Clever Investments: The Zenith Daytona

The Rolex Daytona is an icon. Its transcended time and fashion trends to remain the aspiration purchase for many fledgling watch collectors. Pieces from the 60s and 70s such as the 6263 and 6265 are considered “must haves “and rightly so.

A collection of Rolex Daytonas
A collection of rare Rolex Daytonas

They have a unique style that exudes both understatement and quality and perhaps demonstrates with a smaller than modern case the purity of the design. Features such as prominent screw down pushers and domed acrylic add to that characteristic vintage feel that so many crave.

Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263
Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263

Powered by a Valjoux movement it ticks all the boxes, and prices for these pieces remain in a steady uptrend as the allure of Daytona reaches further across the globe. While they have entered levels beyond the pockets of many a collector, there is reason to believe they have far from peaked. Paul Newman Daytonas are now an asset class in their own right, recognized globally in the same way a Ferrari 250 GTO might to petrolheads.

Rolex Daytona Ref. 6265
Rolex Daytona Ref. 16520

So where can value be found in the world of vintage Daytona? I firmly believe that the reference 16520 or “Zenith“ Daytona is possibly the next spotlight piece and when found with both box and certificate represent not only a great investment but simply a great watch. Priced roughly at half that of an average 6265, Zenith Daytona pieces with floating dials, 225 bezels and the enigmatic patrizzi are disappearing rapidly from the market. Yellow gold examples are an even better pick if you can stretch that little further as the premium between steel is simply too small compared to the relative lack of production. Danny Pizzigoni of The Watch Club, London’s oracle of vintage Daytona perhaps summed it up best when he said, “I need not advertise or display a Zenith Daytona, they are sold before I have bought them.”

Rolex Daytona Ref. 16520
Rolex “Zenith” Daytona Ref. 16520

My final argument for the Zenith Daytona is one of aesthetics. The black sub dial rings of a white dialled zenith give the watch a style not found in a modern Rolex brochure, it’s the signature mark that like the “ scritta rossa “ of a 6265 or 6263 will become a style hallmark as the watch evolves through the decades. Priced at a modest premium to a brand new Daytona, the Zenith Daytona gives you modern day practicality with that vintage twist, that ability to stand out amongst the crowd and the security of an appreciating asset. It may be discontinued, even overlooked, but its day is coming.

Photo Credit: Jimmy Cosmo and The Watch Club. If you’d like to hear more about Jimmy’s thoughts on good investments, please follow his Instagram account @JimmyCosmo

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