Rolex is currently pairing the Oysterflex with only two watches in their lineup: The big, bold Yacht-Master and the smaller, highly-coveted Daytona. There’s no question that the iconic Dayton holds particular intrigue for Rolex collectors. Whether it’s the association with Formula 1, or the unbreakable connection between Daytona and Paul Newman, the Daytona has always cultivated a certain air of unattainability. Of course, that could be simply because it can be literally unobtainable, with waitlists between 3 to 5 years, even for customers with a very chummy relationship with their AD.
It’s a watch that carries a lot of connotation, for better or for worse. People who love Daytonas love all the history and implications wrapped up in wearing it, while people who aren’t fans feel like it’s a timepiece that announces itself a little too loudly. Rolex itself has promoted this image through special releases and limited-run editions. After all, no one looks at a Rainbow Daytona and thinks, “Wow, that’s a subtle beauty!” Since the mid-eighties, the Daytona has been the beneficiary of a fair amount of buzz. But, all the hype it garners can obscure what an exquisite machine it actually is. So, here’s what we love about the Daytona: a confident, sparkling member of the Rolex cadre, and a beautifully constructed timepiece, despite the heavy mantle it sometimes carries.
That In-House Movement
It’s true that the Daytona’s movement hasn’t been updated since 2000 when Rolex brought the manufacture of the Caliber 4130 in-house. It’s also true that you don’t need to mess with perfection, and +/- 2 seconds from an exceptional timepiece means there’s no need to change up the movement, even two decades later. A 2020 Daytona will also include a Parachrom balance spring, a three day power reserve, 44 jewels, and a Kif shock absorber, along with an escape wheel. Caliber 4130 uses vertical coupling to drive the elapsed-seconds hand and advanced column-wheel switching for impeccable movement.
The Small Novel on The Dial
Collectors of Daytonas love a fully-packed dial, and the latest Daytona doesn’t disappoint. There are so many different components: the three distinct subdials at 3, 6, and 9, the name of the model in red, and the short story sized copy on the face of the watch, reading: “Rolex-Oyster-Perpetual-Superior-Chronometer-Officially-Certified-Cosmograph.” Along with these bona fides at the 12, the dial also features raised surrounds on the hour indexes, faceted hands with white lume inserts, and concentric markings on the black outer tracks of each subdial. Plus, the Daytona looks super crisp with a panda-style dial.
That Tachymetric Cerachrom Bezel
Gleaming ceramic bezels elevate any timepiece. But the Daytona in particular benefits from a Cerachrom upgrade, in order to better showcase the tachymetric measurement. Wearers can track elapsed time and average speeds with ease. There’s a units-per-hour engraving at 1:00, and measurements range from 400 to 60. Dots are used from 400 to 200, while single units are marked from 100 to 60, and highlighted with an engraved underline for emphasis. Triangular markers are used on the bezel, updating the appearance and differentiating it from prior iterations.
Why the Oysterflex Works Perfectly on a Daytona
Although the associations made with Daytonas have changed with time, it was originally designed as a performance sport watch, and the Oysterflex ™ strap references and respects the Daytona’s original purpose. A metal bracelet can feel heavy and inflexible on a watch with a racing provenance. While leather has felt dated over the past few years, matte rubber retains the dark profile of oiled leather while updating and modernizing the Dayona’s profile. Of course, you can always get the look of an an Oysterflex strap with an Everest band for your Daytona in a contrasting color. The 40mm case is lean and versatile enough to pair with a rainbow of different colors and strap options.
Written by Meghan Clark