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The Rolex Daytona Evolution

There are different views to what the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona stands for. One of the most popular views on this timepiece is that it is a subtle classic timepiece. If not all of the models, at least the steel-on-steel reference 116500LN represents that.

As far back as 1963, the story of the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph began. Reference 6239 was the first Cosmograph ever made. At the time, any watchmaking company without the chronographs category in its portfolio had something missing. Despite that level of importance, the ref. 6239 Cosmograph still struggled for sales.

As the decades passed, a lot changed about the watch. In some areas, it changed a lot, and in other ways, it didn’t change at all. From Rolex Daytona ref. 6239 to the latest 116500 models, the continuity in the design is still very obvious. This continuity is a pedigree only Rolex can boast of with most of their collections.

Nevertheless, the Rolex Daytona has witnessed several huge, incredible changes over the last five decades. In the area of the watch’s technology, the evolution is huge. Thanks to this, the latest version of the Rolex Daytona, Rolex Daytona 116500, is one huge step-up. This watch edition is the most advanced of them all by a clear margin.

Present-Day Rolex Daytona

The sophistication of the present-day Rolex Daytona is huge. The attention it enjoys presently is great, making it the product to desire.

The demand for this timepiece is quite high. Presently, a retail purchase from an authorized dealer needs a lot from your end as the buyer. It is either a great deal of patience or a strong and cordial relationship. You might even need both. And to buy a pre-owned model will be a luxurious purchase for most people.

This rarity and huge purchase requirement can get quite fascinating. The urge to get one of these timepieces increases immensely when one feels the level of difficulty ahead. This difficulty can easily boost the desire even further.

How about the collectability of these classic Rolex Daytona watches?

If you are a new lover of vintage watches, you will discover something pretty soon. That only those with a high purchasing power can collect these Daytona watches. The absence of this purchasing power makes it practically impossible for you to collect this watch.

Meanwhile, you must understand that you might not be impressed the first time you spot a Rolex Daytona wristwatch. The first few times might even discourage you, and the hype would seem like it; just hype.

Well, for a stainless-steel Swiss chronograph like this one, you might not see the evolution and the advancement at once. Nevertheless, this wristwatch boasts a level of growth that not many vintage timepieces can boast of.

Introducing The Rolex Daytona Cosmograph 116500

Therefore, how did the Daytona 116500 become what the grand and sleek timepiece it is today?

Plus, what is the link between this watch’s evolution and its newly-found acceptance?

Most importantly, is this wristwatch worth the hype?

These questions and any more will be answered in this review article. Having seen the production of different versions of this piece, we should pay attention to the latest edition. Hence, in this review, we will consider the steel-on-steel reference 116500 Rolex Daytona wristwatch.

For most people, the Daytona Cosmograph 116500 is the perfect timepiece. It is simply the right, iconic wristwatch for every lover of watches. This is as it displays a flawless combination of the new and old.

So, for the most desired watch since its release, a comprehensive review of this vintage timepiece is quite a task. Figuring out where to begin this review is the most challenging part of it all. Particularly, it is difficult to be objective about a watch with intense speculations and scrutiny over time.

The Rolex Daytona Cosmograph 116500 Review

The Rolex Daytona Cosmograph enjoyed several years of fame. Along the line, most of the famous models welcomed newer versions and left the scene. Most of the newer editions changed a few aesthetics that you might even miss out on if you’re not observant.

Here, we will review the latest version of this piece. Check out the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500. What makes this timepiece the go-to stainless steel watch with its persistent black dial? Keep reading to find out.

In this extensive review, we will examine this watch feature by feature. That way, it is easier to read and understand the intricacies of this timepiece. Dive in!

The Bezel

The black ceramic “Cerachrom” bezel is what majorly sets this model apart from the rest. This new bezel comes with several desirable perks. Some of them are:

  • Highly scratch-resistant
  • No color fading effect from UV rays
  • A bigger dial compared to its former version
  • Not subject to corrosion

The former editions had polished stainless-steel bezels. But, the Daytona 116500 is now a black bezel that passes of that bigger dial impression.

Again, the design of this bezel witnessed a few changes itself. The first area is the bezel’s typeface. With this latest edition, the typeface of the bezel layout sits comfortably on the engraved tachymeter scale. It now adds additional legibility. Plus, it is bolder. The typeface comes with a platinum PVD fill as well.

For the tachometer, you do not have dots under the numerals anymore. You now have triangles displayed under the numerals instead.

Still, on the tachometer, the numerals now revolve around the bezel. The display of the numerals is no longer horizontal as it used to be in prior editions. The redesign of this wristwatch shows a good deal of careful thoughts. Certainly, this is why Rolex Daytona lovers all over the world accepted this version with cheers.

The Case

·         Thick and Quality Oyster Case

The case of the Rolex Daytona 116500 comes in an oyster case of 40mm by 12.4mm thickness. It is made with the corrosion-resistant Rolex’s superalloy, referred to as the 904L steel. This steel is distinguished due to how it holds in its polish compared to other regular stainless-steel watches.

