The Watch that Money Can’t Buy: The Daytona 116500

During BaselWorld 2016 Rolex released the highly anticipated stainless steel Daytona with a black ceramic bezel.  This newest stainless steel variation is crafted from “Oystersteel”, a finish that is similar to the 904L steel used in previous sports watches in that it is highly resilient, easy to polish, and will withstand corrosion.  While Daytona watches in precious metal are desirable in their own right, the addition of a more affordablestainless steel 6-digit reference with a black ceramic bezel made the ref. 116500 an instant must-have among collectors.  The reference 116520 that preceded it was also made from steel, however, it was topped with a matching steel bezel, making this addition to the Rolex catalog even more exciting.

The Cosmograph Daytona 116500 is powered by a calibre 4130 self-winding movement, which boasts its own involvement in Rolex history as the first Daytona movement made entirely in-house.  The previous movement, the calibre 4030, was provided by Zenith and modified by Rolex to accommodate the needs of the Daytona watch.  The calibre 4130 includes stopwatchfunctions, a Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring, and an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day.  Shock resistant and very precise, the calibre 4130 has what it takes to keep perfect time while on the racetrack.  Rolex protects the movement by hermetically sealing the case via a waterproof Triplock screw-down crown with three sealed zones and a stainless steel screw-down case back.  The case itself measures 40mm and is presented on an Oyster bracelet with an Oysterlock clasp.

What Makes the Daytona 116500 So Special?

As we already mentioned above, the men’s Rolex Daytona 116500 was an immediate success, thanks to an attractive price tag and the use of not only a steel finish but also a Cerachrom bezel.  The bezel itself is a highly sought-after feature among collectors for its highly resilient properties and the incredible craftsmanship that goes into creating the ceramic insert.  Rolex collectors with a keen eye will also notice the new placement of the platinum Tachymeter scale which now circles the bezel as opposed to lining up next to the hour markers.

Perhaps what makes the ref. 116500 so special, besides its ceramic bezel and steel finish, is its homage to the very first Daytona references from the 1960’s.  Early variations of the Cosmograph Daytona offered both a steel and black acrylic inlay bezel and were paired with either a white or black dial topped with contrasting black or white subdials.  The similarities are very apparent, which only adds to the desirability of this particular men’s Rolex.

Wait List

Even though the Daytona 116500 came to market in 2016, there is still a significant wait list of at least 3-5 years.  We already discussed above why the Daytona is so hot, but why is there such a long wait for a watch that is produced entirely by Rolex?  Well for starters, the ref. 116520 was also very hard to get thanks to the use of the first-ever Rolex movement and a popularstainless steel finish.  So historically, new stainless steel Daytona sports watches will most likely always be a very sought-after and hard to get.  Some collectors also suspect thatRolex is limiting the supply to create a high demand.  Or it could be that Rolex has simply produced what the watch community has been anticipating for so long, creating an instant demand.  Either way, if you wish to get your hands on one for the retail price of $12,400, you’ll have to call your authorised dealer and ask to be put on the wait list.  There are options available on the secondary market, however, they will command a higher price than retail due to the high demand.


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