Once regarded as a business mishap, the Rolex 6262 Daytona is not only one of the rarest vintage Rolex watches ever made but also now one of the most collectible references in the vintage market. Produced for only around one year, the Daytona ref. 6262 was a transitional model. Rather than utilizing some of Rolex’s famous technological innovations at the time, such as the watertight Oyster case, the Daytona 6262 offered a combination of luxury and old-fashioned design. Seen by most as ostentatious and impractical, the Daytona ref. 6262 did not sell well. As a result, it was quickly phased out and replaced with more modern and technically advanced models.
However, the demand for vintage Daytona ref. 6262 watches are exceedingly robust today. This is a serious collector’s item with a serious price tag. So, before you go diving headfirst to hunt down this classic vintage Daytona, it’s a good idea to give our ultimate guide to the Rolex Daytona 6262 a read first. Here’s everything you need to know about the Rolex 6262 Daytona chronograph.
Rolex 6262 Daytona
Daytona 6262 Key Features
Approximate production years: 1969 – 1970
Case: 37mm with chronograph pump pushers and screw-down crown
Case material: Stainless steel, 14k gold, or 18k gold
Bezel: Fixed metal engraved with tachymeter scale
Dial layout: Chronograph center hand, three subdials: 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, running seconds at 9 o’clock.
Bracelet: Three-link Oyster
Caliber: Valjoux 727 manual winding movement
Vintage Daytona Timeline
1963: Rolex introduces the Cosmograph (later known as the Cosmograph Daytona) chronograph collection
1963-69: Daytona ref. 6239 with a metal bezel
1965-69: Daytona ref. 6241 with a black acrylic bezel
1965-69: Daytona ref. 6240 with screw-down chronograph pushers and black bezel
1970-71: Daytona ref. 6262 with pump chronograph pushers and metal bezel
1970-72: Daytona ref. 6264 with pump chronograph pushers and a black bezel
1971-88: Daytona ref. 6265 with screw-down chronograph pushers and a metal bezel
1971-88: Daytona ref. 6263 with screw-down chronograph pushers and a black bezel
Brief Vintage Daytona History
While Rolex initially named its now-famous chronograph collection the Cosmograph, the brand quickly added the name “Daytona” the watches to emphasize the connection with motor racing. Today, these iconic chronographs by Rolex are simply known as the Daytona.
The first reference to launch the collection in 1963 was the 6269, which featured a 37mm case, engraved tachymeter bezel, three subdials on the dial, and a manual-winding Valjoux-based movement. Two years later, in 1965, the reference 6241 joined the collection with identical specs except for the bezel, which was black acrylic with a tachymeter scale printed on it.
During the production run of 6269 and 6241, Rolex also produced the 6240—initially as a prototype but eventually an official part of the catalog. The big update to the reference 6240 had over the other two models was the inclusion of screw-down chronograph pushers instead of pump pushers. This enhancement meant that the 6240 boasted better water resistance and therefore, it was the first Daytona to bear the “Oyster” inscription on the dial.
Around 1970, Rolex introduced the Daytona 6262, which had a bit of the old with a touch of new. For instance, the Rolex 6262 Daytona did not feature the screw-down pushers of the preceding 6240 but instead went back to the pump pushers of the earlier 6269 and 6241 watches. However, inside the case was a new movement (Valjoux 727) with a higher frequency (21,600 beats per hour) and better precision. Rolex also introduced Daytona 6264 at the same time, which, again, is a near-identical model to the 6262 but with a black bezel instead of a metal one.
Due to lack of interest in the Daytona 6262, Rolex stopped making it after only a year (interestingly, Rolex continued to produce the 6264 a little longer) and released two new Daytona models—the ref. 6265 and 6263—with Oyster cases fitted with screw-down chronograph pushers. In essence, the Rolex 6262 Daytona was a transitional model that paved the way for the Oyster Daytona models that followed.
The era of 37mm Daytona watches with manual-winding movements came to an end in 1988 when Rolex unveiled a brand new line of automatic Daytona watches with larger 40mm cases and revamped dials.
The Rolex Daytona 6262
The Rolex Daytona 6262 features a 37mm case topped with a metal bezel, which is engraved with a tachymeter bezel. Used in conjunction with the central chronograph hand on the dial, the tachymeter scale permits the wearer to measure average speeds and/or distance of moving objects – such as racecars. Furthermore, the Daytona 6262 and its twin reference, the 6264, were the last Rolex Daytona chronographs to feature pump pushers. These would eventually be replaced with more water-resistant screw-down pushers on later Daytona references.
While the vast majority of Daytona 6262 watches were crafted in stainless steel, Rolex did make a few yellow gold variants too. It’s estimated that around 347,000 Daytona ref. 6262 watches (serial numbers 2.241.000 to 2.589.000) were ever produced and of those, only around 30 were made in yellow gold.
In customary vintage Daytona fashion, the dials of the 6262 have a trio of subdials in a color that contrasts with the main dial color. For instance, steel variants have silver dials with black subdials or black dials with silver subdials. On the other hand, gold models typically had black dials with gold-colored subdials or gold-colored dials with black subdials. Thanks to the age of existing Daytona 6262 watches, it’s not uncommon to find examples where the original black subdials have turned into a delicious shade of creamy cappuccino brown.
Rolex also fitted some Daytona 6262 watches with exotic dials, also known as “Paul Newman” dials. The main differences between exotic dials and traditional Daytona dials are the former include a contrasting colored minute track around the periphery and subdials with Art Deco style numerals and hash marks. For many Rolex collectors, any vintage Daytona with a Paul Newman dial is a grail—but a Daytona 6262 with a Paul Newman dial is downright legendary.
Reference 6262 Pricing and Collectability
Although the Daytona ref. 6262 was not a commercial success during its era (hence its short production run) today it’s a very different story. Fifty-plus years later, the Daytona ref. 6262 is in high demand by collectors because of its rarity—both in design and numbers. Now considered one of Rolex’s “greatest hits,” the Rolex 6262 regularly commands premium prices at auctions.
The prices of Daytona 6262 watches start at around $60,000 for steel variants with standard silver dials. However, throw a coveted Paul Newman dial or a yellow gold model into the mix, and you’re looking at six-figure price tags. We’ve seen some of these examples fetch north of $300,000. As is always the case with rare collectibles, condition and provenance have significant implications to the final cost.
Though Rolex may have made a commercial error when designing and marketing this particular timepiece, current collectors recognize the Daytona 6262 as a rare and valuable item. While it was a short-lived reference, the 6262 captures a moment of Rolex history that many would love the chance to own a piece of.