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Les Artisans De Genève Tribute To Rolex Daytona 6263 Watch

Les Artisans De Genève Tribute To Rolex Daytona 6263 Watch Watch Releases

Les Artisans de Genève is a new company that focuses on recreating classic watches from the past, but updating and personalising them where they see fit. There is no doubt in my mind as to the quality of their work, or the qualifications of their artisans, but this is a novel practice that I imagine will divide the community down the middle. Using a base model from a brand’s current range, elements of the case, movement, and dial are modified or replaced in homage to an old, out-of-production model. Their first piece – Les Artisans de Genève Tribute to Rolex Daytona 6263 – takes inspiration from one of Rolex‘s most iconic models, but brings it back to life and up-to-date, in their own way.

Les Artisans De Genève Tribute To Rolex Daytona 6263 Watch Watch Releases

This is the first watch from Les Artisans de Genève, and it is available with either a black or white dial. These watches, produced in seriously limited runs, start life as a Rolex Daytona 116520 before being transformed into a ticker from antiquity. Before I delve into the specifics of this watch and how these craftspeople have simultaneously changed and stayed true to the Rolex Daytona 6263 in the creation of this homage, I feel it would be beneficial to place this company in the wider context of watchmaking and ask whether we have seen anything like this before.

When I first read the press release, I thought I was looking at the proposal for a Swiss-based Bamford Watch Department, but that’s not the case at all. This company takes a different tack to the concept of customisation of a Rolex in the style of Bamford or Made Worn (this Rolex Milgauss by Made Worn is still my favourite Rolex ever). This is more like an homage, with a restoration to make the watch a contemporary piece. It kind of reminds me of ICON Automative and what they do with cars.

Les Artisans De Genève Tribute To Rolex Daytona 6263 Watch Watch Releases

Getting to the nitty-gritty… The original Rolex Daytona Big Red 6263, released in 1967, was powered by a Valjoux 75. That was a manual movement. This version features a modified 4130 base calibre, an automatic movement. Two major customisations have been made by Les Artisans de Genève to put their stamp on the project: a nicely decorated 22 carat gold rotor weight bearing their name has replaced the standard oscillator; additionally, a gold balance bridge has been installed, changing the overall appearance of the calibre.

The Rolex Daytona 6263, takes its “Big Red” nickname from the large, red Daytona that curves around the top of the six o’clock sub-dial, and this was essential for Les Artisans de Genève to get right. Reputedly, the team spent over two years researching its nuances, and the combined efforts of nine craftsman over a 78-hour period were required to assemble the dial. The dial and the updated hands (which are not identical to the original, but a nice evolution) offer exceptional legibility, and are the epitome of a racing chronograph when paired together.


Les Artisans De Genève Tribute To Rolex Daytona 6263 Watch Watch Releases

Other exterior modifications include the hand-made “push-pump” pusher pieces, which still guarantee water resistance to 100m, but also offer a smooth look and feel during operation. The sleek form is complemented by the bakelite bezel, which mirrors the fashions of 1970. These days, we’re used to seeing steel, aluminium, or ceramic as the main material for bezel inserts. This material gives a really vintage, authentic feel to the piece, and was worth the necromancy it must have taken to resurrect the almost forgotten skill of working bakelite into a luxury product.

Les Artisans De Genève Tribute To Rolex Daytona 6263 Watch Watch Releases

The last modification made to the outside of the case and bracelet is the re-polishing (done by hand) to match the original model’s finish. This is performed by Tiago, their in-house master polisher (and, by the looks of the website, part-time model/local heart-breaker). Judging by the results, they’ve reason to shout about it – the watch does look like the original, from the front at least. Turning it over to see the glass case back, a customised gold rotor and balance bridge, and a name other than Rolex decorating the movement might shatter the illusion – or maybe not. Les Artisans de Genève will produce just two watches per month, and I look forward to what comes next. Price for the Les Artisans de Genève Tribute to Rolex Daytona 6263 is $22,



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  • IanE

    Feels like the decadence during the Decline And Fall of the Roman Empire. Not a fan!

    • Boogur T. Wang

      Stay Brave. It’s only a wrist watch.

  • TrevorXM

    Not a watch to buy as an investment, but I like it. If I hung out with a bunch of watch phonies like Ben Clymer or whomever, I could see getting a lot of delight as they pick apart what’s not “correct” about it and get all snippy until they throw a hissy fit. Really, this is not unlike a Singer Porsche 911 for watches in concept.

