Watch enthusiasts far and wide continue to be enamored with the Rolex brand, partly because so many of its timepieces boast an indelible association with some landmark event or special place. The distinction of being part of something historically significant simply adds that “little something extra” to each new Rolex offering, with the famed Cosmograph Daytona being no exception.
Daytona, of course, is the beachfront city in Florida famous for racing. Often called the “world capital of speed,” Daytona Beach has hosted high-speed racing events featuring the sports best drivers for years. Rolex began awarding Cosmograph watches to every Daytona event winner beginning in 1963, which was also the year of the watch’s inception. In the years since, Rolex and Daytona have continued to strengthen their association, with Rolex in 1992 assuming the role of Daytona’s official timepiece while becoming the Sponsor of the 24-hour endurance race the Daytona 24 (now know as the Rolex 24 at Daytona).
And then there’s the watch. The Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona was billed as a next generation chronograph crafted with race car drivers in mind, and it certainly lived up to its billing. Wrought from Rolex’s exclusive high alloy, 904L stainless steel, the Cosmograph Daytona featured an innovative tachymetric scale finely etched onto the circumference of the bezel. This graduated scale allowed race car drivers to quickly calculate their average speed over a particular distance, and soon became indispensable for many.
Years later, Rolex upgraded the Cosmograph with the Calibre 4130, a groundbreaking, self-winding movement borne of the finest engineering solutions that the Swiss watchmaker had to offer. These and other innovations earned the Cosmograph the highly-coveted COSC Certification, granted only after a watch movement has been proven to maintain its accuracy and precision after being subjected to weeks of grueling conditions.
Today, Rolex still awards the fastest Daytona racers with the Cosmograph Daytona. And although the watch has undergone several changes over the years, it remains a timepiece based on the principles of precision, accuracy, innovation, and performance under pressure – just as the original, and just as the sport of racing that it continues to pay homage to.
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