In the early 1970s, the chronograph is still an elitist timepiece due to many factors. The high price discourages professionals; its mechanical fragility - when compared with the much sturdier automatic or manual time-only watches of this time - worries the customers; its technical complexity discourages the mainstream buyer. All of these factors combine to reduce its popularity. When offered in gold, an oxymoron considering its technical nature, unsurprisingly its commercial appeal drops even further. In the mindset of the 1970s, a gold chronograph truly is a Chimera, a caprice for the eccentric millionaire. Its very existence is incomprehensible to most, far too ostentatious and fragile for technical use; definitely too bulky for an elegant evening. Who would ever buy such a thing? The answer is, to the delight of today's collectors, nearly nobody.
In 1970, the year of production of this gold 6262, Rolex manufactures some 347,000 watches, with serial numbers between 2.241.000 and 2.589.000. Among the multitude of these timepieces, only around 30 pieces are 18k gold 6262. This equates to roughly 0,0086 of the 1970 Rolex production. It is no surprise that the 18k 6262 is not only the scarcest Daytona reference ever made, but also one of the most difficult Rolexes to find on the vintage watch market today.
The new generation of Daytonas with round push buttons, Ref. 6262 with metal bezel graduated to 200 and 6264 with black plastic bezel, shows that Rolex moves away from its normal technical and stylistic experimental phase. This process generated many variations, which are now undisputed trophies in the most important collections around the world.
The new models' heart is the final evolution of the 727 caliber, a modified version of the Valjoux movement used on all Rolex's manually wound production until 1987, when it will be replaced by the Zenith El Primero caliber.
A consensus also seems to be reached about the dial and Rolex decides on two options for both the steel and gold version. It is the evolution of the dark versus bright duality that typifies the Daytona dials. The steel version can be purchased with the choice of a white background with black registers dial, or the opposite. The gold version offers similar options, but the white is substituted and the champagne tonality is much better suited to the gold case.
This extraordinary and important timepiece distinguishes itself by the unusual cherry red Daytona designation. It is a small detail, but more than enough to modify the overall look of the dial, giving it flair and modernity. Also, this further enhances the collectability of this extremely rare Daytona.
One can only speculate about the origin of this red designation and it may be a final acknowledgement to the stylistic exploration of previous years. It certainly is a forerunner to the choices Rolex will make for the dials of later models. The curved Daytona writing on top of the central register will be a typical characteristic of the later 6262 and 6264. The cherry red will be used as a standard colour for the Daytona designation on ref. 6263 and 6265 in steel on later models.