In Rolex parlance, any Cosmograph Daytona that has a “panda” (black sub-dials against a light background) or “reverse panda” (light sub-dials against black) dial and was manufactured in the 1960s and 1970s is called a “Paul Newman.” This is because Mr. Newman of racing, salad dressing, and acting fame, was famously given a ref. 6239 by his wife, Joanne. And he went on to wear as many as five different Daytona references during his life.
But in this article, I’d like to focus on the references that sported one version or another of the panda dial. There were seven: the 6239, 6240, 6241, 6262, 6263, 6264, and 6265.
Now, at this point we should be clear. The WIS among us will say that only the panda dials with red minute markers against an outer chapter ring the color of the sub-dials, and sub-dials with square marks and cross-hairs.
6239 – produced between 1963 and 1969, the 6239 was the first Daytona to sport a tachymetre bezel. It had pump rather than screw-down pushers and so, notably, was not an Oyster.
6240 – produced between 1965 and 1969, the 6240 was the first with screw-down pushers and thus, the first Oyster Cosmograph. This is also where the black bezel insert first made its appearance.
6241 – produced between 1965 and 1969, the 6241 went back to pump pushers and the ‘Oyster’ disappeared from the dial. However, the black bezel insert stayed.
6262 – produced between 1970 and 1972, the 6262 featured the new calibre 727 (as did subsequent references). It had pump pushers again, but the ‘Oyster’ was back (improved pusher design for water resistance?). And the 6262 featured an engraved metal bezel.
6263 – produced between 1971 and 1987, the 6263 is perhaps the most pursued of the Paul Newmans. There’s just something about the combination of the black tachymetre bezel insert and screw-down pushers that makes this watch look like it’s ready for anything – a timing session at the track, or chasing a bad guy off the deep end of the pier.
6264 – produced between 1970 and 1972, the 6264 was very similar to the 6262, but with the more exotic dial (some would say, the true Paul Newman dial), and the black plastic bezel insert.
6265 – produced between 1971 and 1987, the 6265 mimicked the 6263, but with an engraved metal bezel.
That’s a brief summary of the Daytonas known as Paul Newmans. Any one is a worthy grail for a collector. Each have their design idiosyncrasies, allowing a collector with similar idiosyncrasies to hone in on his favorite.
(Image credit, all watches: TimeandWatches.com)