Rolex Daytona Chronograph

Rolex Daytona Chronograph

Why We Love It

Love 'em or hate 'em, the Rolex Daytona is the most sought after watch in the world.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've undoubtedly heard a lot of noise about vintage Daytonas selling for pretty serious prices of late. Back in 2017, Paul Newman's very own 'Paul Newman' Daytona sold for an astonishing price of $17.8 million at Phillips Auction House. 

While vintage Daytonas aren't for every taste --and certainly not for every budget-- there are some more contemporary versions that, while still highly sought after, haven't completely exploded out of the reach of mere mortals. Yet.

Powered by the manufacture Calibre 4130, this 39mm Daytona Reference 116518 is a recent and somewhat misunderstood model. Produced in solid 18K yellow gold, the 116518 carries the design language of the 'Zenith' Daytona that preceded it, and the same in-house automatic chronograph movement powering the current lineup.

Setting the 116518 apart from other solid gold variants is the partial 'hooded lug' design of the lugs/strap setup - allowing for the fitment of a variety of strap options with a solid gold deployant clasp included.

This particular example, a 'Y' Serial model dating from circa 2002, shows a strong case and flawless dial with just enough wear showing to allow for carefree use. Fitted with a genuine Rolex signed black leather strap and inclusive of a quality aftermarket rubber strap, it makes for a killer and versatile timepiece - particularly going into the warmer months.

While the 'strap only' variants are somewhat controversial to Daytona purists, they offer a tremendous value proposition - we'd encourage you to look at them seriously!

The Story

The Daytona is Rolex's only chronograph in current production.

Before the Cosmograph and Daytona models, Rolex had produced chronographs since the 1930s, setting the mold for what would ultimately become the single best-known chronograph in the world. These early watches, like many chronographs of the period, had monochromatic dials and a tachymeter ring printed on the outer edge of the dial. 

The design of the Cosmograph gradually changed, but the Oyster case remained at its heart. A change in dial configuration (mainly a shift from monochrome to the "panda" color schemes now closely associated with it) along with the removal of the tachymetric scale to the bezel made it a clear sportsman's watch. With the addition of the name Daytona in 1964 (taken from the 24 Hours of Daytona Race which Rolex started sponsoring in 1962), the motorsports association was cemented.

The result of years of R&D, the movement used in the Reference 116520--the Calibre 4130--was the manufacture's first new in-house caliber in five decades. The Calibre 4130's construction--consisting of a vertical clutch, a larger balance wheel, and fewer screws--made it far more accurate (and more easily-serviced) than any of Rolex's previous self-winding chronograph calibres.


SKU: AS03167

Solid 18k Yellow gold Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding the crown). Rolex Reference 116518. Rolex automatic winding Calibre 4130 movement. Circa 2002.

Overall Condition: The case is in very good condition showing normal signs of wear from use. Luminous glossy black dial is in as-new condition. Non-luminous handset. Signed crown.

Includes genuine Rolex black leather strap with signed deployant clasp. Also includes aftermarket black rubber strap, earlier Rolex box, and service records dating to 2012.

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