In developing the Oyster and Perpetual, Rolex were top runners at that time. And so in the field of pioneering chronographs, Rolex was considered to be a novice. Contrary to this, the extremely successful Cosmograph positioned Rolex of being the ultimate â€śsportsman'sâ€ť watch. Being in demand amongst some of the biggest names in auto racing, in one of the largest racing communities of Daytona Beach, Florida, these watches were soon known as â€śDaytonaâ€ť. Black with silver registers or cream white with black registers were the colors of the dials in the original Daytona's. After Paul Newman was seen sporting it in the movie â€śWinningâ€ť, these dials came to be known as â€śPaul Newmanâ€ť.
In the late 1930's, with the production of the two button chronograph, a major breakthrough was made. With this feature people were now able to stop their watches and restart it on the same time where it was left off, without actually having to reset the time. Soon after this, the â€śZerographâ€ť was manufactured in limited numbers. Uncommon and rare, this 3462 model, was the first watch to display the Oyster crown and was literally the turning point for Rolex.
During World War II, Rolex introduced its first true Oyster chronograph (model 4500). Along with it came the 6232 and 3668 models in which all had faced very limited success. The 6232 and 3668 were powered by the 13â€ť Valjoux movement and featured just a thirty minute register. In 1949, Rolex introduced model 5034 that featured the three button chronograph. In the next two decades and after three more models, the 6239 was introduced. In 1965, model 6240 replaced 6239 and the 6241 by 6264 respectively. Model 6240 was the first model to have screw-down waterproof pushers along with the name â€śoysterâ€ť on the dial. Earlier Oyster Chronographs had simple round pushers with internal gaskets as the only sealing mechanism. 6240 was rated being waterproof to 165 feet (50 meters). In the early 70â€™s, model 6264 was replaced by 6265 and the 6262 by 6263 respectively.
The first true Oyster chronograph, model 4500 was launched during the Second World War. Thereafter the 6232 and 3688 models were introduced, however they did not meet with much success. These two models, the 6232 and 3688 had a thirty minute register and both were powered by the the 13â€ť Valjoux movement. The three button chronograph, model 5034 was introduced in 1949. Subsequently after three more models, during the next two decades the 6239 was introduced. Model 6240 replaced 6239 and the 6241 by 6264, in 1965. The first model to have screw-down waterproof pushers along with the name â€śoysterâ€ť on the dial was model 6240. The earlier Oyster Chronographs used internal gaskets as the only sealing mechanism with simple round pushers. However, the 6240 was rated as being waterproof to about 165 feet (50 meters). Model
6265 replaced 6246 and 6263 was responsible for replacing 6262, this was in the 1970's.
In the year 1988, a new version of the Daytona, model 16520 was launched by Rolex. Rolex went ahead and use the the new Zenith El Primero movement (Cal. 4030) rather than using the Valjoux movement. Large subsidiary dials in black, white or champagne with the name â€śDaytonaâ€ť in red on the dial were featured on these dials. Available only in Model 16518 featured an exotic dial and bezel, was released in 1992. This watch
Rolex released the new version of the Daytona (model 16520) in 1988. Instead of using the Valjoux movement, Rolex went with the new Zenith El Primero movement (Cal. 4030). The dials on this watch featured large subsidiary dials and came in black, white, or champagne with the name "Daytona" in red on the dial. In 1992, Rolex released model 16518. This watch featured an exotic dial and bezel and was only available in 18kt yellow gold. Model 16519 (white gold) was released 5 years later. Finally, model 116520 was introduced in 2000. Rolex added an extra 1 prefix to fit a 6-digit model number and this model was the first â€śin-houseâ€ť movement for Daytonaâ€™s (Cal. 4130).
The stainless steel Daytona's continue to remain in demand and are still popular today, making it the most sought of all the Rolex watches.
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