As one of the most desirable watches in the world, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is a representation of luxury, style, and exclusivity.
Launched in 1963 as a tool watch for the motor racing world, the Daytona has arguably become the most desirable watch on the planet thanks to a combination of timeless design and incremental upgrades that have maintained its position as the ultimate status symbol.
The hottest hype watches of the past decade have been the black or white dialed steel-on-steel reference 116500LN with a Cerachrome bezel or its predecessor, the reference 116520 with a steel bezel.
Although waiting lists have shortened and prices for these models have dropped significantly over the past year, they are still being sold for well above retail prices, leading many collectors to look at precious metal versions of the Daytona as better value for money, or at least more bang for your buck.
Rolex, itself, likely recognised this sentiment when it introduced a new platinum model at this year’s Watches and Wonders with an exhibition case back giving a glimpse of its new automatic calibre 4130 with an 18ct gold oscillating weight.
Of the 32 Cosmograph Daytonas listed in Rolex’s current catalogue, only two are all-steel. The other 30 are either a combination of Oyster Steel and precious metal, or entirely made in platinum or gold — yellow, rose or white.
Rolex Daytona Platinum
On the secondary market, there is a lively trade in the 50th anniversary Daytona 116506 with its ice blue dial and black Cerachrome bezel.
The use of 950 platinum gives the watch substantial weight on the wrist and is both lustrous and corrosion proof.
An ice blue dial is the perfect choice for the white metal finish (and a signal to Rolex aficionados that this is not a steel watch) and is topped with luminous hour markers and chestnut brown counters. The Daytona 116506 is characterized by a tachymeter bezel with a matching chestnut ceramic insert.
The watch has been superseded by the 60th anniversary Reference 126506 with its transparent crystal case back, but that may make the 116506 even more collectible.
Rolex Daytona in Rose Gold
The Everose Rolex Daytona is smooth and sophisticated. Formal enough for the office or a black tie affair, yet durable enough for a day at the track, the Daytona does it all.
The Oyster case measures 40mm, a traditional size for Rolex sports watches. The case back, bezel, and Triplock crown are screwed into the Monobloc middle case, allowing the Daytona ref. 116515 to get wet up to 330 feet.
This men’s Daytona sports watch is unique because it uses 18ct rose gold, or Everose. A black Cerachrom Tachymeter bezel utilizes resilient and scratch-resistant ceramic for a flawless finish that will last a lifetime.
It is available on a black Oysterflex strap or rose gold bracelet.
Rolex Daytona in Yellow Gold
There is more choice in Rolex’s back catalogue for yellow gold Daytona watches, but the most desirable of all is the green dialed reference 116508, know to collectors as the Golden Hulk.
Luxurious styling meets sleek sports watch design with polished and satin yellow gold, a tachymeter bezel calibrated to 400 units, chronograph pushers, and a dial set with sub-dials and lumed hour markers.
They are trading hands for around $100,000 today.
Rolex Daytona in Two Tone Steel and Gold
Midway between the utility of steel and the opulence of gold are the two tone Daytonas, which come in a broad range of dial colours and configurations in the 40mm men’s family.
Down the years we see black, white, gold, silver and mother of pearl dials, occasionally with diamond adornments, but always framed by a golden tachymeter bezel.
Rolex Daytona in White Gold
There are several choices of white gold Daytonas in the current Rolex portfolio. Customers can choose dial colours in silver, white or black; with or without diamond hour markers, and with the option of an Oysterflex strap or white gold bracelet.
Looking further back at contemporary and vintage models, the choice is even more dizzying, with meteorite and mother of pearl dials, leather straps and changes to details like the hour markers and accent colours that super-collectors obsess over.