The Cosmograph Daytona
The ultimate chronograph
The Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona is the consummate Rolex chronograph. Efficient, precise, legible, robust, reliable, waterproof and self‑winding, it is also comfortable, elegant, timeless and highly prestigious. Judging by the success and outstanding reputation worldwide of this peerless alchemy of form and function, it is considered in many respects to be the ultimate chronograph. Fifty years after its launch in 1963, this embodiment of perfection is the product of a long maturation process. Each inscription on the dial of a Rolex watch is a guarantee of performance; on this emblematic model, they were added one by one as the watch evolved. Solely “Cosmograph” at the outset, over the years “Oyster”, “Perpetual”, “Cosmograph”, “Daytona” and “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” were added, chronicling a legend in watchmaking.
Cosmograph, the chronograph of the future
In 1963, Rolex launched a new-generation chronograph, the Cosmograph, dedicated to racing drivers. The singular name invented by Rolex immediately marked it out as a very different new model with an equally innovative style. The chronograph counters stood out clearly on the dial thanks to their strongly contrasting colour: black on a light coloured dial or light coloured on a black dial. The tachymetric scale – a graduation allowing the measurement of average speeds over a given distance using the chronograph seconds hand – was moved from the dial to the circumference of the bezel, opening up and simplifying the dial. Dictated by functional considerations, as is usually the case at Rolex, these features made the chronograph functions far more legible – one of the challenges of the time. They also gave the watch a technical and sporty look making it instantly recognizable. The Cosmograph clearly deserved its place among the Professional watches, a category created by Rolex 10 years previously, in 1953, with models such as the explorer dedicated to explorers and mountaineers, or the Submariner specially designed for deep-sea diving.
Black bezel and
The Cosmograph evolved in 1965 with the launch of a version that introduced screw-down chronograph pushers instead of the pump pushers found on the original model. The screw-down pushers brought the finishing touch to the Oyster concept, and prevented the pushers from being manipulated accidentally. In testimony to its reinforced waterproofness, the name “Oyster” was inscribed on all the dials in addition to “Cosmograph”. Another new feature came in the form of a black Plexiglas insert for the tachymetric bezel. The white graduation increased legibility yet again.
Self-winding movement and superlative chronometer
With the arrival of quartz movements in the 1960s–1970s, Rolex nevertheless remained faithful to the mechanical watch and to the Cosmograph Daytona, preparing its future evolution. In 1988, the Daytona became self‑winding. The brand opted for a quality, commercially available chronograph movement, which it then significantly modified to meet its own requirements, replacing more than 50 per cent of the components with parts specifically designed for Rolex Daytona movements.
The resulting new calibre 4030 included, among other features, a Rolex “heart” – an oscillator with a variable inertia balance wheel, Microstella regulating nuts and a hairspring with a Breguet overcoil – as well as a self‑winding module with a Perpetual rotor invented by the brand in 1931. The movement was systematically submitted for official certification to receive the designation of chronometer, attesting to its superior precision. All versions of the new model featured the phrase “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” on their dial as well as “Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona”.
A new chronograph standard
As a backdrop to the launch of an entirely new interpretation of the Cosmograph Daytona, it is difficult to imagine a more symbolic event than that of entering a new millennium. Introduced by Rolex in the year 2000, this new model – like the first Cosmograph in its time – embodied the chronograph of the future.
Its aesthetics remained deliberately faithful to the codes of the 1988 Cosmograph Daytona, perfecting the iconic and distinctive design of the original, and its subtly sculpted strong lines and balanced ergonomics. In 1963 the Rolex chronograph had innovated with radically new aesthetics that enhanced the legibility of its functions. However, the innovations in the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona for the new millennium essentially lie inside the case.
This model has a new-generation self-winding chronograph movement – calibre 4130 – specially designed for the Cosmograph Daytona and entirely manufactured in-house. A masterpiece of engineering and micromechanics, replete with innovative and patented technical solutions, this high-performance movement has set a new standard for luxury self-winding chronographs in terms of robustness, reliability, efficiency and precision, as well as for ease of maintenance.
Daytona meets platinum
Fifty years after its creation, the Cosmograph Daytona remains in a class of its own among sport chronographs and continues to evolve. With the latest evolution, in 2013, it is the first Oyster model in the Professional range to be offered in platinum, the noblest of precious metals, fitted for the occasion with an ice blue dial, exclusive to Rolex platinum models. It is also equipped with a spectacular monobloc Cerachrom bezel, an exclusive Rolex innovation with exceptional resistance properties and incomparable aesthetics.
The Rolex Daytona Experience
Available on the App Store
The Cosmograph Daytona evokes the passion for speed that drives racers to push back the limits of time. Forged by unparalleled mechanical skill, the design and clean lines of this chronograph tell a watchmaking story: one of innovation, constant evolution and the quest for perfection that shapes an icon. Discover this iconic watch, its legends and the place that inspired its name on the official Rolex Daytona app for iPad.