The Rolex Daytona is one of the most coveted watches out there. When it was launched in the 1960’s, Rolex struggled to sell this line of watches, but as time passed the Daytona grew to legendary status. In fact, Paul Newman’s Daytona held the record for the most expensive watch ever sold at an auction for many years. These timepieces are in serious demand.
Anyone who wants to purchase a Rolex Daytona will either be placed on a very long Rolex waiting list or buy from a grey market dealer for current market price–which greatly exceeds MSRP for steel models in particular. Even ten-year-old two-tone Daytonas–typically the least popular metal configuration–sell for roughly the retail price of a new one. Solid gold models still typically sell above MSRP, and you can expect Daytonas with exhibition casebacks (126506 and 126529) to be marked up heavily.
Which leads us to the question of the day: how much is a Rolex Daytona? These chronographs come in a variety of variations from different eras, each one fetching a unique price. Before we take you through each vintage Daytona, let’s loosely break down what you can expect to pay for modern Daytonas:
New Rolex Daytona Market Prices
|Steel Daytona (126500)
|Two-tone Daytona (126503)
|Gold Daytona on Oysterflex (126515, 126518, 126519)
|Gold Daytona on Bracelet (126505, 126508, 126509)
|LeMans Daytona (126529)
|Platinum Daytona (126506)
Keep in mind that these market values are approximate and constantly evolving, but that should give you a pretty good picture of the current Daytona market. Also, if you ever want to sell your Daytona, you should typically expect about 80% of fair market value from a reseller. Now, let’s go into a little more detail about each Daytona generation, starting with the classic models.
Rolex Daytona Price by Variation
The Rolex Daytona chronograph has seen a number of variations over the course of its production. The following guide does not include every Daytona model and reference number ever made, just the core models that have been produced. Most Rolex Daytona variations come in stainless steel or yellow gold variations, which also has a big influence on the price.
We break down pricing by variation below, but you can also get a firm offer for a particular watch if you want to sell your Rolex Daytona.
Rolex Daytona 6239
First released in 1963, the Rolex Cosmograph 6239 was the initial model to become the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. The Daytona name was added to the dial about a year after the release. This watch features the classic tachometer scale engraved on the metal bezel.
The current market price for a pre-owned Daytona 6239 with a standard dial generally ranges from $45,000 to $85,000, depending on the style and condition. However, Daytona 6239 watches with Paul Newman dials typically start at $150,000 and can reach over $250,000 for pristine variants.
In 2017, Paul Newman’s own Rolex Daytona ref. 6239 with a “Paul Newman” dial sold for a record-breaking $17.8 million.
Rolex Daytona 6240
This model is famous for being the first Daytona with an Oyster case fitted with screw-down pushers and a screw-down crown for improved water resistance. The Daytona 6240 was produced as a prototype, so they were made in smaller quantities.
The current selling price of a Rolex Daytona 6240 starts at $85,000. However, prices can easily reach double or triple that for collectible variants such as “Solo” dials (with no “Cosmograph” or “Daytona” text). Vintage Daytona 6240’s with Paul Newman dials are extraordinarily rare and you can expect prices over $300,000 for those.
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Rolex Daytona 6262
The Daytona 6262 is one of the rarest, most limited watches in the Rolex collection. This is because it was only in production for one year: from 1970 to 1971. With this model being phased out so quickly, its rarity has caused it to become a highly sought-after collector’s piece.
A vintage Rolex Daytona 6262 can sell for anywhere from $50,000 to $90,000. However, examples with Paul Newman dials will sell for at least $250,000 but prices can quickly go up from there.
Rolex Daytona 6263
Out of all the Daytonas that feature a Paul Newman dial, the 6263 is probably the most sought-after. Some earlier versions of the 6263 only included the words Cosmograph, and not Daytona.
A Rolex 6263 with a standard Daytona dial will generally sell for prices between $75,000 and $150,000 on the vintage market. Roughly double that for solid gold ones. However, Daytona 6263 models with “exotic dials,” a.k.a. Paul Newman dials will sell for $400,000 and higher. There have been a few high-profile sales of Daytona ref. 6263 watches including Paul Newman’s personal watch, which sold for about $5.48 million in 2020 and Eric Clapton’s 6263 “Albino,” which sold for about $1.4 million in 2015.
