Few watches have the allure of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. Even non-watch enthusiasts recognize the chronograph, adding to its status of one of the most in-demand watches — if not the most in-demand watches — in the world.
This year, the Daytona turns 60, and Rolex updated the entire range with subtle design elements, a new, more robust movement, and introduced several special models.
Rolex debuted the Cosmograph Daytona in 1963, crafting the timepiece for professional racing drivers to measure their laps and determine average speed using the tachymeter. Since then, Rolex has subtly refined the watch, keeping its iconic design codes and improving the movement. It’s always a chronograph and one of the best, most precise on the market.
Of course, the design changes are minimal with a watch this beloved. The chronograph counters and hour markers are slightly thinner, which gives the watch a slightly more elegant look with the extra white space on the dial. In addition, the Oyster case was slightly redesigned. Models with the Cerachrom bezel have a new, slim ring of metal that matches the case around it. This subtle design element makes the bezel appear less bulky.
All models feature the new Calibre 4131, an in-house chronograph movement. Rolex reduced the number of components in the movement, which increases reliability and can potentially reduce the need for service.
Fewer parts, fewer things that can go wrong. It has a column wheel and a vertical clutch, which makes it even more precise. The automatic movement has a 72-hour power reserve.
The three main models are crafted from Oystersteel with a panda dial, Oystersteel and yellow gold, and the brand’s proprietary Everose gold. There is a special platinum model with an ice-blue dial, a Rolex color combination that signals the watch is crafted from platinum, not steel or gold, to those in the know.
The platinum model has an open caseback, which isn’t novel in watchmaking but is earth-shattering in the Rolex world. It’s the first time ever that Rolex has featured a clear sapphire caseback so clients can admire the movement within.
In addition, Rolex released a special edition in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. It is made from white gold and has a “reverse panda” dial. The chronograph counters are solid white on a black dial instead of the new, slimmer counter rings on the main models.
It’s instantly recognizable as Rolex but sets this model apart from the rest of the year’s releases. The 100 in the tachymeter is red in honor of the centenary anniversary of the race.
Rolex has been the official timepiece of the famed race since 2001. It also features a different movement, Calibre 4132, which increases the number of hours you can track from 12 to 24 in honor of the race’s long duration. Even with the increased timing capability, the watch has a 72-hour power reserve.
Will Rolex have any more surprises up its sleeve to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its most famous watch? Time will tell.