The 6240 is Rolex’s First ‘Oyster Daytona’
The Rolex 6240 is an important reference in the history of the Daytona line, as it was the first true ‘Oyster’ Daytona. Rolex’s Oyster case was first unveiled in 1926 and was one of Rolex’s most important innovations. It received its name because it protected the watch from the elements just as an oyster is protected by its shell. These original oyster cases had screw down crowns and case backs to protect the watch from water and dirt.
All Daytonas, including the 6239, have the same features as these original Oysters. Despite this, not all references are referred to as ‘Oyster’. This is because the Daytona is a chronograph, and chronographs also have pushers. If these are not screw down the watch cannot be considered water resistant.
The 6240 was the very first Daytona with screw down pushers. Its predecessor the 6239, along with the 6241, 6262, and 6264 all had pump pushers.
Most collectors favour screw down pushers to pump pushers, largely because they give the watch a sportier appearance. This is the reverse of what most consumers thought at the time the 6240 was released. At that time, many complained that the screw down pushers caught on their shirt cuffs.
The reference was not produced in large numbers. It is considered as a kind of prototype version of the 6263, which was released four years after the 6240. As well as sharing the screw down pushers, the 6263 and 6240 also both have a metallic bezel with a black acrylic insert.
The tachymeter scale on the bezel is also the same, running from 50 to 200 units per hour. The main difference between the references is only apparent once the watch is opened up. At various times the 6240 came with either a Valjoux 72B, 722 or 722-1 movement, but never the more advanced 727 movement which was found on the 6263.
The 6240 is one of the rarest of all Daytona references. It is thought that only 1700 examples were produced, all of which have stainless steel cases. However, it is not the rarest first series Daytona. The 6262 is certainly rarer, and perhaps also the 6264. What can be said with certainty is that it is the rarest of all of the screw-down pusher Daytonas.
Like all Daytona references up to the 6263, the 6240 came with an Oyster Twinlock 600 crown when it was first released. This was later updated to the Twinlock 700, found on 6240s with later production dates.
The crystal on the watch is a type of domed plexiglass that is termed ‘Tropic 21’. This was the crystal used on all Daytonas until 1980. After this, there was a switch to standard plexiglass on some models.
In this section we outline the specifications of the Rolex Daytona 6240
Time, Chronograph, Tachymeter
Number of Watches Produced (Estimate)
Early in Production
Oyster Twinlock 600
Later in Production
Oyster Twinlock 700
Domed plexiglass (‘Tropic 21’)
Calibrated Metal with Black Plexiglas Insert and Tachymeter Scale Printed in White
50–>90 units/hour (5-unit intervals)
90–>160 units/hour (10-unit intervals)
160–>200 units/hour (20-unit intervals)
Note: sigmas (σ) flanking the ‘T SWISS T’ designation at the 6 o’clock dial position indicates the hour markers are gold
‘ROLEX COSMOGRAPH’: 12 o’clock
‘DAYTONA’: Initially below 12 o’clock designation. Then above centre sub-dial in curved red text.
904L Stainless Steel
904L Stainless Steel
904L Stainless Steel
(Indicates date of production)
Letters: A to L = 1976 to 1987; VA to VF = 1976 to 1981
Numbers (not always present) : 1 to 12 = January to December
Rolex (adapted from the base movement Valjoux 72)
722: c. 1965-1968
722-1: c. 1968-1969
Number of Jewels
More Info on Rolex 6240’s Movements…
Over its production history, the Rolex 6240 was fitted with the same three movements as the 6239. The Valjoux 72B was used for the very earliest 6240s, but almost immediately this was replaced by the 722. This is basically the same as the 72B, with only minor changes. In fact, in Rolex’s own documentation from that time the two names are often used interchangeably.
From 1968 to 1969, this movement was replaced with the 722-1. This time, some major changes were made. All three are manual wind chronograph movements with a 48-hour power reserve, 17 jewels, and a vph (vibrations per hour) of 18000.
There are many different versions of the 6240, some of which are very rare and valuable
Rolex 6240 Paul Newman / Exotic Dial
The year of the 6240’s release was also the year that the famous exotic dial configuration (now known as the Paul Newman dial) was first used by Rolex. The Paul Newman dial is the most desired of all Daytona dial configurations.
It differs from the standard dial of the era due to the step between the dial and the outer minute track, the contrasting colour of this track compared with the main dial colour, the art deco font on the subdials, and the square at the end of the hash marks in the subdials. All of the highest selling Daytonas at auction have had Paul Newman dials.
Although collectors had long believed that 6240s with Paul Newman dials existed, until recently none were found. However, this changed in May 2018 when a beautiful black dial example belonging to a Doctor called Corsini was sold by Phillips. Experts believe that all genuine Paul Newman 6240s should have a three-colour RCO dial or a two-colour Panda dial. These are the same dial layouts believed to be found on all genuine Paul Newman 6263s and 6265s.
Rolex 6240 Solo
The 6240 Solo is one of the most sought after 6240 dial configurations, but is also one of the most controversial. It has this name because the only designation on the dial, aside from ‘T SWISS T’ at the very bottom, is a solitary ‘ROLEX’; located just below the Rolex crown logo. The origin of these dials is unclear and there is some doubt as to their authenticity.
It is purported that the very first 6240s that were produced featured solo dials, and a few examples have been sold within the 1.2 to 1.4 serial number range. What is certain is that this dial configuration was definitely used on the 6239, as there is an original Rolex advertisement showing one. For this reason, some believe that 6240 Solos are actually 6239 Solo dials transplanted into 6240 cases.