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Rolex Daytona Ultimate Buying Guide

Shop Rolex Daytona
Paul Altieri

If you’re in the market for a Rolex Daytona, then you’ve come to the right place. First launched in 1963 as a chronograph sports watch intended for the race track, the Rolex Daytona is now regarded as one of the world’s single most famous luxury watches, and it can be spotted on the wrists of countless professional athletes, musicians, and A-list celebrities all around the globe.

This luxurious, exclusive sports watch is one of the most desirable on the planet and because of that, it’s incredibly hard to get your hands on one at a retail level. That’s why so many buyers turn to the secondary market to shop for one of these legendary chronographs – because you can skip the long waitlists and bypass the competition. Here, we’re outlining everything that you need to know when shopping for a Rolex Daytona. We firmly believe that the best kind of buyer is an educated buyer, so we thought we would put together a guide with all of the important information you need to navigate this process.

Buying a Rolex Daytona is not an everyday purchase, and just like any luxury watch, knowing what to look for will allow you to make the best and most informed purchase possible. With this guide, we hope you’ll be able to narrow down your search to find the exact Daytona that belongs on your wrist, regardless of whether it’s a rare vintage reference or the latest new release. Luckily, we have both (and everything in between) available on our site.

Rolex Daytona Collection

Rolex Daytona Current Collection Key Features:

  • Reference Numbers: 116500LN, 116503, 116508, 116509, 116505, 116508, 116518LN, 116519LN, 116515LN, 116506
  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Materials: Oystersteel, Yellow Rolesor, 18k Everose gold, 18k yellow gold, 18k white gold, 950 platinum
  • Features: Time + Running Seconds; 12-hour chronograph
  • Bezel: Fixed, Cerachrom or 18k Gold w/ Engraved Tachymeter Scale (Gem-Set Options Available for Select References)
  • Dial: Multiple Options Available; Luminous or Diamond Hour Markers
  • Luminous Material: Chromalight
  • Crystal: Sapphire (Flat)
  • Movement: Rolex Caliber 4130 (Automatic Winding, Chronometer-Certified)
  • Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet
  • Strap/Bracelet: Oyster bracelet, Oysterflex bracelet

Click here to learn more about what determines the price of a Rolex Daytona.

Rolex Daytona

History of the Rolex Daytona

First introduced in 1963, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona has a rich 50+ year history gracing the wrists of professional drivers and the world’s rich and famous. And while the Rolex Daytona is one of the world’s most admired, coveted, and exclusive watches today, it was actually widely unpopular and some iterations were even considered unsightly for many years.

In fact, it took being worn by the famous actor and racing driver Paul Newman for this watch to gain real popularity among collectors and the public. Famously, Paul Newman’s very own Rolex Daytona sold for $17.8 million at a 2017 auction, making it the most expensive Rolex watch ever sold.

Originally designed for professional racers, the Rolex Daytona is named after the famous Florida racetrack and features a precision chronograph movement and tachymeter bezel, which allows accurate measurement of land speeds of up to 400 miles per hour. However, the Rolex Daytona was not the company’s first chronograph watch, and originally these early Daytona watches did not even have the ‘Daytona’ name printed on their dials. However, what set the first 1963 models apart – and what still defines the Daytona’s aesthetics today – was how Rolex moved the tachymetric scale from the periphery of the dial to the bezel.

Rolex Daytona Ultimate Buying Guide

Rolex Daytona Evolution

Over the years, the Rolex Daytona has undergone three major transformations, which we categorize as the different ‘generations’ of Daytona watches. We’ll get into the specifics of these generations in a bit, but it’s important to know just how much this watch has changed over the years. For example, when this watch was first launched, it clocked in much smaller – at about 37mm – and featured an acrylic crystal and hand-wound movement not manufactured by Rolex. Today, the new models feature in-house automatic movements, sapphire crystals, sporty ceramic bezels, and cases with the addition of crown guards that measure 40mm.

Although the Rolex Daytona was originally developed to be a professional timing tool for drivers to use at the race track, the collection has expanded due to the watch’s tremendous popularity and association with luxury. Today, you can find the Daytona in various precious metals (like Everose and Platinum) and outfitted with diamonds and even rainbow-colored gemstones.

