“Rolex Daytona” is how many people merely refer to the formal “Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona” a timepiece with a history as interesting as its popularity. Now let’s consider the facts, why is the Cosmograph Daytona one of the most recognizable and important chronograph wristwatches?
This masterpiece was designed, named, and debuted by Rolex in 1933 as the “Cosmograph”, the brand’s first chronographs with counters were often equipped with other functions on the dial such as a telemetric scale, a tachymetric scale, or a pulsometer. With the time, in 1939, the Cosmograph was improved as aversion with Rolex’s robust and waterproof Oyster case and also a manually wound mechanical movement reputed for its reliability and precision. In that period of time no brand had yet been able to overcome the technical hurdle of producing a self-winding chronograph.
Rolex launched a new-generation chronograph in 1963, the also called “Cosmograph Daytona” that featured highly legible dials, with either light-colored or black dial or a light color on a black dial. The tachymetric scale moved from the dial to the bezel, therefore allowing clearer reading for average speed calculation. These were the functional features that addressed one of the challenges of the time – legibility – and sporty aesthetic technical and the resulting instantly propelled it to become the epitome of horological functionality for use in motorsports.
A long and dedicated process of technical evolution and fine-tuning made it the premier luxury chronograph it is today. It was 1965 when some notable dial design tweaks, a Plexiglas bezel insert, and the now-standard screw-down chronograph pushers finalized the watch that many know and love today.
And the latest point of its evolution happened three years ago, when the 904L steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, a true icon among modern luxury watches, was equipped with a new monobloc Cerachrom bezel in high-tech ceramic along with some notable dial design changes.