Whether you’re a dedicated watch collector or passing enthusiast, one of the watches you’ve probably heard about discussed in reverent whispers is the Rolex Daytona. Its influence is everywhere and for good reason, it’s the holy grail of racing chronographs. But while racing is a very Earthly pursuit, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is heading out of this world with a new range of meteorite dials announced at Watches & Wonders.
There are three new designs being launched, differentiated by their case materials, white gold, yellow gold and Everose gold. However, the white gold version has a few notable differences to the other two and for that reason is the first one we’ll take a look at.
It has the classic Daytona layout on its brand-new meteorite dial, a substance that comes from rocks that land on Earth from outside our atmosphere. They typically have a high iron and nickel composition that makes for a unique metallic dial shaped and patterned by the forces of the universe. They’re also no strangers to Rolex watches, being found on the GMT Master II. If you want to know all about the use of meteorite in watchmaking, we created a handy guide that will get you up to speed in no time.
The 18k white gold case is 40mm in diameter and has 100m water resistance, just in case you decide to race a yacht instead of a supercar. But the case’s stand out feature is the high tech, monobloc, Cerachrom bezel in black ceramic, unique to the white gold version. Also, the tachymetric scale, a signature of the Daytona, is moulded directly into the ceramic rather than being engraved after the fact, which is a neat bit of engineering.
Another feature that distinguishes the white gold model from its counterparts is the Oysterflex bracelet, a patented design from Rolex that combines the durability of a metal bracelet with the flexibility of a sports strap.
The yellow gold and Everose gold versions of the Cosmograph Daytona swap the ceramic bezel for a simple metal one with engraved tachymeter and are presented on traditional Oyster bracelets. It’s tempting to say that they’re not as exciting as the white gold option but let’s remember that the key feature is the meteorite dial and that’s just as lovely regardless of what case you put it in.
And let’s also not forget that these are first and foremost Daytonas, the premier racing chronograph. All three options house the calibre 4130, a COSC certified perpetual chronograph movement. This is a movement that is over 20 years old at this point and it still outperforms dozens, if not hundreds, of more recent calibres with a 72-hour power reserve. It’s super-efficient and manages to provide everything you could need from a chronograph movement with a reduced number of components.
Picking a favourite from the three new Cosmograph Daytonas feels a little redundant because the heart and soul of them is fundamentally the same – it just comes down to what colour you like your gold. Instead, my main take away is the aspirational attitude that comes hand in hand with a meteorite dial and its perfect pairing with the most aspirational of racing chronographs.
Price & Specs:
Model: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
Reference: 116519LN (18k white gold case with meteorite dial)
116508 (18k yellow gold case with meteorite dial)
116505 (18k Everose gold with meteorite dial)
Case/Dial: 40mm diameter, 18k white, yellow or Everose gold with meteorite dial
Movement: In-house calibre 4130, automatic, 44 rubies, 201 parts, Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing)
Water Resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power Reserve: 72h (3 days)
Functions: Hour, minute, small seconds, chronograph (30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock, stop-seconds for exact time setting)
Strap: Oysterflex rubber with white-gold folding Oysterlock clasp, yellow-gold bracelet or Everose gold bracelet
Price/Availability: £27,350 (white gold), £32,900 (yellow gold) and £35,100 (Everose gold)
More details at Rolex.