Rolex Daytona 6264
The 6264 is an extremely coveted watch. It was only in production for a few years in the 1970s, so these pieces are very limited.
Given the rarity of the Rolex Daytona 6264, it’s difficult to gauge its market value. However, expect to pay $200,000+ for a standard dial variant and $450,000 for a steel Paul Newman version. A gold Paul Newman 6264 will set you back $1 million.
Rolex Daytona 6269
The reference number 6269 is one of the most special watches within this range. This watch is made from 18k yellow gold, complete with diamonds in the bezel and dial. Incredibly, incredibly rare. John Mayer has one.
One example of the Daytona 6269 sold at auction for over $600,000 in 2018, so it’s safe to say that this exceedingly rare Rolex watch would be even more valuable today should it go up for sale.
Rolex Daytona 6270
Only eight of these watches were made especially for His Majesty Qaboos Bin Said of Oman. The 6270 is a full yellow gold watch with a pave diamond set dial, baguette diamond bezel, and sapphires where the numbers would be. These are some of the most unique, flashy, and hard-to-come-by Daytonas ever made.
If you’re able to find a Daytona 6270 (of which there are probably only ten in existence), it would likely fetch over $1.5 million.
Rolex Daytona 16520
This reference, launched in 1988, was in important evolution in the Rolex Daytona’s history. It was part of the first-ever automatic Daytona series of watches. The watch is often nicknamed the “Zenith Daytona” as it is powered by a modified Zenith El-Primero-based caliber. The 16520 is a sleek and modernized version of the Daytona, with a classic steel look.
The Zenith Daytona ref. 16520 was in production until 2000. Depending on the condition and dial variations (some anomalies cost more), you can expect to get between $23,000 and $40,000 if you’re selling one of these.
Rolex Daytona 116520
The 116520 was presented as another milestone leap for Daytonas, as this watch was part of the Daytona series fitted with an in-house Rolex caliber. This watch was released in 2000 and marked a major step forward for the brand. Rolex discontinued it in 2016.
Expect a price of somewhere between $18,000 and $30,000 for the now-discontinued Rolex Daytona 116520. While this is still an incredibly valuable watch, it is one of the cheapest Rolex Daytonas in steel as it is a relatively modern model and not a vintage piece. If you happen to have an early white 116520 with the dial faded to a nice cream color, well, that’s called a “Panna dial” and that triples its value.
Rolex Daytona 116528
The reference number 116528 is the solid yellow gold equivalent of ref. 116520. It was produced from 2000 to 2016.
Off-Catalog Gem-Set Daytonas
There are several rare off-catalog gem-set variants of 6-digit Daytona models. Ref. 116589 RBR comes on a leather strap with two rows of diamonds on the bezel. These typically go for about $50,000-$60,000, while the even-rarer 116589 SACI (with a blue sapphire baguette bezel) goes for about double that, or possibly more if it has a stone dial. The infamous Rainbow Daytonas are down significantly from their peak but still go for over $350,000 nowadays.
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Rolex Daytona 116500LN
The Rolex Daytona 116500 is another breakthrough model. This watch was the first stainless steel Daytona to feature a ceramic bezel and is a sought-after collector’s piece. The Daytona 116500 was made from 2016-2023, and goes for about $25,000-$35,000 on the secondhand market.
Rolex Daytona 126500LN
Released in 2023, the 126500LN is a pleasant evolutionary upgrade over the 116500. In addition to a movement upgrade, the watch gets a small metal rim around its ceramic bezel, and the subdial rings are thinner. It’s the hottest steel Daytona on the block, and you’ll probably have to pay over $30,000 to get one with a black dial. The Panda trades closer to $40,000.
The Rolex Daytona has become a prized watch for collectors around the globe. There are many different reference numbers within this watch range, with models ranging from 1960s vintage timepieces to modern-day versions.
There are many different variations of these watches, with small production amounts being issued (especially earlier models). This has given the Daytona a real sense of rarity and value amongst collectors.
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