In a timely unveiling, Rolex has revealed a new Daytona – on the expression’s 60th anniversary, and 23 years after the last Daytona – at this year’s Watches & Wonders. This new generation, as is often the case with Rolex, brings hundreds of minor (often virtually unnoticeable) aesthetic adjustments and technical upgrades.
The new Daytona appears to be quite similar to the previous version, yet virtually no components of the habillage are identical. The Porsche 911 is a classic and save for tweaks, it’s been virtually unchanged. With the new Rolex Daytona, pay attention and you’ll notice that the case has changed shape, the guards have been redone, the first link of the bracelet has been replaced, and the hands and indexes have been rearranged.
It is mostly about small iterative changes, but it’s worth noting that the thickness of the world’s most popular chronograph has been reduced to 11.9 mm – around 0.5 mm thinner than the previous model, and about 2-3 mm thinner than the average modern vertical clutch equipped automatic chronograph that measures 14 mm or more.
Perhaps, the immediately obvious difference between the new Daytona and previous ceramic variants pertains to the construction of its bezel. Previously, the Daytona had a full-ceramic ring; the bezel of the latest model is now surrounded by a thin polished band of the same metal as the central case.
Although it is officially a design decision, a metallic ring provides additional protection against shocks that would otherwise shatter the ceramic and that’s a good thing. Its face has also been uplift but the dial’s design updates remain confined to the hands/markers and sub-dials: Both have been refined to create a more modern, sleeker aesthetic while maintaining legibility and contrast.
The contrasting bands that encircle the resized subdial have remained unchanged outwards, but the inside diameter has grown, making the black textured element thinner. This, along with the smaller applied markers, gives the dial more white space – it feels more sophisticated but somehow, less sporty.
Depending on your inclinations, this might be appealing or not; however, for us, it feels like it amps up its daily wear appeal. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona is a historic one, not just for the anniversary, but also for being the first-ever Daytona (at least for the platinum edition) with a crystal caseback.
It is also the first to feature the Rolex manufacture Calibre 4131, which incorporates the Chronergy escapement that gives the watch a three-day power reserve. These upgrades have been incorporated into an updated, geometrically outstanding, iconic design while retaining the monolithic elegance.
The Daytona comes in five different expressions, each one outstanding in its own right. There is a classically luxurious 18K yellow gold case with a black ceramic bezel and a gold sunray dial; an 18K Everose gold case and bezel with a black sunray dial; an Oystersteel case with a yellow gold bezel and a white lacquer dial; and an Oystersteel case with a black ceramic bezel and a white lacquer dial.
But it is the 950 platinum expression that makes this Daytona historic. Coming with a chestnut brown ceramic bezel and a white lacquer dial, it is also the first Daytona with a sapphire crystal caseback, revealing an 18K yellow gold oscillating weight and the fascinating Rolex Côtes de Genève decoration on the Calibre 4131. It’s new yet familiar, a bold new evolution of a timeless classic.
ROLEX DAYTONA CHRONOGRAPH PRICE + SPECS
Case 40 mm 18K yellow gold, 18K Everose gold, 950 platinum or Oystersteel with 100 metres water resistance
Movement Automatic Calibre 4131 with 72 hours power reserve
Price On application