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Watch Review

Watch of the Week: The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500

Paul Altieri

Rolex debuted the highly anticipated Cosmograph Daytona ref. 116500 during Basel World 2016.  A highly sophisticated chronograph, the Daytona is equipped with every amenity one may need while partaking in the fast-paced world of motorsports.  While this model needs no introduction it is worth noting the numerous different features.  From a shock-resistant Rolex-made movement to a virtually impenetrable Oyster case, the Daytona is one of the most reliable timepieces on the market today.

Cosmograph Daytona 116500
The Cosmograph Daytona 116500 is one of the most popular chronographs at the moment.

A Ceramic Cosmograph Daytona 116500

While the Daytona has seen many upgrades in the 60+ years since its release, the ref. 116500 is the newest and one of the most highly regarded among Rolex aficionados, thanks to its classic style and impressive list of modern luxuries.  The Rolex 116500 is no exception to the brand’s tradition of top craftsmanship and meticulous quality in every detail.  As a newer 6-digit reference, the Ceramic Rolex Daytona ref. 116500 boasts a finish crafted from 904L stainless steel, an incredibly resilient and easy-to-polish metal.  Sapphire crystal is just as durable and boasts scratch-resistant properties.  While the steel finish and crystal protect the case from everyday wear, a Triplock screw-down crown with three sealed zones ensures that the sophisticated technology inside is protected from water damage and temperature variations.

Cosmograph Daytona 116500
The Rolex Daytona ref. 116500 is a stunning watch and is making noise all over the world.

Underneath the Hood

Speaking of technology, the Rolex Daytona 116500 utilizes a calibre 4130 perpetual movement; the first Daytona movement made entirely by Rolex. No review would be complete without mentioning the movement.  As a professional driver’s watch, it’s imperative that the movement within each Cosmograph Daytona works properly through every bump, vibration, and swerve on the racetrack.  That’s why Rolex equips the calibre 4130 with a Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring, creating an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day.  What’s more, is the calibre 4130 is also developed to accommodate a Cerachrom Tachymeter bezel and chronograph functions.

Cosmograph Daytona 116500
The Cosmograph Daytona 116500 is a keeper, be sure to add it to your collection.

And while this list of features may sound impressive, the real star of the show is the black Ceramic bezel, a feature that was designed by Rolex to allow the wearer to measure driving speeds of up to 400 kilometers per hour.  Every Daytona is topped with a Tachymeter bezel, however, the 6-digit men’s Rolex 116500 features a ceramic insert that is celebrated for its scratch-resistant finish.  As one of the first stainless steel Daytonas to offer a black bezel made from ceramic, it isn’t hard to see why it has become so popular among Rolex enthusiasts.

We’ve discussed the technical application of the Daytona, but what about actual wear-ability for collectors who don’t happen to be a driver at the 24 Hours of Daytona?  Just like many Rolex sports watches, the Daytona ref. 116500 utilizes a larger but still very wearable 40mm Oyster case that is paired with a sleek Oyster bracelet secured by a folding Oysterlock safety clasp.  Satin outer links and high-polish center links create dimension and luxurious style that is perfectly suitable for work, leisure, or motorsports.

When the Daytona 116500 first debuted in 2016, it was nearly impossible to get your hands one without adding your name to a long waitlist — we’re talking years.


Paul Altieri