This year at Baselworld, Rolex released three new versions of their iconic Daytona chronograph, each craft from a different color (yellow, white, and rose) of 18-karat gold. All three watches feature black, Cerachrom bezels, and all three are fitted with Rolex’s Oysterflex bracelets, made from their proprietary Elastomer compound.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona is the most recent name for Rolex’s line of chronograph watches. Rolex’s latest release in the Daytona line marks the first time that the Oysterflex bracelet has been an option for the Daytona, and these three watches represent a new, more sports-oriented offering among Rolex’s iconic Daytona line of watches.
One of these watches in particular, the reference 116518LN, finds design inspiration in a predecessor from Rolex’s past. Another one of the many vintage Rolex references to have a nickname with origins in the Italian collector/dealer network is the reference 6241, “John Player Special” Daytona, due to its resemblance to the iconic black and gold racecars of the Lotus Formula 1 team, which is sponsored by the John Player & Sons ‘Specials’ cigarette brand.
The original “John Player Special” featured a yellow gold case paired with a black bezel and a black and gold dial. It’s entirely black and gold color profile and sporty design was both its defining characteristic as well as the source of its nickname. The new Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, reference 116518LN, shares a lot of design elements with the “John Player Special” including an all-black and gold color profile, contrasting sub-dials, and a black bezel, rather than one made from gold.
Although the new reference Rolex 116518LN Daytona is reminiscent of the iconic “John Player Special,” it is very much a contemporary watch of its own, boasting all of Rolex’s latest and greatest technologies. Powering the reference 116518LN is Rolex’s in-house caliber 4130 movement, which features 201 parts, 44 jewels, and marks the first time that Rolex has used ball bearings (made from ceramic) in the automatic winding system of one of its in-house movements.
In addition to its high-tech internals, the exterior of the reference 116518LN benefits from the inclusion of Rolex’s most modern and advanced materials. The bezel on the reference 116518LN is made from Cerachrom, Rolex’s proprietary ceramic material that is both scratch resistant and impervious to fading from ultraviolet light exposure. The Oysterflex bracelet features a superelastic metal core, coated in Elastomer (another proprietary Rolex compound), that offers the users exceptional durability.
The reference Rolex 116518LN represents one of Rolex’s premium Daytona offerings in a more sports-oriented package. The solid-gold construction brings with it a feeling of extravagance and quality, while the Cerachrom bezel and Oysterflex bracelet provide a contrasting, sports-oriented aesthetic not present on the Daytona watches that are fitted with leather straps or metal bracelets. The reference 116518LN embraces a well-known and beloved vintage color profile, and reimagines it with contemporary features and materials to create a highly unique watch that represents a new, high-end offering among the Daytona lineup.