Tropical dials have a tendency to polarize watch collectors like few other topics. Godiva 1665 DRSDs, caramel 321 Speedmasters, and latte-brown Cosmographs all have one thing in common: encompassing adoration or outright hatred. I have yet to encounter any middle ground ambivalence in the zeitgeist. Think Patek’s green 5711 caused division? Bring a hazel-tan 3700 to your nearest watch group. I’ll warn you now, I tend to fall firmly in the former camp of adoration, until uneven outright deterioration and damage presents. Thankfully, this rare transitional Cosmograph (the 6262) presents none of that. Its Havana brown subdials that are as even and beautiful as tropical ageing comes.
The Daytona Cosmograph tale is full of nuance. The first 6239s released in 1963 without ‘Daytona’ emblazoned above the sub hours. However, in the interval between 1963 and 1965, Rolex became the official timekeepers of the Daytona Road Racing course. The degree to which this was corporate elbowing or Rolex instruments simply being favored by the timekeepers of the course as superior to alternatives is disputed. In either case, by 1965 the 6239 had become such a staple of road racing that Rolex decided to flaunt what it had and finally printed the famous DAYTONA, giving birth to an icon. While it is often parroted correctly that the 6239 was the original Cosmograph, people normally tell the history as the 6263 & 6265 coming next. In truth, a few references squeezed in the the intervening years: among them, this.
If you think this looks an awful lot like a 6239, you’d be right. Visually, the two references are near identical. However, this ran a Valjoux 727, an upgraded 722 that precipitated the change from 6239 to 6262. The 727 upped the beat from 18000 vph to 21600 vph for precision timing. The reference was in production for just one year, from 1970 until 71. That very short production has resulted in extreme rarity and makes the reference something of a more exotic (not in the Paul Newman-esque sense) Cosmograph for detail-oriented obsessives like yours truly. In this tropical guise, the I’m not sure I have the adjectives to articulate this one’s beauty or rarity appropriately.
This example presents a thick-lugged case with brushed surfaces retained. Its pushers and crown are correct and original. The dial, where all the majority of value resides in this example, is as even and toffee-like as any tropical collector could hope. Moreover, all tritium pips are present, matched to a cream handset. There is a tiny strike above the Y of Daytona. Could be corrected, I’d opt to leave it. The steel bezel has only a few light bumps. It comes on 7835 bracelet from a small German retailer.
Find this tropical 6262 here from The Watchguy DE for 76000 EUR.