Rolex Daytona 6264 'John Player Special, Cherry'

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.
What does it take to procure one of the rarest watches Rolex has ever made? Well, our colleagues Jasper, Ramon, and Rutger had to trade in a kidney each. But we came out ahead, since the guys’ booze-soaked organs are definitely worth as much as this truly exceptional Cherry John Player Special Daytona we got in return!You must be familiar with the story by now. Even though Daytonas—especially vintage ones—are extremely collectible nowadays, they were among the least popular Rolexes in the 1960s through to the 1980s. The rarest among these vintage Daytonas are the ref. 6264 Daytonas produced in the period 1969-1972, which featured black acrylic bezel inserts and were the very last Daytonas to sport the pump-style chronograph pushers before Rolex switched to the more waterproof screwdown variety. It is estimated that just 3,500 examples of the ref. 6264 were produced, with the vast majority in steel and only a couple hundred in gold. Some of these gold 6264s were fitted with the sought after Paul Newman dial variation, either in a champagne or in the more rare lemon color or black variants. Lovingly nicknamed the ‘JPS’ after the black Lotus F1 race cars with gold John Player Special logo, the black dial is the most in-demand version. While most gold 6264s were executed in an 18K gold alloy, a fraction of them were made in 14K gold to avoid high import duties in the United States. If that weren’t special enough by itself, five of these 14K JPS Daytonas for the U.S. market were previously known to feature dials with cherry red “Daytona” printing on the dial. This particular watch we’ve discovered is now only the sixth publicly known one. All of these cherry red 14K JPS Daytonas feature serial numbers in the low 2.8 million range, supporting the theory that only a few of them were made in a short period of time specifically for the North-American market. That’s close to prototype levels of rare.

The cherry red JPS is one the most special watches ever made by Rolex and certainly the rarest regular production Daytona in existence. More importantly: this particular piece is in impeccable condition with a flawless dial, clean and original acrylic bezel insert, sharp case, and a matching 14K yellow gold riveted Oyster bracelet with the correct Daytona-specific endlinks. So what’s the price you might ask? Well, we put a premium on transparency and dislike it when dealers indicate that their prices are on request. Such a unique and historically important watch deserved to find a loving home and, at the same time, we consider it our duty to maintain some discreetness regarding its value to protect its next owner. Because of those reasons we decided to only offer this watch, and disclose further info about the value and price, to our known clientele.
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!