What's the Big Deal About the 2016 Rolex Daytona 116500LN?

June 03, 2016

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500 LN made a splash at Baselworld earlier this year and has since become the most talked about watch of 2016. With waiting lists at every authorized dealer around the world, only VIPs and insiders have been able to get their hands on one. While it may be self evident to some, I wonder what makes this particular model configuration, shown in the photo below, the most coveted watch amongst Rolex enthusiasts worldwide. 

Photo of 2016 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500 LN (photo: Rolex)
2016 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500 LN (photo: Rolex)
Introduced in 1963, the Cosmograph Daytona model became popular because the watchmaker created a reliable timekeeping instrument with a very legible display. With the sub-dials in contrasting colors to the dial and the tachymetric scale moved to the bezel, the Daytona became instantly recognizable as a reliable and efficient chronometer.

The model has changed very little over the years, retaining its signature racing style popularized by actor and race car driver Paul Newman in the 1970s. A vintage Daytona with a 'Paul Newman' dial could fetch over a million dollars US at auction.

Photo of 1965 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (photo: Rolex)
1965 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (photo: Rolex)
In the past decade, Rolex developed and patented its Cerachrom ceramic bezel and fans of the Daytona have been waiting for a version of this model with a ceramic bezel ever since. While they released Everose gold and platinum Daytonas featuring ceramic bezels in years past, they had yet to release a ceramic stainless steel configuration - until the 116500 LN in 2016.

The pièce de résistance of the new Rolex model configurations, this lunette noir model offers a synthesis of a vintage aesthetic and modern watchmaking technology. The virtually scratch-proof bezel makes it both sporty and sturdy, ideal for everyday wear. With a design that harkens back to the 1965 model shown in the photo above, it offers the best qualities of a brand new Rolex with the design sensibility its predecessors.

It will be a while before most people can take one home, but those who already have seem very satisfied with their purchases. (Ben Clymer of Hodinkee and John Mayer discuss being among the first to receive the new Daytona in a recent article.) Only time will tell if the Daytona 116500 LN lives up to all the hype, but for now it's safe to assume that it's a pretty big deal as far as Rolex watches go.


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