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In Depth

A Fast-Paced Piece From Rolex

The Watches of Switzerland Group | 3 minute read


This month sees the start of the three-day Goodwood Revival festival, which begins on 13 September. Thousands of visitors will step back in time to experience classic cars racing on the historic motor circuit, vintage warbirds soaring overheard, track parades and even an old-school roller disco. The event’s Official Timekeeper is Rolex, so there’s no better watch to be wearing than the brand’s historic 40mm Oystersteel and yellowgold Cosmograph Daytona presented on a matching Oyster bracelet.

Rolex: A motoring history

The name ‘Daytona’ pays homage to the Swiss horology house’s close ties to motor racing. The original Daytona Beach Road Course in Florida, in use from 1903 to 1958, played a crucial role in galvanising the widespread passion for automobile racing and speed, which continues to thrive across the globe today. Daytona gained a reputation for its record-breaking speeds and famous drivers, and one of the most notable British stars to compete on the Daytona course was Sir Malcolm Campbell, who broke nine world speed records on both land and water throughout his career. Tellingly, Campbell was never seen without his trusted Rolex Oyster, whether on or off the track – in fact, he personally wrote to the company to express his heartfelt thanks for his watch’s resilience and accuracy.

Whether you’re headed to Goodwood Revival or looking for an all-time classic, the Cosmograph Daytona is revered for its resilience

The ideal racing watch

Rolex’s history with Daytona did not end there. Daytona International Speedway, the home of the Daytona 500, replaced the original track in 1959, and Rolex first acted as Daytona’s Official Timekeeper in 1962. Rolex’s Cosmograph Reference 6239 came onto the scene one year later and was promptly nicknamed the ‘Daytona’ – making the imposing Cosmograph Daytona the ideal watch to flaunt at Goodwood Revival later this month. The watch made headlines around the world in 2017, when a 1968 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona owned by the late Hollywood star Paul Newman sold for $15.5 million – setting a new record price for a wristwatch sold at auction, and cementing the model’s legendary status.

Daytona: Made to race

The handsome 40mm Oystersteel and 18-carat yellow-gold Cosmograph Daytona features the model’s recognisably large, engraved tachymeter scale, which measures average speeds up to 400 units per hour – mirroring the fact that the Daytona was instantly a huge hit among racing drivers. Rolex came up with the term ‘Cosmograph’ to signal that the tachymeter scale was positioned on the bezel, rather than running around the edge of the dial. With that in mind, the watch incorporates three subdials and pushers, which not only operate the chronograph function but also screw down like the winding crown when not in use – making it a perfect choice for both horology fans and racing drivers alike. It is powered by Rolex’s self-winding 4130 calibre, which is created with considerably fewer parts than a standard chronograph, thereby enhancing its reliability. The chronograph is accurate to 1/8 of a second, allowing drivers to accurately track and map out their races.

Whether you’re headed to Goodwood Revival or looking for an all-time classic with a compelling history, the Cosmograph Daytona is revered for its resilience, not to mention that it is water-resistant to 100m and has an approximate 72-hour power reserve.

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