The annual Baselworld show will always have watch aficionados discussing what manufacturers may have in store for them, and Rolex are undeniably on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Recent years have seen growing speculation about a new Rolex Daytona chronograph model finally getting announced, and now that wait is finally over.
While not initially popular upon its release, the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, or simply Daytona, has now reached legendary status among watch enthusiasts and collectors. First released in 1963 as a watch perfect for racing, it became an iconic timepiece used amongst motorsport professionals thanks to its incredible performance and chronograph function.
Re-launches saw it become and updated piece for the modern collector, with the 40mm wristwatch now featuring an automatic movement and sapphire glass back. These models continued to remain elusive however, as the popularity of the Daytona continued over the years.
It has been almost 16 years since the most recent steel Daytona was released, and many have been clamouring for an upgraded model to feature a new ceramic bezel since it was first featured on the Platinum Daytona anniversary edition in 2013.
Now the new Daytona comes with just that, as well as a new model number (116500LN) and is available with either a black or white dial. The calibre remains the same 4130 of the previous iteration, as does the oyster casing and bracelet. While this may not appear like much, fans of Rolex know just how big this announcement is, and these new models will certainly be hard to come by – expect some long waiting lists in any case!
Back to main feature, which is unquestionably the new ceramic cerachrom bezel with a tachymetric scale. This type of bezel isn’t anything new to several watch models, but will be a first for the steel Daytona range and will prove to be massively popular.
For one it is incredibly durable, with the ceramic used being virtually scratch-proof and resistant to UV damage. The digits for the bezel are embedded with a platinum coating to help ensure their longevity too, ensuring that the aesthetics of this new Daytona will remain spotless and damage-free for life.
The black dial models will feature the same silver sub dials around the chronograph dials as previous models, whereas the white dial features black dials instead. Both help to create that beautiful dial-design that has become a hallmark for the Daytona. Other than that, the dials remain almost unchanged from their predecessors, which certainly isn’t an issue given how popular the Daytona has been.
As the oyster case remains, there isn’t much to note about the case. It features the same robustness as the previous models, with the case being constructed from 904L stainless steel. The bracelet is unchanged too, consisting of the oyster design from previous steel Daytona’s, including satined external links and polished central links. An Oysterlock clasp is present for fastening, which also has an easylink extender for adjustments.
As the bezel holds the crystal in place, the model is again water resistant to a depth of 100 metres.
The Daytona still has the 4139 calibre of the previous models. This self-winding movement has been made entirely in-house by Rolex and provides power reserves for up to 72 hours. What has changed in regards to this is how Rolex tests this calibre.
Since 2015 Rolex unveiled a new Superlative Chronometer certification, which happened to be more of an upgrade of the COSC certification rather than just replacing it. These tests are done entirely in-house by Rolex and are done using strict criteria (which happen to be stricter than most others too) to help ensure it performs to the highest possible standards.
This results in the new Daytona being in the order of -2/+2 seconds per day, which is incredible for a chronometer and just goes to show the high level of craftsmanship that has gone into the latest Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona.
These are guaranteed to sell fast, and with a price of £8,250 (€11,300), there’s no telling just how long they will be available for – although no release date has been announce yet!