Rolex Daytona | Wristwatches360

Top 5 watches similar to the Rolex Daytona

Discover our top 5 selection of high powered luxury watches that put up a good fight against the mighty Rolex Daytona.

Arguably Recognised as one of the most iconic watches ever created, the “Daytona” is one of the most desirable watch models that the swiss manufacturer, Rolex, has ever produced.

The appearence of the watch is very distinctive, having three sub-dials in a compax layout, paired with an external tachymeter running around the outer edge of the watch – which is the recognised appearence used in racing watches today. This sleek design allows for the wearer to measure their speed and distance traveled, which is the most important instrument in racing, as it allows drivers to measure their speed.

Rolex first gained proper recognition for their chronograph when they introduced their Cosmograph “Daytona” range, in 1963, providing functions best suited for motorsport racing. After becoming the main sponsor of the Daytona beach speedway race, Rolex’s cosmograph chronograph became synonymous with the race.

History of the Rolex Daytona

 

Although Rolex’s Chronograph range is seen as an iconic wristwatch today, that wasn’t always the case. Looking back at Rolex’s chronograph history, the company struggled against their competitors for years, trying to produce a chronograph that would create a stir. The chronographs they produced were poorly equipped using third party mechanisms in their sub standard traditional cases. Eventually, during WWII time, they released their chronograph using their iconic “oyster-case”, trying to improve the durability and finish of the watch.

WWII Rolex Chronograph | Wristwatches360

However it still failed to become a hit, and it soon became obsolete with their generic hand-wound movement, and quickly became an overall flop in the general public. Yet Rolex did not stop there, they carried on producing more chronograph models over the next few years from 1955 to 1961 which did not adopt the name of “Cosmograph” nor “Daytona”. It wasn’t until Rolex became Daytona’s official timekeeper in 1962 that the watch finally started to earn it’s popularity. The Rolex Cosmograph reference 6239 debuted one year later, in 1963, gaining the nickname “Daytona” due to its affiliation with the prestigious racing event.

A few Daytona models later, in 1988, the mechanical movement in the watches started to become relics, as they were no match for the newly introduced quartz movement wrist watch. So, in the same year Rolex decided to improve their chronograph movement, by mimicking the Zenith El Primero movement, whilst making improvements to its power reserve and longer service intervals.

The new calibre was then named ‘Calibre 4030” which, at the time, was seen as a massive step in watch making design. An upgrade was not only made to their internal movement but also the diameter size, 40mm, and the glass window, sapphire crystal. The new enhancements made to the once aged Daytona dramatically boosted the popularity of the watch model.

This was when the Rolex Daytona became hailed as an icon, not just in motor racing, but in the world.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Calibre 4030 | Wristwatches360

Rolex then went a step further and took their internal movements in-house in the year 2000 and built the Daytona with a Calibre 4130. Since then the Rolex Daytona prices have soared upwards of £15,000 and have become one of the most desirable wristwatches to date.

The sheer demand and scarcity of the Rolex Daytona makes it almost impossible to get your hands on one, unless you either are willing to join a 10-year waiting list or purchase the timepiece from a second-hand retailer for double its initial retail price.

Paul Newman Daytona  | Wristwatches360
Did you know?

The Paul Newman Daytona

The Rolex Cosmograph reference 6239 was also the watch which gained high attention from the actor and race car driver, Paul Newman. His Daytona would join him on every race and can be recognised for its contrasting coloured seconds scale along the dial’s periphery, now known as a panda dial. This type of Daytona became known as the “Paul Newman Daytona” and has been known to reach as much as $100,000 when sold at auction.

Our list of watches similar to Rolex Daytona

 

Thankfully, with the benefit of time, there are many other watches similar to Rolex Daytona which pay homage to their iconic design and functionality which are readily available, some with a more affordable price tag in comparison.

1. Dan Henry 1962 Racing Chronograph 

Dan Henry 1962 Racing chronnograph panda | Wristwatches360

If you haven’t heard of Dan Henry, then you are in for a treat. Dan Henry is named after it’s founder,  who initially pursued his passion of watches with creating a watch blog

He then went on to create his own brand in 2016, and has shown his keen understanding of the intricate detail of watch design and merged it into his watch models. The range of watches available are incredibly designed with a vintage authentic feel, at a very affordable price.

The Dan Henry racing range is probably they’re most staggering, especially the 1962 Racing Chronograph, which adopts the outer edge design of an Omega Speedmaster paired with the panda tricomplex dial of the iconic “Paul Newman” Daytona.

One of the notable trademarks of the Dan Henry watches, are their embossed caseback design, of which the 1962 chronograph pays homage to the classical Aston Martin DB5 automobile.

The immense detail alone that has gone into this watch is outstanding, it may not be the most recognisable brand, like omega or Rolex, but if you are not just looking for a watch for its status but for its intricate detail and homage to the motorsport industry, then the 1962 Racing chronograph may just be the watch for you. 

Technical specifications
Movement
Japanese (Quartz) 
Material
Stainless Steel, Leather
Calibre
VK63 Meca Quartz (Seiko)
Crystal
K1 Mineral Glass
Water Resistance
50m
Case Diameter
39mm

Price
$270.00

Bell & Ross BR V2-94 BLACK STEEL | Wristwatches360

It may not be the first watch brand you think of when talking about Motorsport, and yet there is good reason. Bell and Ross are a fairly new brand in comparison to the other watch brands, who have designed their watches to assist in military and aviation activities.

