On the occasion of the model’s 60th anniversary, Rolex revamped the Cosmograph Daytona collection earlier this year. The update included a range of aesthetical updates, most of them quite subtle as always, and tweaked the mechanical side of things as well. We’ve already gone in-depth with the 126500LN, the classic Oystersteel with white dial and we’re the first to show you the special 126529LN for the 100th anniversary of the famous Le Mans 24-hour race, but we haven’t had the chance to put all different materials side by side. Until today that is, as we will take a look at every available material in the current collection, from Oystersteel to platinum.
I am not going to bore you with the entire history of the iconic Daytona, or listing all the small differences between this and the previous generation. I’m sure most of you are very familiar with the collection’s background and what sets the 1265** generation apart from the outgoing 1165** generation. If not, I happily invite you to check out our archive, and the details of the 2023 collection in the story we did upon the launch at Watches & Wonders this year.
Now that’s out the way, let’s start with something very simple. There are six different material combinations in the current collection, ranging from stainless steel to platinum. The architecture for each one is identical of course, coming in at 40mm in diameter and 11.90mm in height. It’s operated with the Triplock screw-down crown, flanked by a pair of screwed chronograph pushers. The most notable change on the exterior is the inclusion of a metallic band surrounding the Cerachrom bezel (not present on the full-gold models).
Hands-down the most popular model is the Oystersteel reference 126500LN, available with a white dial and black rings around the subdials, or vice versa. This is the classic go-to style of the Daytona, especially with the white dial. The small lip around the bezel makes a world of difference visually, and combined with the black dial gives the white one a proper run for its money to me. But, not to digress too much, that’s something for another time perhaps. Then there’s the two-tone Rolesor model, ref. 126503, which has a solid yellow-gold bezel, crown and pushers. The dial is either white or yellow-gold, or alternatively in black with two different configurations available. The popularity of two-tone steel and gold watches is on the rise as of late, and Rolex of course has a long history in this genre.
Next up are the full-gold variations, in either yellow, white or Everose gold, references 126508, 126509 and 126505. This is perhaps the most versatile set of Daytona’s as they come in a few different dial configurations. Also, not to be overlooked, it’s topped with either a full gold bezel (white, yellow, or rose of course) or a black Cerachrom one. Do keep in mind that if you want a black bezel, this automatically means you get the black Oysterflex strap instead of the Oyster bracelet. The reference numbers are 126515LN for Everose, 126518LN for yellow-gold and 126519LN for white gold. Another speciality in the full-gold sub-collection of the Daytona is the aforementioned 126529LN to celebrate 100 years of Le Mans, with a white gold case, Cerachrom bezel and black dial.
Last but certainly not least, is the full platinum version of the Rolex Daytona, ref. 126506, a watch that comes with a few unique surprises not available on either of the other materials. Starting on the outside, the Cerachrom bezel is now brown instead of black, but it does have the metallic band on the outer edge that’s new to the 1265** generation. The dial is finished in a glossy, sunray-brushed ice-blue, a colour that’s exclusive to platinum when it comes to Rolex watches. If you want, you can also have baguette-cut diamonds as hour markers. To match the brown Cerachrom bezel, the rings surrounding the subdial are also finished in brown. The biggest surprise though, can be seen when you flip over the watch, as this is the first and (so far) only Daytona to come with a sapphire crystal caseback.
Inside the steel, two-tone, full gold or platinum case beats the Calibre 4131 in-house automatic chronograph. An evolution of the Calibre 4130, this now has the patented Chronergy escapement and a blued Parachrom hairspring. The frequency and power reserve are the same, as it beats at a rate of 28,800vph and has a running time of 72 hours. The finishing has been updated as well, although you can only see that on the platinum variant. The platinum ref. 126506 is also the only one to receive a yellow-gold rotor. The bridges are finished with Rolex Côtes de Genève, which has a polished groove between each band.
All are fitted to the Oyster bracelet, yet come in case-corresponding materials of course. So Oystersteel on Oystersteel, Everose on Everose, platinum on platinum and so on. Each one comes with the Oysterlock folding safety clasp and the Easylink comfort extension system. The only exceptions are the full-gold versions of the Daytona, which can also be worn on the super comfy black Oysterflex rubber bracelet. Prices range from EUR 15,100 in Oystersteel, EUR 19,500 in two-tone Rolesor, EUR 32,100 in full gold on Oysterflex to EUR 42,400 in full gold on Oysterbracelet. Dials with diamond hour markers push these prices up a bit further. The price for the platinum version of the Daytona is available upon request only. The white gold special (not limited!) edition for the centennial of the Le Mans endurance race comes at a price of EUR 42,407 before taxes.
Availability of the Rolex Daytona is still limited, even though they’re not limited by number. However, it’s a given that the demand still far outweighs the supply, even though the market took a big dip recently. Regardless, with the update the Rolex Daytona received this year, it is ready for a new stint of active duty for The Crown!
For more information, please visit Rolex.com