The Hand-Wound Era
The luxury fake Rolex Daytona was originally a mechanical chronograph—powered by the Valjoux cal. 72 or a variant thereof, it needed to be wound each day. This era lasted from 1963 until 1987—in 1988, Swiss copy Rolex unveiled the first automatic model.
The OG Daytona launched in 1963, with the UK luxury replica Rolex Daytona ref. 6239, which was the very first “official” Daytona model. Housed in a (roughly) 37 mm steel or gold case, it featured “Rolex Comosgraph” on the black or white dial under the 12 o’clock logo and was powered, like the ref. 6238 “pre-Daytona,” by the hand-wound Valjoux 72 movement (later customized by Swiss made fake Rolex and renamed or the Cal. 722). It also featured, like that model, unthreaded pump pushers, meaning water resistance was limited. Now here’s the kicker: The top super clone Rolex ref. 6239 in its pre-1965 styling did not feature “Daytona” on the dial at all; later versions did, either above the 6 o’clock subdial or beneath the “Rolex Cosmograph” marking at 12 o’clock. Also, note the stick hands and markers and the lack of a contrasting background against the outer minute and ⅕th-second track, as well as the bezel inscribed with a tachymeter scale (a first for copy Rolex online).
The birth of the “Paul Newman” 1:1 fake Rolex Daytona UK also coincides with that of the ref. 6239. (A “Newman” can be one of several Daytona references, as it’s indicative of a particular dial type, not a case type.) Called “exotic dials” by AAA quality replica Rolex, these special dials were made by Singer and featured red “Daytona” text (though not on the earliest iterations) and Art Deco-esque Arabic indices on the sub-registers with dot markers. (It’s said that roughly one in 20 hand-wound Daytonas featured an exotic dial.) They also featured a contrasting seconds track with red markings on the outer edge of the dial. Available in steel or gold cases, these high quality replica watches originally didn’t sell well and languished on shelves.
Paul Newman was known to have worn one of these exotic-dialed super clone watches online, which was given to him by his wife Joan Woodward. At some point in the 1980s, Italian collectors began associating the exotic dials with the famed American actor, giving rise to the term “Paul Newman dial.” Of course, when Newman’s own “Newman” came up for sale in 2017, its nearly $18M hammer price was due in no small part to the fact that this was the very watch that gave rise to an industry-wide obsession.