Rolex Daytona 6264 'John Player Special, Cherry'

Museum Piece

Getting your cherry popped by, arguably, the craziest JPS.

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 Cosmographs 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. While most gold 6264s were executed in an 18K gold alloy, a fraction of them -like this one- were made in 14K gold to avoid high import duties in the United States.

Some of these gold 6264s were fitted with the sought after "Paul Newman" dial variations; with either Lemon-like colored surface and black counters and minute track or a black dial with champagne counters and minute track. But there is an exceptionally rare third version of the coveted "exotic dial": this inverted Lemon. Where the recessed minute track and sub-dials aren't champagne but rather lemon-like. Moreover it has another exhilarating detail: the Daytona signature is printed in a Cherry red color!

Lemons and cherries; what is up with this fruity combination? It is estimated only 5 to 10 pieces are in circulation, so any information on this configuration is hard to come by. A theory that has been supported in the past is that these were ultra-rare service replacement dials. However, more recently mr. Stahl (founder of Rolex Passion Report) came up with a different and more likely conclusion as a result of his research regarding the graphics and front plus backside of the dial. He explains it might be a special order, made by Singer, for their left over gold Daytona's with pump pushers (6262/ 6264). Interestingly enough all these "Cherry JPS-dials" are found in 2.8 million serial range Daytonas and when you analyse the subsequent dials made for the Oyster Paul Newmans, you see the same cliche design is being used.

The "cherry John Player Special" is one the most special watches ever made by Rolex, consisting of many collectible trades and only made in an extraordinary small batch. 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 end-links. The French gentleman collector who sold us this 6264 took gerat care of it.

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 deserves to find a loving home and, at the same time, we consider it our duty to maintain some discretion regarding its value to protect its next owner. Because of those reasons we decided to only offer this watch, and disclose further information about the value and price, to our known clientele.