Certainly, the 904L steel is in no way the strongest steel alloy ever made in wristwatch history. Yet, the luster that comes with this beats every other steel making it the ideal material for a Rolex timepiece to man,

This expensive steel type is above the level of other watchmakers. Hence, they prefer to have their cases made externally. But for Rolex, being a lover of components produced in-house, this is not only ideal. This steel is a level of advantage over other watchmakers.

·         A Waterproof Case

If you do not know, the Oyster case is the world’s first waterproof case. Over time, this oyster case gradually became a Rolex trademark. As a patented case, Rolex flaunts it as their most notable exclusive feature. Since its introduction in 1926, this case remains a big name.

This casing operates as a system that locks and holds firm the monobloc middle case using a screw-down bezel, a screw-down crown, and a screw-down case back. Thanks to this “Trip lock” locking system, this wristwatch’s case is protected against water. It is a perfect submarine product with the least water-resistance rating set at 100 meters or 300ft.

This Oyster case might be a familiar figure on virtually every non-chronograph Rolex sports watch edition. Yet, the Daytona comes with an addition of the screw-down sleeves. These screw-down sleeves aid the pushers with the stopwatch procedure.

The Dial

The dial is one part of this wristwatch that saw no changes from the last model. Actually, would a change be necessary?

·         Flawless Design

The design of the dial was flawless. The dial left nothing else to be desired. The Cosmograph Daytona chronograph was perhaps the most prominent chronograph. And, this fame is all thanks to its outstanding dial design.

·         Hours Pointers Made of Polished Steel

First are the hour pointers made from polished steel. Then, there is the glowing fill to the right amount. None of these terrific perks changed in the new version of this timepiece.

·         Easy to Read Chroma light Display

Again, the display of an easy-to-read Chroma light is still present. This glow-in-the-dark display is a product of the enduring luminescent material producing a blue color shade. Similar to any other Rolex Daytona chronograph, the name DAYTONA appears in red print. It is then wrapped around the crest of the little running seconds found at the 6 o’clock angle.

The Sub-dials

Judging based on the aesthetics of the sub-dials, no changes can be seen in the newer model of this wristwatch. The sub-registers on the dial still retain the silver rim. The sub-dial right at the bottom center (the 6 o’clock position) still features a tiny running second sub-dial.

On the left and right of the sub-dial (at the 9 and 3 o’clock position), the sub-registers remain in use in this chronograph.

The Chronograph

This is one feature that adds to the functions of this classic timepiece. Essentially, it is a stopwatch that equips drivers with the additional ease of timing their laps with an accuracy of up to an eighth of a second.

The Daytona Cosmograph employs a mechanical chronograph complication developed to possess limited parts compared to other regular chronographs. Furthermore, this feature makes the watch a more reliable stopwatch. The watch comes with a column-wheel chronograph. Also, it uses a vertical clutch device with a sleeker reset, start, and stop action. This is different from standard CAM actuated mechanisms.

The huge second hand right at the center of the chronograph revolves through the dial with ease. The ease is similar to the steady motion most Rolex are known for.

There is a 30-minute sub-dial counter on the right of the dial at the 3 o’clock position. While on the other side of the dial, at the 9 o’clock position, there is a 12-hour sub-dial counter. The chronograph pushers are responsible for the steady motion of these three hands.

Note: The chronograph pushers are the controls placed on the right flank of the case, above and under the winding crown.

The Movement

The Rolex Daytona 116500 is powered by Rolex’s in-house caliber 4130 self-winding movements. This movement features the brand’s stop-seconds function for accurate time setting. Similarly, it features the magnetic-resistant blue ‘Parachrom’ hairspring.

·         An Automatic Movement

Excitingly, the 4130-caliber chronograph movement is an automatic tool. All it needs to keep itself wound is your kinetic energy. With that alone, it can fasten the mainspring with the help of a rotor. So, for as long as your hands keep moving throughout the day, this movement will remain wounded.

In a case where your movement all day is limited, the winding crown comes in to fill the space. It simply helps to fasten the spring manually. Even when the winding is at its fullest, the movement keeps the watch powered for long enough. It can go on for at least 66 hours and at most 72 hours using the chronograph function.

·         COSC Certified Movement

In addition, the Caliber 4130 is a movement certified by the COSC. What that reflects is how the watch boasts a credible Chronometer designation. Likewise, this is a testament to the watch’s immense accuracy and reliability. The wristwatch comes with an utmost -4/+6 seconds deviation daily.

By virtue of the certificate issued by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute issues, the caliber is now a step further. Now, it has a chronometer identification. Then, it goes back to Rolex’s in-house production unit for additional testing.  This testing goes on until a Superlative chronometer identification is issued.

The Bracelet

Three-piece oyster steel links make up the Rolex’s Oyster bracelet. The two oyster steel links on the exterior feature a brushed texture. And, for the link at the center, the texture is a wonderful polished one.

The links featured on both ends of the bracelet are attached to the shiny lugs on the case. Therefore, on a profile view, you will notice how the finishing switches from polished to brushed. Then, it goes back to the polished finish for the steel link at the center.


In all, the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph 116500 is not like any regular wristwatch. As a blend of the vintage and the modern, it features quite many advancements to pass as a classic.

This timepiece is a good buy for every lover of modest and functional watches. As a limited edition, purchasing this watch from the right place is essential, judging by its rarity.


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