The Rolex Daytona, the Crown’s emblematic chronograph since 1963, celebrated its sixtieth anniversary this yr. Over the many years, every thing has been stated and written about this trade icon… Every part, up till now. As a result of for the primary time in additional than 20 years, the Cosmograph Daytona undergoes a transversal replace. Case, dial, arms, motion: every thing has modified… Apart from the design, that continues to be very a lot the identical. And because the satan is within the particulars, because it was with the 2020 replace of the Submariner, let’s take a more in-depth have a look at the star of the present, the basic Rolex Daytona 126500LN with a metal case and white dial.
As a result of we’re going to have a look at the adjustments of the brand new Daytona in shut element, this text isn’t the house to rewrite the historical past of the Daytona once more. An unlimited quantity of literature on the topic is on the market off- and on-line. Nevertheless, a necessary a part of the historical past of the Rolex Daytona must be instructed once more. The Cosmograph Daytona, as we knew it up till 27 March 2023, was truly one of many oldest watches within the model’s catalogue. If you consider it, the final main replace on the Daytona, save for the introduction of a ceramic bezel on the metal mannequin in 2016, occurred in 2000, when the Crown barely redesigned the case, dial and bracelet and, most significantly, launched its in-house calibre 4130 – which remains to be, 23 years later, the most effective built-in chronograph actions available on the market. Many of the design parts of the earlier technology Daytona had been a delicate facelift of the 5-digit technology fashions – which had been launched in 1988 when Rolex launched the primary computerized motion (Zenith-based) within the assortment. So, all in all, the design was not essentially the most progressive, to say the least.
Has it modified? Nicely, not a lot. The brand new Rolex Daytona remains to be, by all means, a Daytona as we’ve come to understand it up to now 35 years. Or no less than, the brand new reference 126500LN may be very shut visually to the earlier reference 116500LN, which was nothing greater than a ceramic bezel and black rings on the dial added to a metal reference 116520. The key phrase at Rolex’s product growth staff remains to be evolution, not revolution. (P.S. This technique has lengthy been profitable and utilized to many different ranges, such because the Submariner… consistency is vital to the model’s desirability).
Nevertheless, as is commonly the case with Rolex, a brand new technology comes with lots of of refined (typically nearly imperceptible) updates and upgrades. The brand new Daytona is visually extraordinarily near the earlier technology, however the actuality is that nearly no elements of the habillage are shared. You might have definitely already observed the brand new bezel or the redesigned dial, and naturally, learn in our earlier article that the motion is now calibre 4131. However look intently, and also you’ll see that the case is totally different in form, the guards have been redesigned, the primary hyperlink of the bracelet is new, the bracelet itself has modified, and the arms and indexes have been reshaped. Certainly, it’s all about incremental adjustments, however these are in all places.
An Up to date Case & Bezel
Let’s begin with the fundamentals and have a look at the case of the brand new Daytona 126500LN. At first, one may assume that just about nothing has modified. Definitely, the watch remains to be 40mm in diameter. However look intently, and also you’ll see that your entire case has been discreetly redesigned. Whereas we’re on the subject of dimensions, it’s value mentioning that the thickness is now 11.9mm, which is about 0.5mm lower than the earlier technology. The Daytona has all the time been skinny amongst its friends – most fashionable computerized chronographs are 14mm or extra, particularly when outfitted with a vertical clutch. Rolex has carried out an ideal job right here.
Then there’s the precise form of the case. The up to date design of the brand new Rolex Daytona follows the identical guidelines as beforehand up to date collections. First, the lugs have been reshaped, with much less distinction between the left and proper sides – the 1165xx technology all the time had an asymmetrical case with the thinner proper lugs. This dissymmetry of the case has been decreased now. Nevertheless, opposite to the latest Submariner and Explorer II updates, Rolex hasn’t shaved the interior a part of the lugs, and the lug width remains to be 20mm. One other replace considerations the form of the crown guard, which is now longer and curved from high to backside, making it higher built-in throughout the general design. Minimal touches, however as soon as , you possibly can’t unsee the variations.
