The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6239 in stainless steel. The origin of the Cosmograph begins in 1963 with the above pictured reference 6239. This piece featured a tachymetric scale directly on the bezel rather than previous versions which where printed on the dial. The early production 6239’s were known just as the Rolex Cosmograph, and it wasn’t until 1964 that we see the first official Daytona reference. Back in 1964, Rolex sponsored the legendary 24-Hour Daytona race, held in Daytona Beach Florida. This is the first time we see the ‘Daytona’ signature featured on the dial. The Paul Newman connection to the exotic dialled version of the Daytona comes with a few varying origin stories. The widely spread story is that Mr. Newman was spotted on the cover of an Italian magazine in the late 60s / early 70s wearing the watch. This lead to certain collectors purchasing a dial style which was by no means popular at the time. In fact, this model could still be purchased very reasonably until the 1990s, as collectors of vintage watches during these times just didn’t see Rolex sport watches as anything worth collecting. If you keep an eye on the watch market, you will be very much aware of the auction records these exotic versions consistently break. In the recent Start-Stop-Reset auction at Phillips, the most expensive Rolex Daytona hammered at a staggering $1.6M. This was largely down to an exceptionally rare dial configuration, of which, only a dozen examples are known. This particular example dates to 1966 and features a lesser seen small Daytona signature underneath Cosmograph; where as the watch would go on to feature a larger, curved signature above the twelve hour counter at 6 o’clock. The Daytona has undergone many subtle design alterations over the years, creating almost ‘limited editions’ in particular styles. One favourite is the ‘underline’, featuring in lieu of the Daytona signature, a simple and elegantly thin horizontal line. This particular piece is available in tomorrow’s Gardiner Houlgate auction carrying an estimate of £20,000 - £30,000.