Sometimes you just need a timepiece on your wrist that goes nicely with both the checkered flag you’re clutching and that lacquered Formula One racing car you’re driving as you take a victory lap around the Monaco Grand Prix circuit. The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is that timepiece. Deriving its name from the famous racetrack, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona debuted in 1963, created to cater to a professional racecar driver’s speed-measuring needs. According to some, the already venerable watch was launched into super-stardom when actor Paul Newman began wearing the Daytona after becoming an auto-racing enthusiast.
With its steel construction and manual-wind chronograph movement, several variations of this Rolex have been released since the 60s. Rolex celebrated the Daytona’s 50th anniversary in 2013 and commemorated the event by introducing a prestigious addition, the first of its kind to have a platinum case. Among other updates like an ice blue dial and a chestnut brown bezel, this exceptional timepiece boasts a price tag of around $75,000—another aspect that sets it apart from the other Daytona models. But what continues making the Daytona so unique and favored among auto racing enthusiasts and collectors alike is its ability to precisely measure average speeds of up to 400 kilometers per hour, thanks to its graduated tachymeter bezel. Succinctly explained layman’s terms by Pawntique’s Don Battis, this Rolex function works as follows: “The tachymetric scale converts elapsed time in seconds per unit to units per hour. For instance, to measure speed between mile markers, start the chronograph at the first marker. At the next marker, the point on the scale adjacent to the second hand indicates the speed (in miles per hour) of travel between the two. If it takes 35 seconds to travel 1 mile, then the average speed is 103 miles per hour. On the watch, 35 seconds indicates approximately 103 mph.”
The Cosmograph Daytona Rolex (both the Anniversary addition and the traditional model) features a classic Rolex oyster 44MM case with deployment clasp, 44 jewel automatic self-winding movement and is waterproof to 100 meters. With the classic Daytona, the purchaser has a choice of traditional watch faces with several dial colors, and either a bracelet or embossed leather strap. The anniversary edition is offered exclusively in platinum.