Picture courtsey of Ed @exitwatch
PRICE EVOLUTION OF THE ROLEX DAYTONA
To begin with, we used official retail prices from Rolex.com of the Rolex 116520 /16500 in the UK from 2006- 2019 and then compared this with average prices of preowned (new) list prices from watchfinder and chrono24
Brief Rolex Daytona History
The words Cosmograph and Daytona were missing on the dial when it launched in 1955. The 4130 caliber, stainless case, and sapphire crystal are much the same. The Daytona comes in several versions but in this article we focus on the Stainless steel version. In the first years of production, Rolex made about 500 Daytonas each year until 1961. In the early ’60s, you could buy a Daytona for around £200 or so. In 1962, Rolex named this model Daytona. The idea is to emphasize its affiliation with the prestigious auto race. Rolex designed this timepiece for race car drivers. In 1973, you could buy a Daytona for about £375.
Value Increase; Retail vs. Pre-owned
The Rolex Daytona has demonstrated am impressive gain in value from that time forward. This watch is an all-time favorite among aficionados. It outperforms many of the several hundred luxury watches from well-known brands.
If you are a buyer, make sure you can find a well-maintained watch, with original papers and box. As always, bring your knowledge or your trust to the watch shop.
Since around 2006 a new Daytona would always go for more on the secondary market due to its huge demand and short supply. At this point new retail sold for £4,400. Five to six years later, the retail price doubled to around £7,950. All the while, the Daytona was gaining in popularity. Even during the recession period of 2008-2009 Rolex did multiple price increases and saw no resistance from buyers
The watch really started to gain tremendous value by 2016 after the launch of the ceramic bezel version (116500) and rose to the £9,950 mark by 2018. That is if you could get one from an AD. Currently, display cases across the country are bare. There is a shortage of watches and many ADs report that when the desired model comes available. Someone of the waitlist is ready to buy as soon as they get their dealer’s phone call.
That’s just the retail end of things.
In the used market, Daytona is a strong performer. While retail prices climbed, used prices jumped. In 2015, a used Daytona went for over £8,750. A little higher than the retail price of £7950
Prices double in the used market the following year. In 2016, prices went through the roof. The Daytona enjoyed a strong following. The Daytona earned a reputation for being a "holy grail" in the watch collecting community.
2016 saw the prices double. What was ~£8,000 12 months earlier was now over £16,000. 2017 and 2018 saw prices push to an even higher £18,000.
Why you asked? would people pay twice as much for the same watch ? This is purely due to the demand and supply issue , waitlists at authorised dealers are reported to be as long as 7 years!
So what accounts for the huge price increase?
Rolex buyers come from around the globe. Professional divers, collectors, and fans have been loyal supporters for decades. The price boom is a supply and demand problem. A sharp increase in demand from Asia and the Middle East drove prices sharply higher. Whether the buyer was in UAE or Hong Kong, new entrants spiked demand quickly. Thus prices shot up accordingly.
Rolex designed this watch as a race car driver’s watch in the ’50s. It has enjoyed a long association with the Daytona Speedway. In a way, the watch grew up with us as NASCAR grew in popularity. If you can’t pick a Daytona out the watch case, at least you have heard “Rolex Daytona.” Sports Car racing fans see ROLEX on sponsorship banners at some of the world’s best-loved venues.
There is one special Daytona that must be included in this discussion. Paul Newman's own Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. Reference 6239. The Newman Daytona was a gift from his wife, Joanne Woodward. It is inscribed on the back with “Drive Carefully Me.” Paul gave the watch to his daughter’s boyfriend in 1984. At the time, the watch was selling for under $300. In October of 2017, the watch hammered after 12 minutes of bidding at the Phillips auction house in New York. Paul’s 1968 Rolex Daytona sold for $17,752,500 to a telephone bidder. The transaction set a new record for the highest price ever achieved for a wristwatch at an auction. Provenance lives in the heart of the collector. News of this spread through the press and brought a new high to the demand of all versions of the Daytona. The Rolex Daytona has demonstrated am impressive gain in value from that time forward. This watch is an all-time favorite among aficionados.
The Rolex Stainless Steel Daytona has stood the test of time. Collectors, race fans, and fortunate buyers have been paying attention. There are more lavish, more complicated, and more stunning watches available today. The stainless steel Daytona holds its own no matter what you stack it against. It is growing in popularity year on year with no signs of slowing down. Whether you are behind the wheel of a hot hatch or an AMG GT-R, your Daytona knows what time it is.
Not content with a watch that only tells time? Special watches are out there. If you are asking yourself how do I choose a watch like this? What should I pay? Is there value behind the brand and price? You owe it to yourself to look closer into the Watchnerd.com buyer decision making guides. Watchnerd.com shows you your options as a buyer. Our guides are indispensable while trying to decide which brand and model is right for you. Watchnerd.com is ready to help. Our passion is timeless.
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