Trying on the profile of the brand new metal Daytona 126500LN (and, as a matter of truth, your entire 2023 assortment), the design can also be totally different, with lugs which have been reshaped and now level downwards. Whereas they was straight and pointy on the edge, the brand new lug design was made to enhance the ergonomics of the case. The floor of the flanks is now flatter than up to now, because the Daytona used to have rounded casebands. The again remains to be a basic fluted, screwed component in strong metal – the see-through sapphire again is unique to the platinum version. The crown screws down, the sapphire on high is flat however now has an anti-reflective coating, and, sadly for the practicality of the chronograph capabilities, the pushers are nonetheless screwed. Water-resistance is once more comfy at 100m.
Trying on the again, adjustments are seen on the newly formed finish hyperlinks. We’ll come again to that later within the article. The most important replace on the brand new Daytona, or no less than on all ceramic editions, considerations the bezel’s development. Up to now, the Daytona used to have a full-ceramic ring. Now, the bezel is edged with a skinny polished band of the identical metallic as the center case. Though Rolex mentions this modification as a mere design selection, including a metallic ring affords extra resistance to doable shocks since ceramic tends to shatter.
The bezel itself isn’t an insert however a strong component, and the metallic ring is a part of the case. It’s fascinating to notice that Rolex mentions that the design is a tribute to classic watches with bakelite inserts – and we all know that Rolex not often appears to be like again to the previous or admits to having retro-looking references. In addition to that, we nonetheless discover the identical moulded, recessed tachymeter scale on a black polished floor, with markers and numerals coated with a skinny layer of platinum by way of PVD. As for the appears to be like, this determination elicits combined emotions (I heard each side throughout the honest, this new development has its advocates and detractors).
All in all, it quantities to small touches in all places on the case and bezel. Some are nearly imperceptible; some are extra apparent. I do know that many will say that the replace is typical of Rolex and that just about nothing has modified. However trying intently at this new 126500LN, you’ll see that there are a number of variations. It feels a bit extra slender, a bit sharper, a bit extra fashionable… And sure, this skinny 40mm watch remains to be probably the most comfy computerized chronographs available on the market.
A Extra Refined Dial
Along with the newly designed bezel, the up to date dial is the second most evident change on the 2023 Rolex Daytona. Then once more, it’s not a revolution, and the facelift has been carried out with mild touches. First, be aware that the metal Daytona 126500LN remains to be accessible in two editions, one with a black dial and silver rings and essentially the most coveted of all, the white lacquered dial with black rings (photographed right here).
The adjustments on the dial primarily concern the arms/markers and the sub-dials. Each have been contracted to deliver a extra fashionable, sleeker look with out compromising legibility and distinction. The sharp hour markers at the moment are smaller, much better outlined than up to now and have a thinner metallic ring, providing extra space for the luminous Chromalight insert inside. The arms, nonetheless combining a black lacquered band and a luminous insert, are additionally barely thinner to stay in keeping with the remainder of the dial.
One other change considerations the contrasting rings surrounding the sub-dials, which have been resized. The exterior diameter stays similar; nevertheless, the inner diameter has been elevated, making the black textured component thinner. This, along with the smaller utilized markers, brings extra air to the dial, and the brand new graphics really feel extra harmonious.
Some minor particulars to contemplate are the small Coronet at 6 o’clock, indicating a new-generation motion, barely thinner fonts throughout, however no adjustments concerning the copious literature at 12 o’clock (5 strains… Please Rolex, transfer that Superlative Chronometer Formally Licensed point out to the caseback), the place of the counters (nonetheless barely greater than the central axle) or the crimson Daytona point out above the small seconds counter.
A Barely Redesigned bracelet
As for the bracelet, it’s all about very small particulars. The brand new Daytona 126500LN comes on a basic 3-link Oyster bracelet in Oystersteel, with satin-finished outer hyperlinks and polished centre hyperlinks (bracelet reference 78HA00). It’s closed by an Oysterlock folding security clasp with an Easylink consolation extension hyperlink (with about 5mm of adjustment).
