The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is one of Rolex’s longest-running collections. Although every piece in this line retains a very classic design that watch enthusiasts love, the brand has continuously worked to improve the Cosmograph Daytona, adding the most modern, advanced technology to each new model. It is the result of the brand’s constant quest for innovation, and hence, every single element of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watch has a story to tell.
Because of the effort that goes into developing the Cosmograph Daytona, many people, be they watch fanatics or casual wearers, were extremely excited for the release of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116500LN. Launched at Baselworld 2016, this new Cosmograph Daytona model did not disappoint. To this day, many folks continue to regard it as one of Rolex’s best offerings, setting a new industry standard for luxury sports watches. In this article, we will be taking an in-depth look at the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116500LN, including its history, its outstanding features, and why it is so highly respected in the watch community.
Did you know that the first-ever Cosmograph Daytona, the Rolex Cosmograph Ref. 6234, was introduced in 1955? Launched more than 60 years ago, the Cosmograph Daytona is one of the brand’s most sought-after ranges today. However, you might be surprised to know that the Cosmograph Daytona was not all that well-received at first. Indeed, the release of the Rolex Cosmograph Ref. 6234 flew under the radar initially. It was only after its use at the 1959 Daytona International Speedway Race, in which Rolex was the official timekeeper, that the Rolex Cosmograph Ref. 6234 gained more recognition.
A few years later, Rolex launched the Cosmograph Ref. 6239, which was a sports watch inspired by the Daytona Speedway. The Cosmograph Ref. 6239 quickly gained popularity — thanks to Sir Malcolm Campbell, who was a prominent British race track driver and a known patron of Rolex. In virtually every race, Campbell could be seen with this Rolex timepiece on his wrist. However, at that time, the Cosmograph had not come to be known as the “Daytona” yet. It was only in 1964 that the watch officially gained the “Daytona” label, which was then engraved onto every ensuing Cosmograph Daytona piece.
The launch of the Cosmograph Ref. 6239 also significantly changed the image of the collection. In earlier days, the Cosmograph Daytona models were not very legible, as they had tiny numerals, uniform colors, and a tachymeter scale on the rim of the dial. With the Cosmograph Ref. 6239, Rolex made two significant changes: they adopted contrasting colors for the sub-dials and changed the location of the tachymeter scale so that these elements would be easier to read. In 1965, the brand introduced the Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 6240. This watch came with brand-new screw-down crowns and chronograph pushers, providing greater resistance against moisture.
In 1988, Rolex completely changed the movement used in the Cosmograph Daytona watches. Instead of the old manually wound calibers, the brand equipped the Cosmograph with the self-winding Rolex Caliber 4030, which was heavily inspired by Zenith’s El Primero movement. More recently, Rolex has introduced an in-house chronograph movement, the Caliber 4130, in Cosmograph Daytona watches. Both of these calibers made use of Rolex’s new Parachrom anti-magnetic balance spring, which adds to the durability of the watch.
In 2016, Rolex released the third-generation Cosmograph Daytona model, the Ref. 116500LN. It upholds Rolex’s tradition of innovation, making use of some of the most advanced technology available to Rolex today, while also maintaining the heritage of the Cosmograph Daytona models that came before it.
The Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116500LN features a case made primarily out of lustrous Oystersteel. With a standard 40mm case diameter, this watch can fit comfortably on wrists of all sizes. Its sleek case design has elements inspired by the predecessor Cosmograph Daytona models. This includes its lack of maxi lugs, which are instead replaced by three sealed zones and a Triplock screw-down crown.
The Ref. 116500LN’s screw-down crown is incredibly secure, and its Triplock system ensures that no external elements like dust or moisture will get into the watch. The top of the crown is engraved with Rolex’s iconic crown logo, enhancing this timepiece’s luxurious vibe. On the two sides of the crown, you can also find screw-down chronograph pushers that were also present on the second-generation Cosmograph Daytona.
In addition, the Ref. 116500LN has a three-link Oyster bracelet that is also made from Oystersteel. With its solid links and mixture of polished and brushed surfaces, this bracelet gives an impression of professionalism and class on your wrist. It is also equipped with Rolex’s proprietary Easylink extension system, which allows you to lengthen or shorten the bracelet by 5mm. It is quick and easy to use, so you can adjust the bracelet length without any tools at all, ensuring that it fits nicely and securely on your wrist.