    • srs144

      Haha, I would love to hear you expound on what makes BC or others “watch phonies”? I am genuinely curious, not making a judgement either way or defending anyone

  • MEddie90

    Not a bad watch at all, sure some people may complain about the fact its not exactly akin to the original but a vast majority of people (such as myself) don’t really care too much about whether a watch has all the little vintage details exactly right. I love the Paul Newman because of the aesthetics and this seems like a great way to get the look at a fraction of the price and with all of the quality you would expect form Rolex and additional modern perks like sapphire crystals and an updated vertical clutch movement. Far better than some of the other Rolex customers who double the price and half the quality.

    Then again as much as I like the watch i’d hate to swallow the additional financial hit you can expect for a modified Rolex. This thing is going to be dropping in price straight out the box.

  • wallydog2

    Some neighbours just got back from a trip to Paris. They brought us Rodin’s “Man Thinking”, but awkwardly reassured us it may not be the original. I knew right away that this wasn’t THE “Man Thinking” because it was six inches tall and had “Made in China” on the bottom. However, I did not let on and pretended to be impressed. We dig it out of the cupboard and put it back on the coffee table when we know they’re coming over.

    • TrevorXM

      Your post doesn’t make any sense. Rodin was an artist who did indeed make some limited edition bronzes. Meanwhile, Rolex is an industrial concern making mechanical instruments (watches). If one wants to make a comparison, then this watch is like somebody getting a hold of the original moulds for The Thinker and then making up a new edition with a few modifications, perhaps a different bronze formula, a different finish to the surface — things that only a connoisseur would notice. And things that don’t interfere with the enjoyment of the design. Here they start with a Rolex 4130 base calibre and go from there. I don’t see where any parts were made in China. But it’s pretty obvious that many of the parts are much better made than in the original.

      • wallydog2

        My point is: at $23k it’s a Rolex or it’s not a Rolex.

  • word-merchant

    I don’t understand the point of this at all. It says Rolex on the dial but it isn’t one. Why would someone buy this? (Helpful explanations welcome).

    • 1droidfan

      Its actually a Rolex, or it starts as one, then they modify it.

    • sfbaydawg221

      A Shelby is still a Mustang, an Alpina is still a BMW and a Brabus (most models) is still a Mercedes.

      • JosephWelke

        But a RUF is no longer a Porsche. Just putting this in here.

  • srs144

    I guess for those who want a look alike dial for a vintage overpriced watch, this is a good option?

  • Ulysses31

    I must be confused, because this comes across as mostly a counterfeit Rolex. Usually homages don’t use the logo and decals of the brand they’re trying to imitate. Yes, it’s “improved”, but from the front, few would be able to tell it wasn’t the real thing. It’s a lovely looking watch, but i’m not sure i’d feel comfortable getting one of these. I don’t even understand how they are allowed to do this – someone please enlighten me.

    • 1droidfan

      Did you bother to read the article where it states “These watches, produced in seriously limited runs, start life as a Rolex Daytona 116520 before being transformed”. Its a modified Rolex, not a replica.

      • Ulysses31

        Indeed I did. How much can you modify something before it no longer remains what it once was? Is there a defined percentage amount?

        • 1droidfan

          If I buy a car, say a Ford Mustang, and add performance parts to it, its still a Ford Mustang correct? Lets say I do that for a job and call my company Saleen. Am I now selling counterfeit Ford Mustangs?

          • Chaz

            Doesn’t Saleen do what they do with open cooperation/acquiescence from Ford?
            In this case, I doubt very much Rolex is encouraging these watches. But no one truly ever knows what goes on behind the Rolex doors.

          • JosephWelke

            They used to. Lately, Ford’s cooled off toward Saleen and Roush, at least in part because those firms compete with Ford’s own Shelby series Mustangs. But Ford hasn’t issued C&D orders to either one yet, and so it might be with these jokers.

            Many people dislike these guys, and fair enough. But what if they took the Sky-Dweller, and made it beautiful?

            Huh? Huh?

          • Chaz

            Now THAT I could get behind. I dig the Sky-Dweller very much but its (too) conservative, borderline boring styling leaves something to be desired!

        • DanW94

          Checked on-line and found several variations of this answer.
          Apparently you should be able to modify a product and sell it if you purchased the product in the ordinary stream of commerce, unless the product, even as modified, is protected by a patent. It seems as long as there is no patent infringement, you’re legally able to do it.
          Keep in mind, I’m no lawyer (but I play one on TV)

        • FXD

          We’re getting perilously close into philosophical territory here!

