Salcedo Stories

Racing in Pursuit of Horological Perfection: A Rare Rolex Cosmograph ‘Daytona’

Racing in Pursuit of Horological Perfection: A Rare Rolex Cosmograph ‘Daytona’

  • 15 June 2022

A rare and collectible vintage Rolex Cosmograph ‘Daytona’ at Salcedo Auctions has the world of avid watch enthusiasts buzzing. It is one of the highlight timepieces at the forthcoming Finer Pursuits sale that features an array of intricate details – from its rare “Sigma dial” and stainless steel bracelets to its chronograph functionality and its movements that are all still in pristine condition.

“A Rolex watch is something you can hand down for generations,” says Sieg Suarez, a lawyer and watch connoisseur, and the owner of the Instagram account @watch_mnl. When asked to comment on the legacy of Rolex as one of leading luxury watch brands in the world. Suarez shares his experience with handling centuries old Rolex watches, having personally wound them for the first time in years, and praising the brilliant quality and design of these watches as they continue to function. Indeed, the longevity of a Rolex watch defines its prestige and, because these are produced in limited editions, the demand for them also increases over time.

Suarez describes this coveted watch as the “perfect marriage of the old with the new models of the ‘Daytona,’ where the “technical capabilities of the watch is more modern, but also gives you that classic and historical feel.”

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In addition to its design and aesthetics, the chronograph feature that allows the user to measure the minutes, seconds, and hours remains the highlight of the ‘Daytona’ watch. Ever since it was introduced in the 1960s, the ‘Daytona’ has remained an icon in the world of motor sport and with its association to the Hollywood legend Paul Newman who owned several models has become Rolex’s most prestigious line of chronograph watches. “No one was interested in these watches at first, but with media and advertising – suddenly, the ‘Daytona’ [became] unattainable,” comments Suarez.

Another intriguing detail that this rare Daytona watch has is the “Sigma dial” markings which is a special feature that also defines the rarity of the watch. “Throughout Rolex history, they would release a very few quantities of special dials. Some watches would also feature special markings such as the ones you can find on the so-called ‘Sigma dials,’” Suarez adds, commenting on the markings found at the bottom of the dial. Besides the standard dials, Rolex would also release different colored dials of the same watch. “For collectors,” Suarez notes, “the really minute difference in the dial really matters. Even if it is a dot or an error, a difference will add several thousands of dollars to the watch.”

Hence, the added exquisiteness of this fine Rolex timepiece is found in the delicate markings positioned at six o’clock. Suarez explains that this means the indices and hands are made of gold. “At the time of its production, the trend in popularity was going to steel watches, and so they wanted to highlight the precious materials by adding it as a specialty,” he says. These rare Sigma dials also promoted Rolex’s premium materials during a time in the 70s and 80s when the world was shifting to quartz which was a relatively inexpensive movement.

“Rolex wanted to highlight that timepieces should still be made with the best materials possible,” comments Suarez. The emphasis on their precious materials and gold makes this rare timepiece a testament to Rolex’s fine craftsmanship – and indeed one of historical significance in the world of watches that the most fervent of watch collectors will be racing to pursue.

The Rolex ‘Daytona’ watch accompanied by its original presentation box, papers, and service record

The Finer Pursuits: Important Philippine Art & Rare Collectibles auction takes place live and online on Saturday, 25 June 2022 at 2PM. Click here to view the catalogue.