Thursday, October 26, 2023

Daytona Paul Newman 6263 Tropical Dial 'Oyster Sotto'




By Danny Crivello

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Paul Newman “Oyster Sotto” 6263 is, without a doubt, a dream watch and a legend among the collectors’ community. 

Fewer than 20 examples have appeared at auctions, underscoring how incredibly rare these Paul Newmans are. And look at that tropical dial!

By the way, the names “RCO” and “Oyster Sotto” (meaning “Oyster Underneath” in Italian) were bestowed by collectors due to the fact that rather than the familiar “Rolex”—“Oyster”—“Cosmograph” layout that is seen on the classic variant of these rare exotic black dials, the text is displayed as “Rolex”—“Cosmograph”—“Oyster.”

The reason for the "Oyster Sotto" or "RCO" is that the dials were originally intended for the non-waterproof references such as 6262 and 6264 which are signed “Rolex Cosmograph Daytona” only. 

When the new water-resistant “Oyster” case was introduced for the reference 6263, around 1969, it is believed certain customers must have specifically requested their watch should have an exotic dial of the type now known by collectors as the “Paul Newman.”

Of course, no such dials existed specifically for the water-resistant Oyster model and therefore a small number of the already printed current non-Oyster dials were adapted with the addition of the word “Oyster” in plain font. As the dials were already preprinted, there was no option but to place the word “Oyster” below the words “Rolex Cosmograph”. And thus an anomaly was created that exists in so few examples.

This fresh-to-the-market 6263 with a tropical dial was sold for 1,796,000 euros at Monaco Legends Auction this week, on the higher end of its 1-million to 2-million estimate. It had only been pre-owned twice in its history. 

What a magnificent example of a vintage Rolex Daytona! These vintage Rolexes are just pure art, in my opinion, and really no different than a Monnet or Van Gogh. Please forgive me as I turn the beautiful picture of the "Oyster Sotto" above into Starry Night. Dreamy!