Rolex, in large part due to it having been the timepiece of choice for athletes and adventurers.

In 1927, a Rolex Oyster made it across the English Channel on the wrist of swimmer, and in 1953, a Rolex survived Sir Edmund Hillary’s Mount Everest conquest. The dive into the Mariana Trench and the James Cameron Deepsea Expedition are two more examples of where a Rolex came out unscathed. The company also designed watches specifically for pilots, navigators, and world travelers.

It can be argued that every single model in the Rolex lineup is iconic, from the Submariner to the Daytona. For as long as Rolex has existed, the company has been synonymous with sport, adventure, luxury, and royalty. Some of the most famous names in history have donned a Rolex including Sir Winston Churchill, Paul Newman, and Roger Federer.

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