The New Rolex Daytona Is The Most Classy Watch Money Can’t Buy
Just imagine Apple unveiling a new iPhone, that no one could buy no matter how quick you lined up. What if Tesla changed the 400,000 pre-orders for a newer version (Model 3) by manufacturing a few hundred. How about if Gordon Ramsay launched a power-lunch restaurant that has only two tables. This gives us a hint of what watch lovers will come against when trying to purchase the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, which is due for release sometime this year.
This contemporary update of (arguably) one of the world’s most collectible watches within the last 50 years caught much attention when it debuted in March, during the Baselworld watch fair. Watch reviewers declared it a triumph that Rolex watch lovers have been on the wait for.
Despite the hefty $12,400 price for this new generation Daytona, watch dealers received numerous orders. But there was one issue, Daytonas are scarce. Being considered as a timepiece for cognoscenti, and not for first-time buyers, the watch company typically ships out only limited amounts to watch dealers, who, then set a few aside for the most loyal of their customers.
Everyone who has knowledge of how many Daytonas will be made is not telling. Even when a spokesperson for Rolex was asked about the issue, she declined to discuss or divulge both production or distribution plans or even the official release date of the new model Daytona.
This is not the first time that Rolex Daytona has caused this kind of fuss. Its storied chronograph, which was named after Daytona speedway in Florida, was released in the 1960s as equipment for auto racing enthusiasts. It was basically the world’s most regal stopwatch with its three sub-dials for timing laps.
By the 1970s, it had already achieved icon status, with a huge boost from Paul Newman, considering the fact that he adopted it as a signature timepiece after developing passion for motor sports.
Since then to this date, the Daytona has become a rare timepiece that is highly coveted by both celebrities (Daniel Craig, Eric Clapton, and Adam Levine to name a few) and collectors (Christie’s sold a Paul Newman 1969 model for $1.1 million in 2013).
The anticipation for this new model has grown over the years, particularly after Rolex redesigned the GMT-Master II and Submariner models with Cerachrom, a fade-resistant ceramic infusing these mid-century models with the 21st-century flair. The wait came to an end in March. That day, some lined up outside of the Fifth Avenue, Wempe Jewelers, a renowned Rolex dealer, just before it opened.
But the rush gave way to a realization that they (Rolex devotees) were going to wait for a long time to own one. To some watch dealers, two years seems optimistic. “Managing expectations poses a challenge” one dealer who is thinking of engraving purchaser’s names at the back of each Daytona to discourage buyers who plan to resell, said. He is also thinking of setting a couple of Daytonas aside for loyal clients to borrow for one week, so that they can enjoy the newness.
Despite this, the Rolex Daytona is likely to carry-on with its “most unattainable status” in town.