Did you know that an actual beach led to the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona?

Did you know that an actual beach led to the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona?

This is a new series called “VAULT“. We will be bringing you stories behind iconic watches, what made them start and what kept them ticking. Here we talk about the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona.

Courtesy Rolex we have been made available a plethora of information about the iconic Rolex Cosmograph Daytona.

This will be an ongoing series. Hope you guys enjoy the read and please feel free to leave comments.

Let’s start this with a brief introduction to the watch and the race circuit that it is named after.

Daytona – a chronograph that is designed to race 

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona tells the story of passion that marks the need for speed and motor sport. It was first created by Rolex in 1963.

This first model came to be known for its reliability and performance, and since then Rolex has managed to establish an extraordinary track record. These days known simply as the “Daytona” to watch enthusiasts and collectors alike, the watch has become an icon of its own, and as many of you would know, one of the best chronographs in the world.

The only shame? Almost impossible to buy one off a retailer.

If you keen to know further as to why these are so hard to find, there are great articles in the New York Times, GQ Magazine and Fratello among other sites that are worth additional reading.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
©Rolex/Jean-Daniel Meyer
COSMOGRAPH DAYTONA, 1963

IN THE UNITED STATES TODAY, DAYTONA BEACH IS STILL CONSIDERED THE “WORLD CENTRE OF AUTOMOBILE RACING”. 

COURTESY ©Rolex

Daytona beach & Speedway

The name for the watch has been inspired by the Daytona Beach in USA, and both have come to be known as landmarks of motorsport racing, enthralling fans for decades.

The city of Daytona Beach in Florida, known for its long, straight beach and sand packed as hard as cement, started this revered motor-sporting trend back in 1903.  

©ISC Archives via Getty Images DAYTONA BEACH, 1955

A CHRONOGRAPH BORN TO RACE 

COURTESY ©Rolex

In 1959 the Daytona International Speedway was inaugurated and was not only the fastest racing circuit in the United States at the time, but also one of the first Super Speedways in the world.

Its design is as impressive as it gets: a 2.5-mile (4 km) tri-oval shape circuit was built for speed with 31-degree banking in the turns, and is more than 10 metres high at its tallest point.

©Rolex/Tom O’Neal
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY, 2012

According to Rolex, “this high banking allows cars to approach the turns at great speed without skidding off the track due to centrifugal force, and offers spectators a good view of the race from any seat in the grandstands”.

“The construction work presented major engineering challenges, notably to pave the track surface. Project engineer Charles Moneypenny developed a unique technique for laying asphalt in the banked turns. The paving machines were connected to bulldozers anchored at the top of the turns to allow them to work on the slope.”

This highly impressive patented technique would later be used to build other racetracks.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
©Rolex/Stephan Cooper
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY, 2016

Rolex gets directly involved

Ever since the Daytona Continental races have started, the winners have received a Rolex watch in addition to the trophy.

Come 1992, Rolex then gave its name to the 24 Hours of Daytona, becoming its Title Sponsor thereby the race being called the Rolex 24 At Daytona®.

©Rolex/Fred Merz
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY, 2012

This was just the beginning. We have covered heaps more information about the legends associated with this iconic race, the present calibre 4130 movement that powers it, the technical specifications, and how it has changed from its original 1963 look to the modern day avatar.

To find out more about the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona and other Rolex watches, head to the Rolex website here.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
©Rolex/Stephan Cooper
THE FINISH LINE