The Rolex Daytona has become one of the world’s most famous and favorite icons – a watch that every collector wants to have in their watch box, regardless of whether they’re after a contemporary or vintage reference. In fact, vintage Rolex Daytona watches are also among the most popular vintage watches to collect in the world, with many collectors clamoring over the rare and incredibly valuable early models.

Platinum Rolex Daytona Buying Guide 116505 Ice Blue Dial

Rolex Daytona Timeline

The Daytona has a long, rich heritage with Rolex. However, while the first Cosmograph Daytona was introduced in 1963, Rolex began laying down the foundation for the Daytona years before it would be put on the world stage.

Below, we’ve outlined the timeline of the Rolex Daytona over the years, from its inception to its latest, most modern series.

  • 1903 to 1935: Daytona Florida becomes known as the World Capital of Speed.
  • 1935: British driver Malcolm Campbell breaks 300 MPH speed barrier at Utah Salt Flats wearing a Rolex Oyster
  • 1959: First Daytona International Speedway Race officially opens.
  • 1962: Rolex becomes the Official timekeeper of Daytona International Speedway; first Rolex 24 At Daytona race.
  • 1963: First Rolex Daytona (ref. 6239) introduced.
  • 1964: The word “Daytona” is added below 12 o’clock on the dial.
  • 1965:  Rolex Daytona ref. 6240 introduced which includes “Oyster” features.
  • 1967: The word “Daytona” moved above 6 o’clock on the dial.
  • 1988: The second series of Daytona watches is introduced with self-winding movements
  • 2000: The third series of Daytona watches is introduced with Rolex’s first in-house chronograph movement.
  • 2011: First Cerachrom (ceramic) bezel for the Daytona collection (on Everose gold model)
  • 2013: Platinum Rolex Daytona reference 116506 introduced to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the collection.
  • 2016: Rolex adds a black Cerachrom bezel to the stainless steel Daytona with the launch of the ref. 116500LN
  • 2021: Rolex re-introduces meteorite dials to the Daytona collection.

Rolex Daytona

How Much Is a Rolex Daytona?

Today, the retail prices for Rolex Daytona watches start at $14,550 for the standard 904L stainless steel and ceramic model. However, the price of a retail Daytona can sharply increase based on the use of precious alloys, diamonds or gemstones which many buyers desire.

Additionally, its also incredibly important to note that due to the fact that all Rolex Daytona watches are perpetually sold-out at a retail level, second-hand prices are often significantly higher than their original brand-new values.

Model Retail Price Second-Hand Price Materials Features
Paul Newman’s Daytona, Ref. 6239 N/A 17.75 million dollars Stainless Steel Most expensive Rolex Daytona
Ref. 116500LN 14,550 USD from $35,550 Stainless Steel Ceramic bezel
Ref. 116503 17,950 USD from $23,500 Stainless Steel + Gold Two-Tone
Ref. 116508 37,550 USD from $68,550 Yellow Gold Gold bezel and Oyster bracelet
Ref. 116509 40,450 USD from $55,550 White Gold Gold bezel and Oyster bracelet
Ref. 116505 46,700 USD from $70,500 Everose Gold Diamond dial
Ref. 116519LN 30,500 USD from $52,350 White Gold Ceramic bezel and Oysterflex bracelet
Ref. 116518LN 29,200 USD from $54,550 Yellow Gold Ceramic bezel and Oysterflex bracelet
Ref. 116506 75,000 USD from $160,500 Platinum Ice Blue dial and  brown ceramic bezel

Rolex Daytona Buying Guide Reference 116509 White Gold Blue Dial

Buying Pre-Owned vs. New Daytona

While certain contemporary Daytona models can be quite pricey, the most expensive Rolex Daytona watches aren’t brand-new models, they’re vintage references. Virtually all vintage Daytona watches from the first generation will sell for significantly more than the price of a brand-new Daytona – even a solid gold one – simply because of their rarity and desirability on the market.

The most expensive Rolex Daytona ever sold is Paul Newman’s very own ref. 6239 Daytona, which sold for a record-breaking $17.75 million at auction in 2017. Current prices for vintage Daytona models, like the reference 6263 for example, have risen dramatically, with prices in the neighborhood $75,000 USD for standard dial models. To give you another example, the metal bezel variant from the same generation (reference 6265) typically clocks in at about $50,000 USD.

