The Rolex Daytona is a rare watch with a small production run

The Rolex Daytona is complicated to locate. Because this watch was first unpopular, production numbers were necessarily low. However, once the Daytona became popular, it was in Rolex’s best interest to keep production numbers of this luxury sports watch minimal to maintain its high demand. Furthermore, because Daytona has a more complex movement than most other watches in the brand’s inventory, Rolex can only scale up manufacturing because Daytona’s movement is not shared with any other watches. But, to comprehend that history, let’s go a little further.

It’s worth noting that Rolex never officially reveals production numbers. Still, over the next two generations of Daytona watches, Rolex has kept production numbers relatively low compared to the rest of its other models. We’ve also discovered that stainless steel Daytona references were created in more significant quantities than their precious metal counterparts, doing these ultra-luxurious sports watches even rarer now.

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona was named after the famed Florida race course to help attract an American audience. Still, it was primarily mocked in its early years because of its striking dial characterized by three contrasting sub-dials. When Paul Newman, the famous actor, and racing car driver, wore one, this clock became fashionable and wanted. While it is now easily one of the world’s hottest watches, it took a major Hollywood heavyweight wearing one for the rest of the world to accept it.

Rolex Daytona in Platinum Ice Blue Dial Reference 116506 — Wind VintageThere are long waitlists for the Rolex Daytona

These low production numbers contribute to Rolex Daytona’s multi-year waiting lists. This is how it works. When Rolex ships Daytona watches to its retail shops and authorized dealers, the shopkeepers do not simply display the watches in the window and hope that someone will buy them. Retailers typically have an extensive list of customers who have already expressed an interest in purchasing a Daytona. Call me when you receive one.” If you’re lucky and have a good relationship with the retailer, you can secure a priority slot on the waiting list.

Otherwise, you’ll have to put your name down and wait for your dealer to bring one in and make it accessible – which may take years. 

Why are people prepared to wait in these long lines?

The cost. While you could spend years on a waitlist, if you finally get your hands on one, it will cost substantially less than what you would pay on the open market to buy one right away. As a comparison, the current stainless steel and Cerachrom Rolex Daytona retail for about USD 13,150, yet it sells for nearly twice that on the secondary market.

Vintage Rolex Daytona Watches are highly collectible

The first generation of Rolex Daytona watches are the only truly “vintage” Daytona models since they have manual-wind movements with plastic crystals, which adds to their worth. It’s also worth noting that while the Daytona is extremely wanted today, it was only a little popular among consumers when it was first released. Hence, production levels were only a tiny part of Rolex’s output. Furthermore, this first generation has several minor variances that can make timepieces from it both unique and unusual. This is another factor contributing to the high value of the original generation of vintage Daytona watches.