Although, their BR V2-94 black steel chronograph adopts a much more modest look from their usual aviation counter gage styles. The vintage dark appearance paired with the outer tachymeter, would almost make you think that you are looking at an Omega Speedmaster.

However, when you observe the timepiece in further detail, you can see how they have enlarged the 12 and 6 markers to make the watch face more eligible complimented with a sharper seconds’ hand, with an aviation signature as the pendulum of the hand.

Even though Bell and Ross are conventionally built for flight it is a strong contender and puts many racing chronographs to the test, all at a reasonable price point of £3,600.

Technical specifications
Movement
Swiss (Automatic) 
Material
Stainless Steel
Water Resistance
100m
Calibre
BR-CAL.301 (In-house)
Crystal
Sapphire
Power Reserve
42 hours
Case Diameter
41mm

Price
£3,600.00

Tudor Black Bay Chrono | Wristwatches360

When looking for an alternative watch to the Rolex Daytona what better than the Tudor Black Bay chrono, which is the sister company of Rolex. The Tudor black bay chronograph was the talk of the night when it made it’s debut appearance in Basel world 2017, presenting it as the very first Tudor chronograph to use a modified version of the Breitling B01 chronograph movement, Calibre MT5813.

This movement was praised highly for it’s technical functionality throughout the watchmaking industry when it was first released by Breitling in 2009.

The watches overall appearance is impressively attractive, well weighted, sculpted with high quality bezels, and paired with their traditional rose logo engraved on the screw-locking crown.

Like the Daytona, the Black Bay Chrono also has a tachymeter running along the outer edge of the watch, making it more than capable on the race track. Although the chrono doesn’t possess a tricomplex dial like the Daytona, its Bicomplax almost offers a refreshing simplicity to the dial face, that paired with its design and in-house movement makes this watch highly valuable its low cost of just £3,900.

Technical specifications
Movement
Swiss (Automatic) 
Material
Stainless Steel
Water Resistance
200m
Calibre
MT5813 (In-house)
Crystal 
Sapphire
Power Reserve
70 hours
Case Diameter
41mm

Price
£3,900.00

Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph | Wristwatches360

Although Tag Heuer has, in recent years, started to struggle with how they position themselves in the watch market, its hard to forget the watches they have produced.  They are perhaps best known for their Tag Heuer Monaco, which was personally chosen and worn by Steve Mcqueen when he started in the famous racing film “Le Mans”, which put their Monaco watch into the history book as one of the most iconic watches to have ever been produced.

Tag Heuer still continue to produce watches that are made to perfection in their movement and design high-quality designs. One of which is their Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph, released earlier this year, in 2020.

The watch appearance has a close resemblance to the Daytona, but is finished with a more sporty structure. This timepiece which pays homage to the 1960’s era of racing is powered by their very own in-house 02 calibre movement, finished with a stainless steel case which is surrounded by an agile dark tachymeter. 

The Carrera Chronograph brings a modern touch to the once vintage look and comes at half the price you would pay for the Rolex Daytona.

Technical specifications
Movement
Swiss (Automatic) 
Material
Stainless Steel

Water Resistance
100m

Calibre
Heuer 02 (In-house)
Crystal
Sapphire
Power Reserve
80 hours
Case Diameter
44mm

Price
£4,695.00

Omega Speedmaster Racing | Wristwatches360

Omega, just like Rolex is seen to be a highly valuable brand in the Swiss luxury watch market and is well known for their grown breaking technology and their unique, attractive design in the watch environment. Thus, making Omega a great alternative when looking for a different brand than the Rolex Daytona.

Probably most recognised for its Speedmaster Moonwatch worn by buzz Aldrin wore on the moon, Omega initially intended for their Speedmaster range to be for the race track. The sheer pressure and stress a watch is put under in racing conditions is so immense, that watch manufacturers, like Omega, needed to create a watch that is highly durable – Which also made it the perfect wristwatch, chosen by NASA, to be worn in space expeditions.

With the Omega Speedmaster adopting an image synonymous with space expeditions, the watch manufacturer created a different line of Speedmaster, called the ‘Omega Speedmaster Racing’. Its range was made to reinforce the racing heritage that the watch once possessed.

The main visual difference you notice instantly, from the professional Speedmaster moonwatch, is probably its second marking pointers which resemble a chequered racing line design. This is also paired with a stainless-steel casing and an outer ceramic tachymeter similar to the modern-day Rolex Daytona.

Internally the Omega is powered by it’s co-axial Master chronometer 9900, a highly precise and innovative movement.

Although the watch does not present much difference in the way of its price compared to the Rolex Daytona, the omega speedmaster is an icon in itself, and with this specifically made to represent their racing heritage makes it even more valuable. 

Technical specifications
Movement
Swiss (Automatic) 
Material
Stainless Steel
Water Resistance
50m
Calibre
Omega 9900 (In-house)
Crystal
Sapphire
Power Reserve
60 hours
Case Diameter
44.25mm

Price
£7,230.00

Rolex formed their chronograph into a watch that will be remembered for many lifetimes, with its shape and design becoming an iconic structure in motorsport watches. This being said our list of watches similar to Rolex Daytona, offer great alternatives for individuals who want to sport the vintage/ class look, whilst not having to fork out tens of thousands. 

Max Laird | Wristwatches360

Written by Max Laird

Founder of Wristwatches360 & keen luxury watch enthusiast.