This yr at Watches and Wonders 2023, Rolex as soon as once more broke the watch world with a brand new Daytona launch. Being the sixtieth anniversary of the watch’s authentic launch, this actually doesn’t shock anybody. Likewise, the relatively incremental adjustments that Rolex made have been no nice shock, as a result of Rolex is an incremental behemoth of a model, not inclined to make drastic adjustments. As an alternative, the model prefers to regularly shift its fashions throughout quite a few iterations to get them the place it needs them (or abandon them altogether, prefer it did with the Milgauss and Cellini this yr). Whereas that is one other yr of incremental adjustments for the Daytona, they’re extra substantial than the 2016 replace. We obtained an opportunity to go hands-on with two of the brand new Rolex Cosmograph Daytonas on the present, the platinum reference 126506 and the metal and yellow gold reference 126503.
Whereas the fast aesthetics of the Daytona are unchanged, we all know, in fact, that the satan is within the particulars. The 40mm case diameter has remained the identical, however the lugs have been barely enlarged with the aim of creating the watch really feel a bit extra trendy. This struck me as ironic since watches are trending smaller, not bigger. Relaxation assured that the Daytona nonetheless wears extremely nicely: It’s, has been, and sure will proceed to be one of many best-wearing chronographs in the marketplace.
However there’s one other change that, together with the lug enhancement, does make the watch seem a bit bigger. With the 2016 revision, the Daytona obtained a Cerachrom bezel that took up the complete bezel space, giving it a dramatically vast look and making the dial appear a bit smaller than it really was. Now, on fashions with the Cerachrom bezel, a small polished ring has been positioned across the insert. It thins out the bezel a bit and consequently makes the dial a bit extra distinguished, whereas additionally having a recessed look (regardless that it’s flush), which makes the complete case extra current round it. Once more, the bodily really feel of the watch has not modified, however the adjustments to the lugs and the bezel create a really barely bigger look on the wrist.
On the fashions with treasured steel bezels, the sting is solely polished (in lieu of some awkward contrasting ring). Exterior of these case adjustments, the fashions stay the identical because the earlier iterations. The screw-down Triplock crown and screw-down pushers guarantee 100m water resistance, although I’ve all the time loved the look of the Daytona (and any chrono with screw-down pushers) with the pushers unscrewed. Possibly that’s simply me.
One other change that ties the watch collectively a bit extra is that the etched scale on the bezel of the platinum and black-and-gold fashions function PVD platinum or gold fill to match the circumstances—it’s a refined change that you could be not discover, however, while you do, provides a pleasant cohesiveness to the watch. The sapphire crystal and bracelets are additionally unchanged, with the previous having AR coating and the latter that includes the very handy and easy-to-use Easylink extension mechanism.
One factor to say is that the platinum model is a heavy watch. You are feeling the burden instantly; I obtained used to it shortly, however as soon as it was again off, I felt a lightness that was virtually jarring. Shifting to a different mannequin, just like the two-tone 18k yellow gold and metal one seen right here, was simply as startling. Simply don’t swap from the platinum Daytona to the new titanium Yacht-Grasp and you have to be okay.
The unlikely mixture of brown and ice blue on the platinum 126506—first seen 10 years in the past when it debuted for the mannequin’s Fiftieth anniversary—is completely fantastic in individual. You don’t suppose it’s going to work, and perhaps it shouldn’t, however it does. The distinction between heat and chilly presents a chromatic steadiness that surprises and pleases. As for the two-tone 126503, it’s frankly simply not my jam. Pretty watch and all, however the white and metal and yellow gold is a bit shiny and 90s for me. If I’m going gold, I’m going yellow on yellow on yellow.
Anyway, the dials. Just like the case, the dials at a look appear the identical, however there’s instantly a extra spacious, dare I say lighter really feel to them. Rolex has made small changes to the markers to make them longer and thinner, eliminating the admittedly stubby indices that graced the earlier technology (although they nonetheless function the model’s shiny Chromalight lume). Additional refreshing the dial, the chronograph registers’ rings have been thinned out. I feel for individuals accustomed to the coziness (it was by no means cluttered, however the thicker markers and rings made it really feel fuller) of the previous Daytonas, this open dial can look a bit off. That was the sentiment of some of my colleagues (virtually all of whom are higher versed in Rolex than I), however in my opinion, I’m a fan of the brand new dials (principally owing to not loving the chubby markers on the previous dials).
Did you actually suppose I’d not point out the largest change of all? The platinum 126506 Daytona now options—for the primary time in a Rolex sports activities watch—a show caseback. Virtually talking, this isn’t vital. You aren’t going to see it on wrist, and the motion frankly isn’t spectacular sufficient to gawk at. After I had the watch in hand, the caseback was extra outstanding for it being the primary time it was achieved than for every other motive. Consider, Rolex is very late to this sport. Nonetheless, the caseback can also be not all about capturing a development and people-pleasing (the latter of which Rolex is laughably dangerous at). A stable platinum caseback could be very costly, and people potential financial savings, plus an opportunity to create a watch nerd frenzy, possible proved too tempting for the model. Persons are going to be irrationally enthusiastic about this. (If it wasn’t clear, the opposite fashions have the identical stable casebacks as ever.)
Trying via the caseback, as I discussed, isn’t that a lot of a present, however it’s a bit higher than you’ll’ve gotten from the previous technology of Daytonas. That’s as a result of the present technology options the up to date caliber 4131 automated chronograph motion. This new caliber, just like the watches it powers, is an evolution, not a revolution. The specs are an identical—28,800 vph with 72 hours energy reserve—and it nonetheless has all of the Rolex bells and whistles, together with the Chronergy escapement, Paraflex antishock system, and blue Parachrom hairspring. It’s also nonetheless a Superlative Chronometer, licensed not simply by COSC, however by Rolex’ stringent in-house testing to -2/+2 seconds per day. However incremental updates imply it makes use of fewer parts than the 4130, which interprets to higher reliability (fewer issues to interrupt).
The most important updates made to the 4130, although, are beauty and serve to learn the caseback ogler: a cutout 18k gold oscillating weight (the 4130’s was metal and stable) and a brand new model of striping the model is asking “Rolex Côtes de Genève,” which sees slender, polished bands added between the normal stripes. They are often onerous to see in photos and, to be sincere, they have been onerous to see in individual, counting on the sunshine as they do.
Minor as a lot of the updates could also be, I discovered myself feeling just like the Daytona had been rejuvenated — prefer it’s had a spa day and is glowing brighter than ever. The added shine of the ring across the bezel and the airiness of the dial merely deliver a renewed vitality to the mannequin. Change is tough, however this replace appears a bit extra worthwhile than the final spherical. Plus, there’s that show caseback, when you go for that sort of factor. The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona reference 126503 two-tone is priced at $19,500 USD, whereas pricing for the platinum reference 126506 is on request (10 years in the past, the Fiftieth-anniversary version retailed for $75,000, so I’d anticipate it to be above that). Price of entry to the mannequin is now set at $15,100 USD for the metal variant. For extra info, please go to the model’s web site.
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