The Rolex Chronograph has a rich heritage that makes pieces in this series some of the rarest and most sought-after in the world. A Rolex Oyster Chronograph beautifully encapsulates the inventive spirit of Rolex in form and function: From precise timekeeping, recording, and stop watch capabilities, to an intricate design.
Moreover, these timepieces boast the undeniable charm of being race car icons. Better known today as Daytona, and sometimes Pre-Daytona by collectors, these are among the world’s favorite watches that were built to reflect the speed and lifestyle of racing. Perhaps more than any other model in the family, the Rolex Chronograph watch showcases the unparalleled tradition of Swiss precision craftsmanship and the visionary ideals of Rolex.
The Rolex Chronograph collection includes some of the most highly regarded timepieces in horology. To say that they are benchmarks for watchmaking around the world would be an understatement – a Rolex Oyster Chronograph is simply in a category of its own. The first complication that set this wristwatch apart was the chronograph, distinguished by single-push buttons on the side to start, stop, and reset a second hand on the dial.
However, the original perpetual Chronograph soon evolved beyond a stop watch. Today’s Daytona models feature a broad range of useful tools for high-speed living that were developed over the last decades. To begin with, each Rolex Chronograph watch features a waterproof Oyster case, meaning its most vital mechanical parts are always protected from the elements. Moving outward, the watch face displays multiple functions: a Tachometer for easy mph reading, one-minute, 30-minute and 12-hour recorders, and a sweeping hand, now capable of stopping time to an incredible one eighth of a second. The counters contrast boldly with the dial, in black on white, or white on black, announcing the functionality and beauty of the watch.
The Rolex Chronograph matches the power of the Daytona racing tradition in an expertly engineered wristwatch. Mile for mile, this wristwatch keeps pace with daredevil wearers who rely upon durability and precision. Remarkably, the Rolex Chronograph watch also manages to be effortlessly elegant, in spite of being a professional-grade tool. This means the wristwatch stays on the wrist whether on the racetrack or after the checkered flag.
The Rolex Chronograph collection has built a solid reputation over the last century as a professional watch. In 1953, Rolex introduced the Cosmograph to this line as a tribute to race car drivers. This was the first version to move the Tachometer onto the Bezel to both simplify and create space on the dial. The resulting Bezel added a distinctive sports look to the watch and significantly improved readability for the wearer. In later models, the bezel also features the distinctive play of black and white as the dial. This practical legibility is also one of its most visually arresting and distinctive design features.
In the following decade, Rolex added another important innovation to the Rolex Chronograph: A self-winding movement fashioned from quartz for extra durability and quality. These complications and design alterations make following the history of the Rolex Chronograph as exhilarating as race car driving.