When it comes to buying a brand-new Daytona at retail, you still have a lot of variety in price as well, but it is the secondary market where things really open up. Due to the huge variety of different metals, gemstones, and most importantly – the varying degrees of collectability among the references – the Rolex Daytona price range can span hundreds of thousands, and even millions of dollars. So while your ‘standard’ Oystersteel Daytona may only cost $13,150 if you are lucky enough to find one at retail, the price only goes up from there, depending on what specific version you want.

However, one thing that both new and vintage Daytona watches share is their exclusivity. There are often waitlists for new Daytona models, and in true Rolex fashion, only a certain amount are made per year. When it comes to vintage models, sometimes there were so few made that when one comes up at auction, it could quite literally be a once-in-a-lifetime chance. On the retail market the competition is just as fierce, as you need to have a good relationship with your local dealer to get on a waitlist for the Daytona you desire – and even then, the waitlist itself might very well span multiple years.

Rolex Daytona

Rolex Daytona Reference Numbers

The Rolex Daytona has evolved through three distinct generations, and within each generation, we can categorize specific reference numbers. Using this guide, you can easily determine what generation a particular Daytona watch is from and also use it to identify specific reference numbers.

1. Rolex Daytona First Generation

The first generation of Rolex Daytona watches was produced between 1963 and 1988 and only feature reference numbers that are four digits. All of these first-generation reference models have 37mm cases, manual-wind Valjoux movements, and acrylic crystals on the cases. It was during the first generation that advancements like screw-down pushers, which significantly improved the overall reliability and water-resistance.

Reference Approx. Years Case Materials Bezel Pushers Movement
6239 1963 – 1969 Non-Oyster Stainless Steel, 14k Gold, 18k Gold Engraved Metal Pump-style Valjoux 72 / Valjoux 722
6241 1965 – 1969 Non-Oyster Stainless Steel, 14k Gold, 18k Gold Black Acrylic Pump-style Valjoux 722
6240 1965 – 1969 Oyster Stainless Steel Black Acrylic Screw-down Valjoux 72 / Valjoux 722
6262 1970 – 1971 Non-Oyster Stainless Steel, 14k Gold, 18k Gold Engraved Metal Pump-style Valjoux 727
6264 1970 – 1971 Non-Oyster Stainless Steel, 14k Gold, 18k Gold Black Acrylic Pump-style Valjoux 727
6265 1971 – 1988 Oyster Stainless Steel, 14k Gold, 18k Gold Engraved Metal Screw-down Valjoux 727
6263 1971 – 1988 Oyster Stainless Steel, 14k Gold, 18k Gold Black Acrylic Screw-down Valjoux 727
6269/6270 1980s Oyster 18k gold Diamond-set Screw-down Valjoux 727

Rolex Daytona

Rolex Daytona Second Generation

The second-generation of Rolex Daytona watches marked the arrival of self-winding movements and were produced between 1988 and 2000. These models are also known as the “Zenith Daytona” and always feature a five-digit reference number. A big differentiator between the first and second generation of the Daytona was the case, with the second generation growing to 40mm and adopting the addition of crown-guards. The second-generation Daytona watches also featured a synthetic sapphire crystal instead of an acrylic crystal on top of the dial.

However, while the external updates are certainly significant, the biggest change that came with the second generation of the Daytona was the arrival of a self-winding movement, transforming the watch into the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona.

Reference Approx. Year Introduced Materials Bracelet/Strap Movement
16520 1988 Stainless Steel Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4030
16523 1988 Stainless Steel + Yellow Gold Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4030
16528 1988 Yellow Gold Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4030
16518 1992 Yellow Gold Leather Strap Cal. 4030
16568 1994 Yellow Gold, Diamond Bezel Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4030
16568 EMRO 1996 Yellow Gold, Emerald Bezel Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4030
16519 1997 White Gold Leather Strap Cal. 4030
16588 SAFU 1997 Yellow Gold, Pink Sapphire Bezel Leather Strap Cal. 4030
16589 BRIL 1997 White Gold, Diamond Bezel Leather Strap Cal. 4030
16589 SAPH 1997 White Gold, Blue Sapphire Bezel Leather Strap Cal. 4030
16589 RUBI 1997 White Gold, Ruby Bezel Leather Strap Cal. 4030
16559 SAPH 1998 White Gold, Blue Sapphire Bezel Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4030
16559 RUBI 1999 White Gold, Ruby Bezel Leather Strap Cal. 4030
16559 SACO 1999 White Gold, Cognac Sapphire Bezel Leather Strap Cal. 4030
16598 EMRO 1999 Yellow Gold, Emerald Bezel Leather Strap Cal. 4030

