The genius that was Hans Wilsdorf revolutionized watchmaking in more than one way. Not only in a technical sense, but also by marketing them in a way that was quite revolutionary for the time. For instance, Wilsdorf equipped Mercedes Gleitze in 1927 with a Rolex when she made history swimming across the British Channel, proving her own strength and resilience and that of her Rolex as well. But at that time watches were not the only product that enjoyed rapid, technical advancements; cars were turning from motorized carriages into the vehicles we know today. Limits were pushed, records were broken, and many of them happened at Daytona Beach, Florida.
Wilsdorf recognized it as a place where Rolex belonged, and joined forces with one of the fastest drivers in the world that raced at Daytona Beach, Sir Malcolm Campbell. As a result, the first celebrity ambassador was created. Campbell would always wear a Rolex around his wrist and was even featured in various magazine and newspaper ads for Rolex replica watches.
Campbell broke the world land speed record five times at Daytona Beach, yet became concerned with the deteriorating state of the track and moved to Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, where he stayed faithful to Rolex. On September 4, 1935, he steered the legendary Bluebird through the 300 mph barrier, with one of the brand’s watches around his wrist.
In 1936, the track at fake Rolex Daytona watches Beach became the location where the world’s first endurance stock car race was being held, which was 78 laps, or 250 miles, long. In 1938 management was taken over by William France Sr., who would become one of the founding fathers of NASCAR. The track on Daytona Beach would evolve into the Daytona International Speedway, home of the Daytona 500, and up until today the most prestigious race in NASCAR.
Just like Campbell, France Sr. was also featured in Rolex cheap replica watches advertisements. What is interesting though is that neither one of them wore a chronograph. France Sr. wore a Rolex Zephyr; Campbell wore the early Oyster models. Rolex already had chronographs in its collection, powered by Valjoux movements, but it wasn’t until 1955 that they introduced a chronograph in an Oyster case. This reference 6234 was not named Daytona yet, but would later evolve into reference 6238, which comes much closer to the Daytona we know. In fact, the second series of reference 6238 is referred to, by Rolex connoisseurs, as the Pre-Daytona. Both references 6234 and 6238 featured a 37mm case and was powered by Rolex Caliber 72. This movement was in fact a slightly reworked version of the Valjoux 72, a reliable manual wind chronograph movement featuring a column wheel. Reference 6238 is actually also a bona fide Bond-watch, featured on the wrist of George Lazenby, as he takes on Blofeld at the Piz Gloria, Switzerland, in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.’ The 6238 was a much more modern looking watch than the 6234, mainly thanks to the dial with its stick hands, rectangle hour markers, and larger sub-dials. But the bezel was still smooth and polished.