Rolex Daytona 6241 'JPS Paul Newman 14K'

"I never thought we would ever have such a coveted and rare watch, unbelievable!" - was the first thing Jasper said when he finally saw it in real life; after one of our colleagues arrived from abroad, having just picked up this extremely rare Daytona.

Museum Piece
Rolex Cosmograph DaytonaRolex started making chronographs in the 1930s, but it was only in 1963 that a named product line was introduced: the Cosmograph.
"I never thought we would ever have such a coveted and rare watch, unbelievable!" - was the first thing Jasper said when he finally saw it in real life; after one of our colleagues arrived from abroad, having just picked up this extremely rare Daytona.No need in telling you how sought-after and wanted vintage Daytona's are. These Valjoux powered chrono's have been the star of many auctions the past couple of years, but one model in particular stood out; reaching close to a million euro in a recent auction: the "6241 PN JPS 14k." Let's break down these abbreviations and find out how truly rare this watch is.Starting with '6241; a chronograph that was produced for a mere 3 years, between 1966 and 1969, the example we have being one of the later ones. The configuration of this Daytona is the following: Pump Pushers and acrylic bezel. Many vintage watch lovers perceive the 6241 as the most attractive Cosmograph that ever saw light. Scholars estimate a total production of only 3000 pieces of this reference. Some made in steel, some made in 18K yellow gold, but very few in the 14K alloy! Believed to be made for the American market to avoid higher import taxes.Although the 6241 knows small production numbers, it does come in many varieties. The elusive "Paul Newman" dial being the most collectable. This lay-out was officially called "Exotic" and featured a lowered minute track, square markers and art-deco details in the sub-dials. Depending on the colour combination one can determine the true rarity and value. On top of the list is the black dial with champagne counters and outer minute track, also called the "John Player special". Named after the cigarette brand with the same colourway that sponsored Lotus in the formula one.
Rolex Cosmograph DaytonaRolex started making chronographs in the 1930s, but it was only in 1963 that a named product line was introduced: the Cosmograph. Although the following name never appeared on the dial; in early advertisements Rolex referred to this model as the ‘Le Mans’. Named after the famous race track in France. But to strengthen their position in the USA market (for the same reason they switched the depth rating from “meters first” to “feet first”), the Cosmograph was instead named after the racetrack in Florida: Daytona.The most noticeable difference between these Cosmograph Daytona models and earlier Rolex chronographs, was the tachymeter scale (used for measuring distance and speed) that was moved from its traditional placement on the dial to the bezel. Furthermore, the dial was updated with the introduction of contrasting sub-dials.It's hard to imagine now, but Daytona’s received little love after their release. The first Daytona’s (4 digit references) where manual wound whilst the demand of the Rolex clientele was focused on automatic wristwatches. Most Daytona’s languished in dealer displays for years. Due to the lack of popularity Rolex kept changing dial lay-outs and went on with experimenting different pushers & bezels, resulting in a lot of different models in small quantities. Noticed by the Italian collecting community that started purchasing these in the early 90’s as they spotted the potential. By this time, Rolex already switched to an automatic movement which was a Zenith El Primero-based calibre. The popularity began to grow and eventually led to the prominent place they have in the world of watch-lovers. The modern Daytona is the first model to be sold way above list price as they are hard to get but very wanted. The Zenith Daytona’s are rapidly increasing in price and the Valjoux-powered ones are dominating the auction world. For example, the world-record breaking Daytona owned by Paul Newman that still is the most expensive wristwatch ever sold. A big contrast with the $210 list price when it was first released!