Rolex Daytona

Rolex Daytona Third Generation

Today, we are currently in the third generation of the Rolex Daytona. This third-generation was launched by Rolex in 2000 and featured the biggest upgrade yet: Rolex’s very own, in-house chronograph movement. The third generation Rolex Daytona retains many of the same core design traits that were first introduced with the second generation.

However, you can always tell this watch apart by its six-digit reference number and the fact that the running seconds indication moved from the 9 o’clock location (on Zenith Daytona models) to the 6 o’clock position on the version with in-house movements.

Reference Approx. Year Introduced Materials Bezel Bracelet/Strap Movement
116500 2000 Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116523 2000 Stainless Steel + Yellow Gold Yellow Gold Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116528 2000 Yellow Gold Yellow Gold Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116518 2000 Yellow Gold Yellow Gold Leather Strap Cal. 4130
116519 2000 White Gold White Gold Leather Strap Cal. 4130
116568 2001 Yellow Gold Baguette Diamonds Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116509 2004 White Gold White Gold Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116598 SACO 2004 Yellow Gold Cognac Sapphires Leather Strap Cal. 4130
116505 2008 Everose Gold Everose Gold Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116599 4RU 2009 White Gold Baguette Diamonds and Rubies Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116589 RBR 2009 White Gold Double Diamond Row Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116515 LN 2011 Everose Gold Cerachrom Leather Strap Cal. 4130
116598 RBOW 2012 Yellow Gold Multi-Colored Sapphires Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116599 RBOW 2012 White Gold Multi-Colored Sapphires Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116506 2013 Platinum Cerachrom Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116576 TBR 2014 Platinum Baguette Diamonds Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116500 LN 2016 Stainless Steel Cerachrom Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116503 2016 Stainless Steel + Yellow Gold Yellow Gold Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116508 2016 Yellow Gold Yellow Gold Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116518 LN 2017 Yellow Gold Cerachrom Oysterflex Bracelet Cal. 4130
116519 LN 2017 White Gold Cerachrom Oysterflex Bracelet Cal. 4130
116515 LN 2017 Everose Gold Cerachrom Oysterflex Bracelet Cal. 4130
116595 RBOW 2018 Everose Gold Multi-Colored Sapphires Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116578 SACO 2019 Yellow Gold Cognac Sapphires Oyster Bracelet Cal. 4130
116588 SACO 2019 Yellow Gold Cognac Sapphires Oysterflex Bracelet Cal. 4130
116588 TBR 2019 Yellow Gold Baguette Diamonds Oysterflex Bracelet Cal. 4130

Rolex Daytona

Everything You Need To Know About The Rolex Daytona Features & Options

With such a long history, the Rolex Daytona has seen a lot of changes and upgrades over the years – whether that’s on the dial, the bezel, or the case itself. Here, we’re outlining all of the key features you need to know across all three generations of Rolex Daytona watches. With this specific guide to the key features, we hope you can narrow down your search for a pre-owned Daytona to exactly the model that will suit your wrist.

Rolex Daytona Materials

The Rolex Daytona has always been available in stainless steel, the first reference has been available in steel, 14k gold, and 18k gold. With the introduction of the second generation, Rolex also introduced Rolesor (two-tone stainless steel and yellow gold) to the collection. When the third generation was introduced, Rolex added ultra-luxurious platinum and their proprietary 18k rose gold alloy known as Everose gold.

Rolex Daytona Sizes

The first generation of Rolex Daytona watches had cases that measured 37mm. However, when Rolex released the second generation the case size increased to 40mm, and crown-guards were added onto the side of the case to offer better protection for the winding crown. Today, the third generation of watches remains 40mm in size with very similar proportions to the original self-winding models from 1988.

