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Why Is There a Waiting List for the Rolex Daytona?

  • By Arshia Fatholah

The Daytona is one of the most sought after time pieces ever made by famous Swiss luxury watchmaking giant, Rolex. When the demand for a product exceeds the market supply, what usually follows is a huge spike in resale value, which was exactly the case with the Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel. Luckily for stingey watch buyers, waiting lists are put in place to guarantee loyal customers a shot at getting their dream watch for the retail price, even if they do have to wait months, and in some cases, years. 

When the Rolex Daytona was originally released in 1963, to say that the watch was extremely unpopular, is an understatement. There are many stories of watch dealers using the Daytona as door stops and loan watches whilst people got their other watches serviced. That was until Rolex pulled off a marketing move for the ages. The astronomical increase in demand was caused solely by American actor and race car driver, Paul Newman. Legend has it, Newman wore his Rolex Daytona every day from 1972 until his unfortunate passing in 2008, making him an extremely powerful marketing tool for Rolex. The early Rolex Daytona stainless steel watches, which have a four digit reference number, are now commonly referred to as 'Paul Newman Daytona’s' showing just how powerful Newman's influence was. 

Credit: Profit

Since 1963, there have been many iterations of the Rolex Daytona and the demand has only increased. At this moment in time you could easily say that the Stainless Steel Rolex Daytona is one of the most sought after timepiece in the world.

During Baselworld 2016, the Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel received a refresh giving birth to the Daytona 116500ln. The watch received a cerachrome bezel and all new dials, which look very familiar to the early Paul Newman Rolex Daytona’s. Already hard to get, the 116500ln was almost impossible for the average watch buyer to obtain. Currently, the only way to get a brand new Daytona 11650ln, is either; join the waiting list, or pay the ridiculous resale value on the grey market. (un-authorised Rolex dealers)

Credit: Bulangandsons

The main reason for the crackers resale prices is because of the Rolex Daytona waiting list, when walking into a Rolex dealership it is impossible to get a straight answer out of anyone as to how long the waiting list actually is. When attempting to acquire one myself I was told that the waiting list was 10 years... I mean who would wait 10 years for a watch?! Every authorised dealer is different. Some get allocated more 11500ln’s than others, based on how well that individual dealership performs, leaving several dealships with only a couple of allocations per year. As usual with everything in life, the best way to get something you want is to be friendly with someone high in the pecking order, which is normally earnt by purchasing several watches from Rolex in the past.

If you are lucky enough to get yourself on the Rolex Daytona waiting list, you will have to immediately part with an initial deposit of 10-15% of the value. You will then be left to simply sit back and wait a few years or possibly up to a decade for the call to pay the remaining amount and pick up your timepiece.

Many assume that the Rolex Daytona waiting list is just a marketing method used by the Swiss watch maker. One question which surfaces a lot is 'why don’t they just make more?' this is because Rolex spent years spending crazy marketing cash building up hype around the Daytona and they arent just about to drop a general release flooding the market, which would destroy the buzz and completely devalue the Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel.  

Due to the Rolex Daytona being in such high demand, it is one of the best watches to invest in. That is of course, if you don’t pay too much over the £9,100 retail price. Currently the cheapest Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel is on chrono24 listed at around £14,500. This price is still a bargin but dont expect to make quick cash from it. If you are prepared to pay hefty re sell, you are going to have to sit on this time piece for several years to see any sort of return. 

END. Clothing