As part of their novelties for the year, Rolex has released a new generation of gold Daytona chronographs at Baselworld 2017. And these are very different to any existing Rolex Daytona models. Rather than the traditional Oyster bracelet or leather straps that we’ve become accustomed to, these new gold Daytona watches come with the Oysterflex bracelet.
The Rolex Oysterflex Bracelet
Before we get to the watches themselves, let’s have a quick refresh of the Oysterflex bracelet. The Oysterflex made its debut in 2015 on the then-new Yacht-Master 40. It was Rolex’s first rubber-style strap, but of course, the brand does not refer to it as a rubber strap!
At the center of the Rolex-patented Oysterflex bracelet is a titanium and nickel metal alloy blade. That blade is then covered with a robust black elastomer coating, a.k.a. rubber. Now this rubber bracelet on the Daytona Chronograph, its only fitting to see the details in the bracelet. A particularly clever detail are the so-called “fins” underneath the bracelet. The fins leave some space between the bracelet and skin to allow for air circulation and comfort. The part metal, part rubber strap is then fitted with a gold Oysterlock safety clasp for optimal security. Furthermore, the clasp also boasts another Rolex patent—the Easylink extension system that permits the bracelet to increase by up to 5mm.
It’s interesting to note that the leather strap versions of the Daytona are no longer listed on the Rolex website—perhaps the Oysterflex models have taken their place.
The Three Versions of the New Rolex Daytona
Rolex presented three new versions of the Rolex Daytona with the Oysterflex: 18k white gold (ref. 116519 LN), 18k yellow gold (ref. 116518 LN), and 18k Everose gold (ref. 116515 LN). The decision to exclusively use gold rather than to include stainless steel certainly emphasizes the luxury component of these Daytona models.
The yellow gold Daytona ref. 116518 features a champagne dial with black registers while the white gold Daytona ref. 116519 has a steel dial with black registers. On the other hand, the Everose Daytona ref. 116515 offers plenty of dial options including black, pink, chocolate, and ivory.
The Oyster case size of the new Daytona remains the same at 40mm. Due to the Oyster case construction, Triplock screw-down winding crown, and fluted caseback, the Daytona is water resistant to 330 feet (100 meters). Moreover, the Oysterflex Daytona watches also have the black Cerachrom ceramic bezel, completing the model’s overall super sleek and sporty look.
Rolex Caliber 4130
Like all modern Daytona watches, the three new Oysterflex Daytona watches run on the famed Rolex Caliber 4130—an in-house automatic chronograph movement. In addition to the movement’s 72 hours of power reserve, as of 2015, all Rolex movements are accurate to +2/-2 seconds per day thanks to the redefined Superlative Chronometer certification. The chronograph hand is accurate to 1/8th of a second, while the 30-minute counter sits at 3 o’clock, the 12-hour counter sits at 9 o’clock, and the small-seconds counter sits at 6 o’clock.
There may be some debate within Rolex fandom about these new Oysterflex Daytona models, however, we think it’s a great addition Rolex’s assortment of chronographs. While certainly not a runaway hit like last year’s steel and ceramic Daytona ref. 116500LN, the new 2017 gold Daytona models with the Oysterflex bracelet fits nicely into the Rolex catalog. An appealing blend of ultra luxurious gold, rugged rubber, and the famous Daytona moniker. Although first spotted on the Yacht-Master 40, the Daytona might be better suited for this bracelet.
What do you think of the new Daytona models? Are you a fan of the Oysterflex bracelet?