It is not often already that in March we know what will be the hottest watch of the year. Yet here we are and there is no doubt left that the title of watch of the year will go to the new Rolex Daytona reference 116500LN.
The way this watch hit the community was unprecedented for me. I remember the Baselworld buzz. The first question anyone asked you was „Did you try on the new Daytona?“ which if answered yes was followed by sparkling eyes and the follow-up of “How was it and do you have pictures?“. Even for someone like me who was never a big fan of the Daytona’s the topic was unavoidable, queues forming outside the Rolex booth just to have a glance through a glass wall.
On paper it is difficult to understand the excitement. The dimensions and movement remained untouched, leaving a subtle update with the new black ceramic bezel complimented by a few tweaks to the dial as well as an updated bracelet.
But boy oh boy do they make a difference when you finally get to wear the watch. With contemporary Rolex models gaining in weight every year the Daytona is one of the few models, which stayed true to its roots. It still comes in the lovely 40 mm case with the thin lugs we learned to love so much. What surprised me most was how wearable this watch is. Cushioned elegantly on your wrist thanks to the slim profile and exceptional bracelet this is one of the most comfortable watches I have ever worn.
Most striking though is the watch face. The dial has a subtle glossy shine to it which plays with any sun rays that it crosses paths with. The ceramic bezel provides for a seamless shift, contrasting to the previous model where the steel bezel made for a rough transition. Not only is the new ceramic bezel incredibly resilient but also features an enticing sparkle. This, together with the dial, manages to strike a balance between charming you to grant it frequent glances without running the risk of being flashy.
It was the watch everyone was waiting for after the relative disappointment of the 50th anniversary Daytona in platinum. Slowly moving full circle after over half a century this watch pays homage to the much coveted Paul Newman Daytona’s, yet bringing enough innovation to the table to justify its existence.
Currently the most asked for watch in the world, with waiting lists several years long, the new Daytona is already as Hodinkee calls it an “icon among icons“.