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Six Replica Rolex Daytonas at Phillips

When it was first stated last year that Phillips would be hosting a Daytona-themed sale called Daytona Ultimatum, I expressed my fair share of skepticism. Some would say I outright scoffed at the very idea of another Daytona-centric auction. I mean, sure, the market has been going crazy for these chronographs lately and only several weeks before that Mr. Newman’s very own watch had fetched at a very cheap price.
Of course, I’m not ready to give an emphatic “yes,” but I have talked to a ton of people over the last few months trying to understand exactly why we’re at the point in the world of Daytona collecting, and I am feeling a little better about things. There’s a lot to be worried about when mass-produced stainless steel chronographs are fetching hundreds of thousands of dollars and more at auction with the sort of regularity that would make a laxative salesman blush. But then again, getting too worked up over the prices of vintage replica watches is a futile exercise.
The Daytona is a pretty special fake watch. Placed in the context of 20th-century watch-making, it sort of stands alone as a watch that is genuinely mechanically funny, part of the collection of a top-tier brand, embedded in pop culture in countless ways, and, importantly, exists in too many variations for any one collector to amass. You can genuinely collect just replica Rolex Daytona watches and never run out of new things to find, new variations to enjoy, and new scholarship to uncover. While this is true at all price points, it’s the high-end of the spectrum that gets the most attention.
Looking through the catalog, what stood out to me immediately was that there are six (yes, 6!) Daytonas projected to beat the $1 million mark – and four of those are stainless steel. It wasn’t that long ago that there were actually zero Daytonas that had sold for $1 million or more. The floodgates were opened. After that, we’ve become numb to the crazy prices that Daytonas regularly fetch, and it seems like almost every major auction now features one that at least approaches seven figures, if not more.
So let’s make one thing clear: This isn’t normal. The fact that we’re looking at six Rolex Daytonas that could very well total over $10 million in the same auction is flat out madness. However, it’s where the market’s at and the replica watches themselves are pretty damn cool. So let’s buckle up, embrace the craziness, and take a closer look.
If there’s only one known example of anything – or, even better, if there’s proof that only one of a certain fake watch was ever made – you know you’ve got sky-high prices on the horizon. This is the only vintage Daytona known to exist in white gold and it’s been fitted with a non-original but super chic white gold bracelet by the current owner.