If there’s ever been a story of zero to hero, it’s that of the Rolex Daytona. Unloved and unwanted, selling barely 500 units annually in its formative years, the Rolex Daytona has grown to become one of the most coveted watches of all time, commanding year-long waiting lists and astonishing residuals. The question is, how did that happen? This is the journey that turned Rolex’s loser of a David into a hulking great Goliath.
The Sixties was the decade of the sports chronograph. Jack Heuer’s appointment as CEO of Heuer guided the launch of the Autavia in 1962 and the Carrera in 1963. Omega’s Speedmaster was among the first to the game, introduced at the tail end of the Fifties. But the chronograph was no new invention; seen as early as 1816 in Louis Moinet’s astronomical pocket watch, and in smaller wristwatch form at the beginning of the 20th century, the chronograph was old news. In fact, Cheap Rolex Replica itself had been making chronograph watches since the 1930s. What had changed, though, was time itself – post war, the Sixties boomed with wealth and glamour, and with it came speed. Motor racing, the sport of gentlemen, was now enjoyable on a global scale, and it was that thrill of speed that attracted a new breed of timekeepers: the sports chronograph.
When Rolex released it’s first sporty chronograph in 1963, the ref. 6239, it too had its eyes turned to the stars. Reviving a name previously used for the ref. 6062 moonphase (a complication that defines the literal meaning of cosmography, the general study of the universe), the new chronograph was called “Cosmograph.” Like Omega’s Speedmaster, it was large, tough, and clear, precisely what was required for use in space. It was the right move for Rolex; the Fifties had defined Cheap Rolex as a manufacturer of watches for professionals, the Submariner, GMT-Master, and Milgauss all fulfilling a dedicated role for a specific profession. Having NASA select the Rolex Cosmograph to be the watch taken to the moon would be the full house.
The history of NASCAR is well publicised: during the American alcohol prohibition of the Twenties and Thirties, bootleggers tuned their cars to outrun police, leaving a swathe of drivers and cars with not much to do once the prohibition was lifted. The former bootleggers met at a beach in Florida to race instead, at a site used for the record-breaking speed runs of the Forties. That place was Daytona. As the sport grew, so did its popularity, with drivers such as Rolex-sponsored Junior Johnson drawing crowds from across Florida. Eventually, demand was great enough to build the Daytona International Speedway, and that came just in time for Rolex to rebrand the Cosmograph and take it in a new direction.
It’s easy to suggest that the Rolex Replica Watches has somewhat fallen on its feet given its underwhelming early performance that should have seen it consigned to the pages of history, but a broader view demonstrates that Rolex has been particularly clever in generating a lot of its own luck over the years. Sure, the NASA gig didn’t pan out, but a savvy reaction and consistent output certainly won the brand the long game. Omega’s Speedmaster might have gone to the moon, but when it comes down to the bottom line, the art of selling watches, it’s Rolex with the queues out the door.