There’s only one thing better than a vintage exotic dialed Rolex Daytona…that’s two exotic dialed Daytonas! Of course, I’m being a little glib here – but really, the exotic dial Daytona, or to use its nickname the Paul Newman, really is the hottest vintage watch of the moment. How? Why? That’s not what we want to talk about. We just want to celebrate how cool, beautiful and timeless these dials are. Rare? Arguably. Expensive? Maybe. Cool? No doubt. Our aim here is to celebrate the aesthetic beauty of these watches. There are many amazing and detailed articles already out there, written passionately by our great friends including Philipp at the Rolex Passion Report, Stefano at Mazzariol Stefano Library and of course years of research at the Vintage Rolex Forum. For the nitty gritty, please go and enjoy these amazing resources. But for us here, its all about the style of King Cool’s eponymous racing chrono.
Like a lot of romantic stories, this one begins in Italy. The Italians are essentially credited for watch collecting as we know it today and by that I mean the fascination and obsession with the minutiae. The Italian collecting community pioneered Mk1, Sotto, Ovettone all the details that we know accept as the norm. And so it was (according to horological folklore) that an eagle-eyed Italian Daytona collector saw a picture of Paul Newman wearing an exotic dialed Daytona on a leather cuff-strap on a poster for his movie Winning; the watches nickname was born.
Credit: Keystone Pictures USA / Alamy Stock Photo
The Newman League
The Newman has always been the highlight or ‘grail’ piece for many collectors. Chrono guys love them, Day Date lovers crave them – even Sub guys dig a Newman. Ever since I first began my interest in vintage Rolex and began trawling through the Vintage Rolex Forum the Newman was seen as the blue chip addition to a watch box. High profile collectors who acquired one would celebrate it on the forum and a thread of ‘high-fives’ would follow. And the pursuit of these watches shows no sign of slowing down. Recent auction results would indicate that its one of the hottest tickets in town and the Newman World post October 26th 2017 will, in our opinion, be insane!
The story begins back in the early 1960s with the manual wind Daytona in references 6239 and 6241. These watches were essentially the same, the difference being the black plastic tachymeter bezel on the 6241 and a steel tachymeter on the 6239. The Valjoux 722 movement powered these watches. These watches can be seen with both three colour and two colour dials. I find the red outer seconds dial on the three colour Newman dials; especially the black dial with the whiteouter track with red seconds markers…it really pops!
Rolex 6239 Daytona with black 3-color Newman Dial
Rolex ‘Pump Pusher’ Daytona’s Newman Dials in 2 color and 3 color
Rolex 6241 Daytona with white 3-color Newman Dial
In 1970 the Daytona received an update to its movement, the Valjoux 727. Rolex updated the reference numbers to differentiate the watches from their predecessors to 6262 (steel bezel) and 6264 (black plastic bezel). These watches were produced for only one year and were virtually identical to the 6239 and 6241, with the exception of some transitional elements on some dials and of course the new calibre. They are rare and are a cool catch for reference nerds!
Rolex 6264 Gold Daytona with golden color 2-color Newman Dial with white print sub dials
Rolex 6262 Daytona with black 3-color Newman Dial
Perfect Plots…an important detail for the Newman collector
The updated Valjoux 727 calibre used in the 6264 and 6464 onwards
The Odd One Out – Group Shot of Pumpers with One Outsider
The early 70s saw the introduction of one of Rolex’s finest acheivements to the Daytona line – Oyster. The new watches featured a heftier case with waterproof screw down pushers (hence the introduction of Oyster) and as the word OYSTER was added to the dial, the word DAYTONA was now omitted. As before there were two references, distinguished by the steel or black plastic tachymeter bezels (6263 black plastic and 6265 steel). Only available in two colour variations (except the ‘Sotto’ RCO watches which are actually left over 6264 dials with Oyster stamped on them…waste not want not mentality in action!) these Panda dials are some of the most beautiful watches ever made.
Rolex 6263 Daytona with white 2-color Oyster Newman Dial
Newman Nuances…you can clearly see here the grainy finish of the dial
Rolex 6265 Daytona with white 2-color Oyster Newman Dial
A totally amazing Rolex 6263 Daytona with Tropical Newman Dial. Super rare and in the hands of a dear collecting friend.
“For me it’s the most beautiful dial Rolex ever made. So 3 dimensional with all the details. So much endless style in that watch.When you look with a loupe it’s also crazy to see the print and how sharp it is.”Bernhard Bulang – Founder
The Newman Gene
So what is it that makes these watches so cool? Well some differences are obvious and others less so. The three most obvious visual differences are the base colour layout, the number fonts in the sub dials and the markers on the subdials. The base colour layout sees an outer chrono seconds track that matches the sub dials. So a white dial has black sub dials and a black outer ring, which is different (obviously so) to a regular Daytona. The number font on the three sub dials is a lot more stylized that on a regular dial. I’ve heard it described as art deco and I think this actually the best way to describe it. And finally there are the iconic ‘square lolipop’ hash markers on the sub dials. There have been whole articles written on these markers alone; where they should have little idiosyncrasies and ‘mistakes’ that differentiate original dials from good counterfeits. With these watches you have to be sure that you know what you are doing. We have said this before, but it really resonates here – buy the seller, not the watch!
The Devil’s in the Details…Very specific ‘hoovered’ shape of the T Swiss T on pump pusher watches
Wide Boy Hoover – the extra wide T SWISS T from pump pusher Newmans
6262 Dial with a ‘flat’ T SWISS T
Close up details for 6263 & 6235 dial variants
There are also some very subtle elements that make these dials unique and look so amazing on the wrist. The texture of the finish is almost grainy, which gives the dial real life when caught under the domed crystal. The crystal is also partly responsible for the Newman-unique 3D look. The sub dials and outer track are stepped down from the rest of the dial, which empahasises the depth of the dial. We don’t believe that we are overstating or throwing around unnecessary hyperbole when we say that these dials are possibly one of the most beautiful dials Rolex ever made…or in fact any watch brand for that matter!
Step Off…The 3D Dial
Gold Newman with gold printing on the sub dials
Perfect Three Colour 6241 on Newman Collection Strap