It’s no surprise that over its 60-year heritage, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watch has received several modifications and upgrades to its revered design. The iconic chronograph first launched in 1963 after the first “24 Hours of Daytona” endurance race. Rolex first developed this watch for racing drivers taking part in the race, which takes place on the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Although special Daytona watches were awarded to the winners of the race (up until recently) with a specially engraved caseback, standard Daytona watches are just as sought-after among Rolex watch collectors, chronograph fans and motorsport enthusiasts. The ref: 116500LN has a staggering waiting time of up to 10 years. Initially priced at around $13,000, those that have never been worn or those in pristine condition now have an asking price of around $30,000. Other highly desirable Daytona watches are the Paul Newman variations with the “exotic dial” – each one of which comes with an interesting back history and a unique story to tell.
When it debuted in 2016, the ref; 116500 became an instant success, with waiting lists building immediately for the already popular icon. The Rolex Daytona ref. 116500LN is the stainless steel and ceramic variant. The model belongs to the prestigious brand’s third generation of the Rolex Daytona, which first launched in 2000. One of the most significant updates, of course, is the fact that this generation is powered by Rolex’s very own in-house movement. Other noteworthy differences include the running seconds indicator which moved from the 9 o’clock to the 6 o’clock location. In 2011, these 6-digit references featured bezels crafted from Rolex’s proprietary Cerachrom material, differentiating them from others that had been before them.
Usually when you receive a gift, it’s one of two kinds. The first often comes in the form of day-of-the-week underpants or an autobiography by the world’s most tedious celebrity. The second is the rarer sort, the present that you’ve been dropping hints as subtle as a sledgehammer for, but never dared hope you might receive. At this year’s Baselword, Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 40mm gave us the latter variety. The Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN is the watch we’ve all been waiting with bated breath for—the brand’s classic racing chronograph updated in 904L steel with a black cerachrom bezel. The Daytona is one of the few watches that can really lay claim to the title ‘icon’. It was first created by the powerhouse luxury brand in 1963, although it technically wouldn’t take on the name we know today until a year later. After first thinking the piece might be suited to the position of space watch—a job that ultimately went to Omega’s Speedmaster—Rolex turned its attention to motorsport, which was speeding ahead in public interest. The brand named its sporty chronograph after the epicentre of motor racing in North America, the Daytona International Speedway in Florida, and a legend was born.