Whereas it nonetheless measures 20mm between the lugs, the bracelet, or no less than the tip hyperlinks, appears to have a barely up to date profile. It isn’t apparent, however the finish hyperlink felt a tad shorter to me than up to now, and the central component is much less protruding and factors downwards for improved ergonomics. As all the time with Rolex, the development and luxury of the bracelet/clasp are excellent.
The New Calibre 4131
Whereas the motion is seen on the caseback of the platinum version, the mechanical replace is hidden within the metal Daytona 126500LN (and gold fashions). The brand new model of the Cosmograph comes with calibre 4131. Once more, an evolution greater than a revolution, this new motion advantages from the newest applied sciences of the Crown, together with its patented Chronergy escapement with its environment friendly geometry. Product of nickel-phosphorus, this escapement is immune to magnetic fields and is mixed with a blue Parachrom hairspring created from a paramagnetic alloy. It’s outfitted with a Rolex overcoil, and the oscillator is mounted on Paraflex shock absorbers.
In any other case, the structure is similar, with a column wheel and vertical clutch mixture, computerized winding with a newly designed rotor on an (upgraded) ball bearing, and a single barrel able to storing 72h of energy reserve. And even when it’s hidden beneath a strong again, calibre 4131 has a brand new, extra refined ornament with Rolex Côtes de Genève, which differs from conventional Côtes de Genève with the addition of a barely polished groove between every band (the sapphire again ought to be customary on your entire assortment). The motion is, in fact, Superlative Chronometer licensed (each by the COSC after which by Rolex after casing) with an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds/day.
My Tackle the New Daytona 126500LN
The brand new metal Daytona 126500LN is a case examine of evolution with out revolution. It’s the iPhone or 911 of the watch trade. Whereas nearly every thing has modified, nearly not one of the evolutions are perceptible at first sight. This technique will, as all the time, have its detractors. However this consistency can also be a big a part of the model’s success. That being stated, the brand new Daytona comes with a number of very fascinating upgrades.
I personally assume that the brand new dial, with its extra refined markers and thinner rings, actually rejuvenates the fashion of the Daytona – the dial of the older technology now appears to be like dated. Sleeker, extra fashionable, extra aerial, it feels much more luxurious, too, in a pleasing manner. Generally much less is extra. The updates on the case are minimal, however then once more, a comparability between the outdated technology and the brand new mannequin reveals the improve in magnificence and modernity. The work carried out to enhance the ergonomics (case thinness and bracelet) is undeniably a plus, and the revised motion can also be appreciated – despite the fact that I had no complaints concerning the calibre 4130.
The brand new framed bezel is the one component that continues to be questionable. I’m nonetheless not solely certain if I adore it or if it’s a bit overdone. We debated this subject among the many MONO staff members greater than as soon as throughout the honest, and I do know that our personal founder Frank prefers the outdated one. On my facet, I don’t have a transparent place but. Lastly, what I disliked within the earlier technology hasn’t been corrected – the screwed pushers and the loopy quantity of textual content on the dial are nonetheless there.
(Non)Availability & Value
The brand new Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 126500LN in Oystersteel is now a part of the everlasting assortment; the older technology has been formally discontinued. This new mannequin is priced at EUR 14,950 (300 euros greater than the 116500LN in early 2023). And as for the flexibility to get one at retail value, the state of affairs received’t change in a single day as a result of there’s a brand new reference. It’s nonetheless a unicorn that’s nearly unattainable to get. Even when Rolex is growing its manufacturing, and plans have been launched for the opening of a brand new manufacture in Bulle (scheduled for 2029), the metal Daytona has lengthy been among the many most sought-after watches available on the market. And the brand new 126500LN shouldn’t be going to vary this… sadly!
Extra particulars at rolex.com.
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