Rolex Daytona 6265

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6265 YG


It’s still cold outside, so we’re going to take a look at a slice of Rolex history in yellow gold to warm things up a little.

This is a Cosmograph Daytona reference 6265 which was produced in 1985, and at close to 40 years old, its not doing too badly.

It’s the 18 carat gold version, which edges it value-wise against its 14 carat twin and has the hallmark stamped into the caseback along with some historical servicing signatures. 

Rolex made this model in steel and both 18 and 14 carat gold as the American market had a preference for 14 carat. 

Although the Daytona in any of its references is now one of Rolexes most sought after models with waiting lists for current variants spanning into the decades and prices soaring way above retail, in its formative years, it was not a popular beast. In fact, it was decidedly unpopular. 

Through the fifties and into the sixties, Rolex was producing Submariners, Explorers and GMT Masters as part of its “Professional” ranges along with the Date-just and Day-Date. 

These were watches with a clear purpose whether that was diving, travelling, or simply robust daily wearers. 

In that period, the chronograph was a bit of an oddity that hadn’t really found its place either in the market, or in buyers hearts. 

Rumour has it that dealers occasionally resorted to giving these pieces away as gifts to heavy spenders such was the desire to move stock that was sitting unloved in windows. 

After Omega beat Rolex at the space-race with the venerable Speedmaster, Rolex shifted its focus to motor racing on the tracks of Daytona Beach, speedway and NASCAR. and the Cosmograph Daytona’s place timing it, so in 1963, the Daytona was born. 

The model went through some changes in the intervening years and this particular reference is one of the last of the 4 digit generation. 

The 6265 was produced between 1971 and ’88, and has become of significant interest to collectors because although its a pure vintage Daytona, it has all of the bells and whistles that were developed for the model since Rolex started its “evolution”.

It benefits from a larger trip-lock crown and screw down pushers as opposed to the pump pushers and twin-lock crowns of previous generations. 

The 6265 and its 6263 brother are often referred to as “Oyster” Daytona’s due to the increased water resistance which went from 50m to 100m thanks to the upgrades. 

Point of note though, don’t assume water resistance on vintage watches, safest bet is to not get them wet unless they’ve been pressure tested and you’re confident. Otherwise, it could be an expensive learning curve! 

The 6265 (and 3) are also the last in the line of manually wound models as the whole range was re-vamped and modernised in 1988 when it was given a larger 40mm case, an automatic movement, and sapphire glass. 

This one is a 37.5mm plexiglass ticker which runs on a modified Valjoux 72  movement (Rolex calibre 727) that has been fine tuned to chronometer specifications. Its case is in excellent condition for an elderly gold piece with plenty of metal on the lugs and the correct rivet bracelet. 

The dial on the gold 6265’s have a little quirk in that “Daytona” is nowhere to be found, instead, “Cosmograph” adorns the dial just above the lower subdial.

This is because the main line of text beneath the applied crown features “Rolex Oyster Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” instead of the “Rolex Oyster Cosmograph” of the steel variants which have “Daytona” written over the lower sub-dial. 

While some may view the extra text as “clutter” that reduces the “toolish” simplicity of the old references, I think its wise to bear in mind that these 18 carat pieces were most certainly the “luxury editions” of such a watch, so can be excused for having an additional layer of glitz and gilt on the dial.

There’s a lot to be said for modern watches, they’re robust, sit at their technical peaks, and fit perfectly in todays world but sometimes you want to enjoy “the old world” when watchmaking was exciting and in a constant state of evolution, where battles were fought between brands over things we take for granted today like the space race and exploration of the world and oceans around us. 

I think thats part of the allure of vintage pieces, they’re a nod to nostalgia and to simpler times where people used their watches and loved them rather than storing them away in case a mark decreased investment value. 

Either way, no longer the one that nobody wants, the vintage Daytona has achieved a cult following that it never saw in its early days, and it deserves it. 

If you’re interested in old watches with their rattly bracelets and conservative sizing and would like to see more of our vintage stock, let me know in the comments.