          • Ulysses31

            Yep, that did inspire my comment. Makes you think though. Obviously it matters, or else the Swiss wouldn’t have that percentage rule that it isn’t “Swiss-made” without having 60% native parts. At least in that case, all the parts are intended from the outset to become part of an original watch. Here though we have a shell with the guts scooped out and replaced. I guess the Rolex brand has that much cachet that people will still accept these significant changes.

  • The REAL Ref 6263 “Big Red” had screwdown pushers.

    So they spent two years researching the font on the dial, and no one bothered to check out the chrono pushers on the original?

    • Ulysses31

      Funnily enough, I prefer the smooth pushers to the original ones.

      • I do, too, actually, which brings up the question: Why doesn’t Artisans of Geneve just manufacture and release their own designs under their own label? Seems rather lazy to capitalize on someone else’s brand by swapping out a few parts. $10K for a rotor, a bezel and some pushers? Methinks not.

        • benjameshodges

          Yeah I wondered why they bothered to remove the screw-down pushers. This article is misleading too. I clicked on the link to the website and saw the most Bamford-esque abomination straight away.

          • Yeah, the wanna-be Invicta Submariner atrocity that has the word “matte” misspelled throughout the entirety of the description. 46 hours of polishing, negative ten seconds of proofreading.

  • abrod

    These are the Daytonas that Rolex should be offering currently. Of course they (Rolex) will sue this outfit into oblivion, then go on making the abominations of taste they currently name “Daytona.”

    • WC

      Yup. Why can’t they just release the Daytona collectors/enthusiasts want? They can keep the blingy 116520 if they want, and just make a ceramic bezel, stainless model similar to the one shown above. Doesn’t even have to be a ‘heritage’ model or anything – juts a modern interpretation of the older look.

      • abrod

        Well the truth is Rolex doesn’t care, and it’s more or less always been that way. There’s a lot more money out there than there is good taste, and money always wins. Rolex won’t build a couple thousand classic-look Explorers, Subs, GMTs or Daytonas when they know they can sell 100x as many of the ones that appeal to people with more… overt… taste.

  • WC

    Really hope Rolex releases a panda dial, ceramic bezel Daytona in stainless this year. Bonus points if they polish the center links.

    • Adam Young

      They won’t as they hate money and success.

    • benjameshodges

      If they did, it would be in white gold. As Arnie would say “…I don’t do requests.”

  • Chaz

    I get the idea (I think) behind this: classic, great looks that you know Rolex won’t bring back anytime soon with the advantage of the superior new technology in the movement.
    Guess I’m not violently against this but just kind of wonder why it’s always Rolex. Why not some guys getting a Patek 5396 and redoing it to look like a classic vintage model?
    I guess it’s easier to get a batch of steel Daytonas and then charge double their price than a Patek and doing the same.

  • JPonce

    My first nice mechanical watch is a Steinhart OVM, which is a $400 homage of the famous Rolex 5517. I used to love it so much but soon realized that there is no point of having a homage watch because what I am looking for in watches are their originality and meaning/history behind the brand or watch. But that’s just me.

  • Marius

    I can’t understand the concept behind this watch. On the one hand, Tiago, the part-time model/local heart breaker and his friends spent their whole youth creating a dial and case almost identical to the original, but on the other hand, as Valannin argued, they use different pushers, hands, and caseback. So it tries to be a perfect replica, but in the same time, it tries to be different.

    Also, I don’t really see where my money is going. I mean, a standard Daytona which they use for this project costs around $11,000. Right, so now Tiago, the part-time model/local heart-braker adds a new dial, polishes the case, adds a gold rotor and charges almost $12,000 for this. It’s hard for me to believe that the new dial and gold rotor are so expensive. It sounds to me as if my money is actually going to Tiago, the part-time model/local heart-breaker to buy his girlfriends chocolate and ice-cream. Tiago, you’re FIRED!

    • Dinkee, H. O.

      They are sick evil fiends! More twisted and corrupt that Ted Cruz! They are disgusting! Disgusting! Slimier than Hillary Clinton! Horrible! I am furious with these disgusting individuals! The Rolex Daytona Big Red 6263 is sacred territory! It is not to be mocked like this! Only the aristocracy of horology should be allowed to own anything even resembling it. FIRED is right! More than fired, they need to get the sh*t bombed out of them!

      The HO

      Official Horologist to President Trump

      • DanW94

        You doth protest too much. You like it a little, just admit it…..

      • Chaz


  • iamcalledryan

    All I know is that it looks great and putting a crystal caseback on a Daytona is very pleasing.

