Tropical 6265 Rolex Daytona
Tropical doesn’t always mean caramel. I find a lot of visual delight in the shade where dials are just starting to move off black, it’s subtlety. You’ll be used to seeing tropical subdials on the white dial 6265, often wildly so. But the black dials can also go brown, it’s just often not as dramatic of an effect. Which suits, because to normal people the 6265 is actually quite a subtle watch. Allow me a quick story. Many years ago, I was at a small auction preview with my then-girlfriend. I’ve always consistently taken my significant other to watch events, which is probably why I’m not married. In any event, this particular lady asked my least favorite question in all of watches, which in her defense she did not know, ‘Which one is the most expensive?’ (in front of a plethora of WIlsdorf). There was a 6265. I nodded toward it. She exclaimed, ‘Really? It looks so old and beat up. I thought it would be this (pointing to a newer diamond Day-Date)’ That singular moment, and perspective from the non-watch world, then took my appreciation of the non-PN 6263 and 6265 from like to love. And for that particular relationship the opposite.
I bring all this up because it’s quite easy to forget just how subtle vintage Cosmographs are to most of the world. You still couldn’t pay me to wear one in London, but I’d swear of the average folk in any major city, it’s still probably less than 10% who know what a screwdown pusher means. And with no bright red Daytona script on this 1972 example, it’s arguably the most subtle watch with Cosmograph on the dial. Now call me a pedant, I am, but I enjoy the fact that a relatively subtle Cosmograph is here wearing a relatively subtle patina. It won’t get all the likes on Instagram, you’d probably have to look closely to even register the umber. But that’s a part of the fun, it’s a watch that delights its owner most. And, if you’re patient while showing it sunshine, that patina will develop further with you as its second owner (this one is coming to market from its first purchaser); it might just thank you for wearing it.
There’s no other proposition remotely like a 6263 or 6265 today. I can’t think of a single other chronograph that looks cheaper than it is to non-watch people, more expensive than it is to watch people, and is 37mm. We sold a 6265 recently, and I still miss it. The magic in a vintage Daytona is how lightweight and simple it feels, people pick it up and just don’t expect the minimal construction. These are humble, simple tools, a far cry from Rolex today. And that’s really the whole point. This is only valuable because the market has decided that philosophy means more. It’s a special watch, and way more special dial.
This example seems to have a strong case, it’s a little hard to tell with the lighting. The dial is evenly faded to a dark brown, with all printed scripts clear. It comes from its original owner from a small, well-regarded Italian retailer.