The Rolex Daytona is unequivocally one of the most sought-after watches on the market today. While vintage Daytonas have always been sought after, the market has really come into its own in recent years, and it has finally begun to feed into the niche of the so-called Pre-Daytonas. Nicknamed for the fact that they are the watches that gave rise to the Daytona itself, Pre-Daytona references are pieces of horological history that are some of the most influential watches Rolex has ever made. With their designs being so closely tied to the Daytona, it is no doubt that these watches are the unsung heroes of Rolex's history and are some of the best value propositions to be considered in the arena of vintage Rolex collecting. The Pre-Daytona we have on offer here is a stainless steel ref. 6238 from 1964. Rolex began production of the ref. 6238 in the early '60s and ceased production in the late 60's – around 1967 or 1968. This period of watchmaking was a somewhat transitional time as watches were becoming more and more powerful when used as tools, which was becoming increasingly common and necessary. Without computers or electronic timers, chronographs were the best way to time and record intervals and determine data points. Pilots, scientists, race car drivers, and numerous other professions used chronographs to make their lives easier. As such, the ref. 6238’s dial was designed to aid the wearer and allow them to make calculations. This would provide the basis on which the following ref. 6239 would be built upon, which was the first watch Rolex would call the 'Daytona'. Powered by the manual-wind Valjoux cal. 72B movement which was in the earlier ref. 6238 models before Rolex decided to modify it, this example is a pre-Daytona in the strictest sense, with its movement being as far removed from the modern movements such as the cal. 4030 and the cal. 4130 as is possible. A wonderfully vivid reminder of where the Daytona has come from, the Pre-Daytona is a watch rich with history and perhaps sitting as one of the most influential watches ever made, even if only indirectly.
This particular watch was present to Joseph B. Soares, a long time trainer for the New York Yankees on occasion of the team winning the AL pennant in 1964. Over the years, other examples of the 1964 Yankees Rolex have appeared on the market, most notably, Mickey Mantle's example sold in 2020 for $136,000.
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Vetted & Approved
Est. value range
$40,000 – $60,000
Watch is in remarkable near-mint condition. Minor surface scratches, most noticeable on the polished caseback. Engravings are deep and crisp. Bezel is sharp Dial in near-mint condition with creamy aged luminous and matching hands. Bracelet has 12 links and exhibits little to no stretch.
The Pre-Daytona is a special watch in and of itself just because of the level of reverence it has come to command over the decades, but when connected with special provenance it can become a perfect storm of rarity and desirability that collectors just go nuts for - and this ref. 6238 has exactly that.