    They should call this one the Intellectual Property Lawyer Magnet

  • Rik

    if an all original real 6263 Rolex can be had between $ 35.000-$40.000, why would one pay $22.500 for a fake? Especially as a large part of the value of a watch is determined by the dial… the watch looks nice, but at this price point I really don’t get it. Someone able and willing to pay $22.500 for this, can most probably stretch to the real thing?

  • WolverBilly

    This whole business is a perverse interpretation of “fair use” I guess. They are using the Rolex name to make money, and if they wanted to I’m sure Rolex could go after them for trademark infringement. But, they obviously choose not to as they really don’t care as I’m sure these dweebs don’t sell many of these POS watches. Like Icon vehicles, they’re just trinkets for people with more money than sense.

    • benjameshodges

      A Rolex still gets purchased at the end of the day.

  • wallydog2

    On the assumption that Rolex was a willing participant in this “Artisans de Geveve” production, then I see it as another nail in the coffin of Rolex mystique.

    • Adam Young

      I don’t know for certain, but I’m almost sure that it isn’t authorised by Rolex, and they’d refuse to service it. Like with the other Rolex modders mentioned in the article. That’s the big disadvantage of these pieces (also they can lose a lot of value).

  • wallymann

    first, i like it alot — an “upmarket” neo-retro rolex. and it’s a *real* rolex that looks alot better than the current stuff.

    second, fwiw…if it truly starts with an 116520, then they do ALOT more to the case than simply changing some finishes. look, the 116520’s crown-lugs are completely removed! i’m sure other shaping is going on — that’s serious machine-work!

  • “the team spent over two years researching (the dial’s) nuances” 730 days + of research. Give me a break.

  • Boogur T. Wang

    This group also does a rather nice vrsion of the iconic Submariner.
    Quite nice also.

  • Michael Kinney

    It’s gorgeous, and I don’t have a philosophical problem with it, but…man…I would always dread the day when I had to say “Well, it’s not a 6263 per se…but….”

  • SuperStrapper

    They spent 2 years researching the implementation of a single word on the dial, and I’m not supposed to point and laugh? What a stroke.

  • Coert Welman

    Philosophical discussions on whether this should be done/allowed and whether the price is justified aside, I actually like this. Like some other commenters also said, this is the Daytona Rolex should make. I love the clean dial. The short story Rolex have on their current Daytona dial is off-putting.
    I can understand why someone would want something like this. The gorgeous looks of a classic Rolex with the underpinnings of a modern one. Almost like putting the mind-boggingly pretty 356 body on a Porsche Boxster.


    Me thinks it looks great regardless of what Rolex thinks. Bamford spray coats Rolex cases and charges a ridiculous premium for it . Here they actually put a lot of effort to make a well rounded watch that to me looks better than the current Daytona model. I am not a fan of the steel bezel on the current model so this bakelite one is a nice piece. Overall a great effort but it will be hard to double up on price when you could have a black and a white dial Rolex for one of these.

  • Dcf

    2 years!

    And if that Magrette milgauss is your favorite Rolex ever then you really aren’t the right person to reach the Rolex demographic, either the vintage or modern guys. So maybe try your hand at Magrette.

    • JP. Coqueran


  • Mark Baran

    I like what they are doing. The finished product appears to be nicely put together, and they do not appear to be attempting to fool anyone regarding what they are doing.

  • funNactive

    I like either the original or a customized watch. Changing a current model to imitate an older version just decreases the value. If you want to change it, make it different. Personalized options.

  • cluedog12

    A quality legible chronograph with a premium chronograph movement. None of those fidgety screw-down pushers either. If this watch was $15,000 and released in strictly limited quantities by Rolex, collectors would beat down on one another for the privilege to to acquire one.

    Authenticity is more important than quality when the brand is Rolex, so ten per year is about right.

  • K.O

    While I’d love to see an automatic sapphire crystal, chronometer Paul Newman Daytona that isn’t a counterfeit; (like a modern replica of 6263 made by Rolex, much like how Omega made a replica of their own model) I cannot imagine anyone who’d want to turn their genuine 116520 into a none Newman 6263 imitation.

  • Ruangroj Poonpol

    I ordered Paul Newman Tribute number 19/26 for my special birthday on 19th and they said it would be available in 10 days but eventually it will take more than 1 month in BEST case and won’t make it on time for my birthday! They kept making mistake to the watch – first small error in my dial then wrong number in the back ( Can you believe that?) And they kept making apology…now I started to doubt the quality of the watch too…very disappointed with them who claim to be professional artisan/craftman…and especially at this price point

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