The Rolex way is to introduce small changes every year, and the new version of the classic Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is no exception. The watch has a long history: it was first introduced in 1963. This year’s major difference with respect to the 2015 all-steel Daytona is the black Cerachrom bezel, which is tough, smart, and has a tachymeter scale whose legibility is enhanced by a thin layer of PVD platinum on the markings.
The dial is in two versions, black or white, and on the white dial version, the subdials now have a black outer ring. The dial layout is excellent, with a seconds chapter-ring with quarter-second subdivisions running right around the edge of the dial, undisturbed by the white gold applique hour markers with their Chromalight luminous coating.The legible, functional subdials are for chronograph minutes and hours, and continuous seconds. Hour and minute hands are in white gold, with Chromalight coating.
Case and pushers
The case is 40 mm in diameter, in 904L steel. The distinctive crown guard between crown and pushers is part of the middle case. The watch has an Oyster bracelet with a 5 mm comfort link. The Oysterlock safety clasp prevents accidental opening. The case is water-resistant to 100 metres, with screw-down caseback. Crown and pushers are also screw-down. More specifically, the screw-down pushers were introduced in 1965 to provide a method of ensuring that the pushers can’t be activated underwater, which would increase the risk of water penetration. The pushers provide a great tactile feel during operation, without the excessive hardness that is typical of cheaper lever-operated chronograph movements, but with sufficient click tension to provide the right feedback to the user. The only downside to the screw-down pushers is having to unscrew them before using the chronograph. Of course, you can leave them safely unscrewed as long as you’re not taking the watch underwater, but I would reckon that someone paying over €11,000 for a watch will want to maximize protection and so will keep the pushers screwed down.
Calibre 4130 movement
The movement is the calibre 4130, designed and built in-house, first introduced in 2000. It is a prestigious chronograph movement with column-wheel and vertical clutch. It is tested both by COSC and with the Rolex Superlative Chronometer testing system, that gives it a precision tolerance of +2/-2 seconds per day. It has a Parachrom anti-magnetic hairspring and the Rolex overcoil that ensures precision whatever the position of the watch. It runs at 28,800 vibrations per hour, 4 Hertz, and so the chronograph can measure events to a precision of an eighth of a second. It is self-winding, with a generous power reserve of about 72 hours. The movement has the stop-seconds function for accurate time-setting.
When designing the calibre 4130, the Rolex engineers thought about maintenance as well as performance. Its vertical clutch, differently to many vertical clutch assemblies used by other brands, is accessible and serviceable. The movement has a reduced number of components, and screws have been standardized down to just 12 different screw types.
Reference and price
The Cosmograph Daytona with white dial, reference 116500 LN, costs €11, 550, £8,250. The version with black dial has the same price. Not surprisingly, this is a watch with a waiting list. A version in yellow gold, reference 116508, costs €32,300.