The 2016 BaselWorld fair for Rolex was likely more exciting than anyone could have anticipated. The long standing steel bezel reference Daytona was to be discontinued, and the model was updated with black ceramic bezels; a redefining look that both called back to the painted aluminum bezels of the 60s and 70s, while bringing the Daytona firmly into the contemporary Rolex collection.
The popularity of the new models has become mostly unparalleled in the realm of mass produced watches with the initial waiting times being listed in years rather than weeks or months. Three years on, not much has changed with respect to that demand and the astronomical waiting times. Several arguments rage among collectors, pertaining to the nature of the supply shortage, but there is no denying that the demand is there in full.
My personal story with the Daytona involves little waiting and a lot of luck. A chose to approach my authorized dealer and enquire about a ‘Hulk’ Submariner that I was interested in at the time. I was told that the watch would be available to me when they received one again.
They then let me in on something else that was more interesting to me: The next black dial Daytona 116500 would be available for purchase. No buyer was lined up at the time, and it had my name on it, if I wanted. I jumped at the opportunity. The game of waiting was tough, but a little over a year of waiting, and I got the call.
The piece is immensely wearable, with its almost Datejust-like case shape and comfortable oyster bracelet. The black dial configuration is clean and the bezel carries the gloss of the dial to the very edge of the case. Having no date aperture to fuss with is wonderful for both the design as well as ability to pick the watch up and simply go about wearing it.
Use of the chronograph is rewarding and solid feeling. Reset action is precise, and as a lap timer, I have had no complaints. Wearing the Daytona definitely feels special. The rarity and history behind the watch certainly elevates the experience, but more than anything, the watch may just be the most well-rounded and well-designed piece is the Rolex lineup. It’s just that good.
Written by David Brown