Rolex Daytona Bezels

The Daytona’s bezel has always, famously, featured a tachymeter scale on it (the one exception being Rolex’s premium gem-set versions). Over the decades, the material for the bezel has changed. The original, very first ref. 6239 references were fitted with metal (stainless steel or gold) bezels that had their tachymeter scales engraved into them. However, shortly after their introduction, Rolex also introduced a black acrylic bezel.

By the second generation, Rolex had discontinued the acrylic bezel option, and all second-generation Daytona watches only featured metal tachymeter bezels. However, when Rolex introduced the Everose gold Daytona on a leather strap in 2011, it came equipped with monobloc ceramic bezel made from a proprietary material called Cerachrom that is highly resistant to scratching and fading. Two years later to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Daytona collection in 2013, Rolex introduced a solid 950 platinum Daytona fitted with a brown Cerachrom bezel and an ice blue dial to the collection.

Since 2016, Rolex has totally phased out the stainless steel tachymeter bezel on all modern Daytona watches. Today, the current-production Daytona references only feature Cerachrom or 18k gold bezels. However, a very limited, exclusive number skip the tachymeter scale entirely and are set with gems like the “Leopard Daytona” or “Rainbow Daytona” – both ultra-rare and luxurious editions that were not part of the standard Daytona range.

Rolex Daytona 116500LN White Dial Buying Guide

Rolex Daytona Dials

Rolex has outfitted the Daytona with a wide variety of dials throughout the years. During the first generation, the Daytona watches most commonly featured white, black, silver, or champagne (gold) colored dials. What made the dials pop was the frequent use of sub-dials in a contrasting color – like a silver/white dial with black sub-dials (panda dial) or a black dial with white sub-dials (reverse panda dial). The all-silver dials were among the rarest during this time, collectors call these “Albino Daytona” watches.

When it comes to the first generation of Daytona models, we also have to mention the Paul Newman ‘exotic’ dials. These dials were defined by a stepped minute track in a contrasting color and an Art Deco style font for the numerals in its sub-dials. Famous Hollywood actor, Paul Newman owned one of these exotic dial watches, and after being photographed for a magazine cover while wearing one, they started to rise in value and popularity, picking up the nickname the “Paul Newman Dial” among vintage collectors. Today, these watches are incredibly collectible, but before Newman sported one, these dials were actually really unpopular, as many people saw the design as too bold, and even opted to have them replaced during routine repairs and servicing.

Upon ushering in the second generation of Daytona watches, Rolex has only outfitted stainless steel models in black or white dials. However, the dial options for other Daytona models forged out of precious metals are far more diverse. On two-tone, solid gold, and platinum Daytona watches you will find silver, champagne, blue, green, chocolate brown, pink, and ice blue (among others). Plus there are also all of the various stone/material dials like lapis lazuli, and mother of pearl, along with the updated meteorite dials that were added to the solid gold Daytona models from the collection in 2021.

It’s also important to point out that the style of hour markers can vary on some of these more elaborate dials. In addition to the classic stick indexes, Rolex Daytona hour markers can also be featured in Arabic numerals, Roman numerals, Hindu-Arabic numerals, diamonds, and even rainbow-colored sapphires. Furthermore, even among the diamond-set indexes, the stones themselves can either be round or baguette shaped, which further adds diversity to the models dials from the Rolex Daytona collection.

Rolex Daytona Bracelets

Most Rolex Daytona models are sold on matching Oyster bracelets (either stainless steel, two-tone, solid gold, or platinum) to match the alloy of the case. However, there are certain solid 18k gold references that have been outfitted with either alligator leather straps or Oysterflex bracelets with matching 18k gold folding clasps. Today, all of the leather strap models have been discontinued, and instead Rolex only offers solid gold models with Cerachrom bezels and Oysterflex bracelets.

Rolex Daytona

Rolex Daytona Movements

With each new Rolex Daytona generation came a new series of movements. We can break them down into the following categories.

First Series: Manual Valjoux Cal. 72, Cal. 722, Cal. 727

All of the first generation Rolex Daytona watches feature a manually-wound movement, but a few different calibers were used to power these 37mm watches. The first of the bunch was the Valjoux 72, followed by the Valjoux 722, and then the Valjoux 727. The final movement was the biggest improvement of them all, bringing the frequency up to 21.600 BPH (vibrations per hour), compared to the 18.000 BPH of the previous models.

