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Watch of the Week: Rolex Daytona 116500LN

April 30, 2018

BY Paul Altieri


Two years have passed since Rolex debuted the stainless steel and ceramic Daytona 116500LN at Baselworld 2016, yet it remains an impossible-to-get luxury chronograph. What makes the Rolex Daytona 116500 so special and sought-after? Let’s find out.

The Long-Awaited Launch of the Daytona 116500LN

Rolex has a knack for keeping its legion of fans on its toes. Sometimes, the brand releases spectacular models such as GMT-Master II ref. 116719 BLRO with the iconic “Pepsi” bezel, but because of its white gold construction, it’s out of reach for most. Sometimes, the brand introduces something surprising like the completely redesigned Air-King ref. 116900. And sometimes, the brand launches the exact model that devotees have been asking for—the Daytona ref. 116500.

While the Submariner, GMT-Master II, and Sea-Dweller collections already offered stainless steel models with ceramic bezels, prior to 2016, the Daytona range had yet to include one. What the Daytona lineup had were precious metal models (in gold or platinum) with ceramic bezels or stainless steel models with metal bezels. So when Rolex finally presented a new stainless steel Daytona with a ceramic bezel, to say that it was met with excitement is a gross understatement.  

The Rolex Daytona 116500LN

The Rolex Daytona 116500LN

The Design of the Daytona 116500LN

The new steel Daytona retains familiar design traits of Rolex’s signature chronograph such as the 40mm Oyster case, screw-down chronograph pushers, and screw-down winding crown. There’s also the customary steel Oyster bracelet and the usual three registers on the dial in the 3 o’clock, 6 ‘clock, and 9 o’clock position.

What is new to the Daytona 116500LN is of course is the black Cerachrom ceramic bezel, engraved with the tachymeter scale to use in conjunction with the chronograph hand to time elapsed events. In fact, “LN” in the watch’s reference number is an abbreviation for “lunette noir,” French for black bezel. Cerachrom is Rolex’s patented colored ceramic alloy that promises to be both scratch resistant and fade resistant. The black bezel lends a certain vintage feel to the modern Daytona, almost mimicking the style of the vintage Daytona 6263.

In true steel Daytona fashion, there are only two dial colors to choose from, black or white, with the latter often referred to as a “Panda” dial for obvious reasons. Each dial color has its own fan base, but frankly, if you’re lucky enough to have either, you’re already way ahead of the game. As expected, the demand for the Daytona ref. 116500 surged the minute Rolex officially unveiled their newest steel chronograph and the waitlists have not gotten any shorter since.

Powering the Daytona ref. 116500 is the ever-reliable in-house Caliber 4130 with 72 hours of power reserve. Furthermore, since Rolex redefined their “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” designation a year earlier before the launch of the Daytona ref. 116500, all of the ceramic and steel Daytona watches boast an accuracy rating of -2/+2 seconds a day. The Daytona is water resistant to the Rolex-standard of 100m (330 feet).

While the words “legendary”, “iconic”, and “coveted” are often used excessively when describing new luxury watches, the Rolex Daytona ref. 116500LN wears those labels loudly and proudly.

What do you think about the ceramic and steel Daytona ref. 116500LN? Do you think this watch deserves all the hype? Sound off in our comments section below.



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