Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Steel and Cerachrom
A blast from the past - the Rolex Daytona in steel with a Cerachrom bezel for the very first time
March is always a month focused on new beginnings and celebrations; the kick off of the Formula 1 championship, Baselworld and, this year, the reveal of the new Rolex GMT Master II in steel or steel and gold, you will read about on the blog pretty soon. Two years ago, in May, the list of those who had booked the revamped Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona in steel, was already quite long. The launch at Baselworld 2016 of the new Daytona in Steel and Cerachrom was following-up at the time the exclusive platinum case version launched back in 2013 and was anticipating the reveal of the three versions of the 2017 Rolex Daytona Gold and Ceramic with Oysterflex bracelet.
When I use the term “revamping”, I am not implying that the outgoing Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona was outdated but I am simply saying that the most famous steel-made chronograph in the world had fiercely resisted some innovations that have been otherwise affecting the Submariner collection and, partially, the Daytona too since the year 2005. In particular, I am referring to the Cerachrom-made bezel, a Rolex-patented technology that makes use of polished ceramic to craft the bezels of sport watches, diver’s watches and chronographs alike.
This change has represented a milestone in the history of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona because, 53 years after the first model that kicked off the long success of this timepiece, the tachometric scale that was originally featuring a full scale of 300 miles per hour or 300 kilometers per hour is now made of a platinum powder and is deposited on a ceramic disc like on the Everose-made versions and on the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Platinum, the last Daytona that was released in 2013 (to celebrate its 50th anniversary).
References to the past
If you observe the reference with the white dial, the ceramic-made bezel and the black rings around the chrono registers, you will immediately link the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Steel and Cerachrom to a reference 6242 or, even better, to reference 6263. When it comes to Rolex watches, however, this rule can't be possibly applied as their collections are the result of continuous evolutions, faithfully re-editing past models is definitely not in the manufacturer's culture and that's why they simply tend to re-interpret them in a more modern style. Timepieces are not being completely revolutionized but their original spirit is constantly being fuelled with a new and modern content in small doses so that the brand's collectors aren't being destabilized and new fans are being attracted at the same time.
Some of the models’ retail value, like those featuring the so-called “Paul Newman” dial, has steadily increased over time and, unfortunately, many collectors buy them as a simple form of investment without ever wearing these beautiful timepieces. Rather than looking for like-for-like comparisons between this new watch and its previous versions, I find it much more interesting to focus on what has actually changed on the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Steel and Cerachrom if we compare it to the current steel-made version (reference 116520).
Despite being good friends with two mates who can boast interesting Rolex collections and who are constantly talking about them, I have never been a big fan of the Daytona, so this new version really represented a dramatic change for me. One can’t obviously deny the excellent symmetry of the dial and the perfect proportions between the dial, the bezel, the lugs and the profile of the case middle. Many other manufacturers have tried to mock these proportions without ever being able to attain the same result, but I have nevertheless always thought that, from a stylistic and visual point of view, the tachometric scale on a chronograph should be separated from the case and should appear on a black-colour bezel instead, as it is with the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Steel and Cerachrom. These considerations are probably my own personal preferences only but they should be a rule when it comes to chronographs, not only for Rolex ones.
How is the Rolex Daytona in steel ranking in my personal wish list
Had I been asked to place a Daytona with its current design on a wish list a few years ago, I would have inserted it after a GMT Master II, a Rolex Sea-Dweller 126600 or a Rolex Yacht-Master 40mm 116621 Two Tone Everose Steel Chocolate Dial for example but the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Steel and Cerachrom was the first Rolex timepiece that I actually took into consideration when I first entered the Rolex press room in 2016 although, among the novelties, the new Rolex Air-King 116900 was the timepiece that caught my attention too, thanks to its dial that draws clearly inspiration from the Bloodhound SSC's dahsboard counters. I wish I could compare the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Steel and Cerachrom to the old steel-made model, so that I could analyze in detail the differences between the two versions.
Cerachrom insert and steel
That special Cerachrom-made disc takes away an ounce of classicism and adds in an ounce of sporting soul while giving this timepiece a scratch-resistance that is second to none by toning down the excessively classic look of the watch and making the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Steel and Cerachrom a more masculine and sport-like timepiece. Since 1988 Rolex have opted for a non-flat bezel that is not lying on a different level but is actually positioned on an inclined surface, a smart solution that has increased the room dedicated to the tachometric scale, thus making it more readable and creating a feeling of continuity between the protruding sapphire glass crystal and the case.
Unlike many other chronographs, there is no gap between the case, the bezel, the sapphire glass crystal and the bracelet, it almost looks as if the bezel were inserted inside the case and this type of design solution makes us experience what I call the “little lump of gold” effect, a perception of sporty luxury that, even on the steel-made version, makes this timepiece glisten in a special way. Part of this result is also due to the characteristics of the 904L steel.
Rolex caliber 4130
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Steel and Cerachrom is equipped with the same 4130 caliber as the model that it is actually replacing. This was Rolex’s very first in-house built caliber that was launched in 2000 and that has brought along quite a lot of improvements if compared to the 4030 caliber. Among these improvement is a 60% reduction of the components used for the chronograph’s mechanism that has been reached through the integration of the chrono hours and minutes mechanisms into a single module and through the designing of a general lay-out that increases the reliability of operations and regulations while simplifying them. The power reserve was also enhanced and moved from 50 hours to 72 hours.
Price list vs market price
Like all the other Oyster Perpetual timepieces, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona in steel boasts a Rolex-declared precision of +/-2 seconds per day, the first response to the Master Chronometer certification while awaiting Rolex’s launch sooner or later of a new standard that will force all of their competitors to follow suit. Both versions of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Steel and Cerachrom still retail at 11,500 euro (it looks unchanged over the last two years). Consider however this price just as a suggested retail price since its market price is currently 17000€ and is expected to grow even further.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting by Entropik)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®