Second Series: Automatic Zenith El Primero Caliber 3019PHC

The second generation of Daytona watches brought Rolex’s chronograph into the modern era with a self-winding movement. However, as Rolex did not have its own automatic chronograph movement, the brand turned to Zenith, using its famous El Primero caliber that first appeared in 1969.

However, Rolex heavily modified the Zenith El Primero, replacing a significant number of components, changing its frequency, and labeling it the Caliber 4030. In fact, the movement was so heavily modified that only about 50% of the original Zenith movement was used in these second-generation Daytona watches. Today, this generation largely goes by the nickname “Zenith Daytona” within collecting circles.

Third Series: Automatic Rolex In-House Caliber 4130

The third series of Daytona movements is the most exciting to collectors and Rolex enthusiasts because it was the first true, in-house Rolex chronograph movement used inside this iconic timepiece. Rolex launched the new Caliber 4130 in 2000, having designed the entire movement from the ground up for maximum precision and dependability.

Surprisingly, Rolex decided to simplify the architecture to incorporate far fewer components than a standard chronograph movement. However, this change had a big impact, making the movement far more reliable and easy to service. With all that space saved, Rolex could then use a longer mainspring, giving the Caliber 4130 movement a massive 72-hour power reserve. Another important innovation of the Cal. 4130 was the change of the coupling system from a lateral clutch to a vertical clutch. This upgrade eliminated both the loss of amplitude and the “jitter” that usually occurs when starting or stopping the chronograph complication.

Rolex Daytona Buying Guide Yellow Gold 116508 John Mayer

Celebrities Who Wear the Rolex Daytona

While Paul Newman is the celebrity most closely tied to the Daytona (the most desirable and valuable dial variation even shares his name), this watch is beloved by dozens of celebrities. The Rolex Daytona is incredibly popular in Hollywood due to its exclusivity, high-class status, and beautiful designs that are forged out of precious metals and adorned with unique dials and gems.

Below are just a few of the celebrities we’ve seen sporting a Rolex Daytona.

  • Paul Newman
  • John Mayer
  • Eric Clapton
  • Adam Levine
  • Kevin Hart
  • Ellen DeGeneres
  • Jay-Z
  • Miley Cyrus
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Victoria Beckham
  • Jonah Hill
  • Russel Crowe
  • Lenny Kravitz
  • Mark Wahlberg

Rolex Daytona

Frequently Asked Questions about the Rolex Daytona

This is a fairly comprehensive guide to the Rolex Daytona, going over everything from dial variations to the specific reference numbers. However, there are some frequently asked questions we get that we want to address for you directly.

Don’t see your question here? Post your question in the comments or give our team of experts a call right now at (800) 494-3708 for more insight. We’re more than happy to talk about specific references on our website or help you narrow down your search.

How much do newer stainless steel Daytona models cost?

The retail price for a brand-new stainless steel Daytona is $14,550. However, the retail price isn’t a great reflection of the overall market value of that watch. Because these watches are produced in such low numbers, demand is incredibly high. In fact, a brand new Daytona can go for more than twice the retail price on the secondary market, simply because eager buyers are willing to pay above retail to skip the multi-year waiting list.

On the second-hand market, the prices for the previous generation of stainless steel Daytona watches start out at roughly $25k – $30k when purchased used. Generally speaking, vintage Daytona models are the most expensive due to their high levels of collectibility, with even the most humble stainless steel models selling for more than the price of a brand-new solid gold Daytona.

How much does a gold or platinum Rolex Daytona cost?

Gold and platinum Rolex Daytona watches are some of the most expensive models in the brand’s entire catalog. To give you an idea, the retail prices for a solid gold Daytona watch starts out at $29,200 for the yellow gold model with a ceramic bezel on a rubber Oysterflex bracelet and increases from there.

Surprising to some, the 18k white gold and Everose gold Daytona watches cost more than the 18k gold yellow gold versions (both with starting prices at $30,500). Platinum models are the most expensive due to the extreme cost of this alloy, and you can expect to pay around $75k for a platinum Rolex Daytona should you purchase it at retail.

How much does a rare pre-Daytona cost?

