Rolex Daytona 6263 'Big Red / Crown Prince of Johor'

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This collectible ‘Big Red’ Daytona comes with cool royal provenance.

It was nearly impossible to sell this watch when it rolled off the production line in the late 1970s. Manual wind Daytonas like this 6263 often languished in dealer windows for years, until some good Samaritan finally took pity and gave it a new home for just a couple hundred bucks. Can you imagine a Rolex dealer begging you to take a Daytona off of their hands. Yeah, hardly can we..

While four digit Daytonas didn’t sell very well in the 1970s and 1980s, they are among the most coveted and collectible watches on the planet nowadays. The ref. 6263 (together with its sibling, the 6265) has the distinction of being the last vintage Daytona and the Daytona that enjoyed the longest production run, from 1971 until 1987 when it was replaced by the modern ref. 16520 with automatic movement and sapphire crystal.

This ref. 6263 dates back to 1979 and features a matte black dial with a white recessed subdials. This dial configuration is known as a ‘reverse panda’ dial among collectors. The dial is in spotless condition with thick creamy tritium lume dots that match the tritium luminous compound in the hour and minute hands. At the 6 o’ clock position the dial features the desirable big red “Daytona” text.

A cool detail about this watch is that we know who used to own it: the Tunku Mahkota (Crown Prince) of the Malaysian state of Johor. Crests are often either printed on the dial or engraved somewhere on the watch. This piece, however, has one of the most beautiful and unusual executions we’ve ever seen: an 18K gold three-dimensional version of the crest—a stylized “TMJ” under a crown—soldered onto the clasp.


Rolex Cosmograph DaytonaRolex started making chronographs in the 1930s, but it was only in 1963 that a named product line was introduced: the Cosmograph. In some early advertisements, Rolex referred to the watch as the ‘Le Mans’ after the famous race track in France, although the name never appeared on the dial. After a few years, the line was officially renamed Cosmograph Daytona, after the racetrack in Florida.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 subdials.It's hard to imagine now, but Daytonas received little love after their release. Most Daytonas languished in dealer displays for years and were only started to get noticed by Italian collectors and dealers in the late 1980s. Nowadays, Daytonas are among the most sought after Rolex models, fetching prices from €20,000 for modern ones to many millions for rare vintage references. A big contrast with the $210 list price when it was first released!



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