You may have heard of Pre-Daytona’s before – these are the chronograph watches Rolex produced before they released the Daytona in 1963. These vintage watches start out at roughly $45,00, but it is not uncommon for rare references in great condition to sell for well over $100,000.

Typically the “Pre-Daytona” refers to the ref. 6238, which was the model that existed right before the first actual Daytona was introduced, but sometimes the name can be used to describe a number of older Rolex chronograph watches. Because these are all rather rare vintage models, the price can range dramatically depending on factors such as the specific reference, the materials of its construction, and most importantly, its overall condition.

Vintage Rolex Daytona 6262 Buying Guide Reverse Panda Dial

How can I buy a Daytona?

Bob’s Watches is the best place to buy a Rolex Daytona. While a Rolex retailer or boutique will only have the current models available (and likely will be out of stock), the secondary market offers a wide selection of Rolex Daytona watches, ranging from contemporary references to ultra-rare vintage models.

You can shop our catalog of Rolex Daytona watches 24/7 on our website which is updated daily with all of our new timepieces. All of the watches you see are in-stock, available for immediate purchase, and backed by our lifetime authenticity guarantee.

Why can’t I buy a Daytona?

You can’t simply walk into a store and buy any Rolex Daytona you want because every authorized retailer is out of stock of many models and has been for several years. So even though you can actually buy one, you can’t do it without spending time on a waiting list.

You can purchase a brand-new Daytona via an authorized Rolex dealer or Rolex boutique, but sometimes the waiting lists for a new Daytona can be several years-long. When you shop on the secondary market, you have the advantage of being able to purchase an exclusive, luxurious Rolex Daytona without the wait.

Why is the Rolex Daytona so expensive?

Rolex Daytona watches are so expensive because there are a set number of examples produced each year, and they are only crafted from the very finest materials available. Even contemporary Rolex Daytona watches are produced in such low numbers relative to demand, that the waitlist for particular models can be several years-long.

Vintage Rolex Daytona watches are incredibly hard to come across and go for tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands – even millions of dollars because of this, and often competition for them among buyers is incredibly fierce.

Is a Rolex Daytona a good investment?

Yes. In fact, it could a Rolex Daytona one of the best watch investments that you make. Vintage Rolex models go for significantly more than their retail price – some selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even contemporary models sell on the secondary market for twice their retail price, simply because they are so exclusive to own.

Rolex Daytona

Paul Altieri

Paul is the company's Founder and CEO. He is responsible for all the day to day activities from purchasing, receiving, marketing and sales. Paul is a graduate of Boston College 1979 and resides in California with his family.

  1. Great comprehensive round up of the Cosmo Daytona.
    Worth noting for potential buyers that the early manual wind chronos with pushers are 36.85mm and have slimer lugs and married to small pushers and small crown wear quite small. The 6265/6263 run out models with screw came with a larger 37.35mm case with slightly beefier lugs and overall dimensions of an improved waterproof Oyster Case. Marrying the larger pushers and bigger crown with the oyster case makes the watch quite a bit bigger if put side by side with a pre-oyster model. Finally, over the last few years of production of the 6263/6265 (especially the floating Daytona) the factory left fractionally more metal on the case sides and lugs, so these wear the largest of the genre and even more so as the 78350 19mm solid link bracelet accompanying it was also bigger than the folded link 7835 of earlier 6263/6265’s.

    • Excellent additions as always, thank you Paul!
      Yes, the perceived size difference of the later-era Oyster Daytona models really is far more noticeable on the wrist than any numerical measurements might otherwise indicate. The combined effect of having a significantly larger crown and pushers, along with a beefier bracelet have a similar effect as the ceramic bezel Submariner models that wear noticeably larger due to their thicker lugs and crown guards.
      Also worth noting is that not all vintage Daytona examples still have their original case lines, and certain ones will appear smaller than an otherwise identical example of the same reference due to being previously over-polished at some point in their history.

  2. I bought my first Rolex from Bob’s and definitely deserves the 5 stars published by purchasers.. Tanya, the customer service specialist was extremely helpful and professional. The transaction when i bought the item was as smooth as silk and my watch arrived 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. It was exactly what I expected. I am considering buying some watches in the future As a perk for my employees from Bob’s Watches, and of course, more Rolex for me to become a collector.