Rolex‘s iconic, racing-inspired chronograph watch, the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, is now available in an all-new version with a bezel made of cerachrom, the Swiss brand’s proprietary high-tech material.
The new Rolex Daytona with cerachrom bezel, unveiled to an eager public this week at Baselworld 2016, is the latest in the long and distinguished lineage of Daytona watches, which began back in 1963 with the first Rolex Cosmograph and evolved over the years into the watch that now bears the name of the world-famous Daytona Racetrack. (Click here for an in-depth history of the Rolex Daytona, including its legendary association with actor and racer Paul Newman.)
For this latest version of the Daytona, Rolex has replaced the engraved metal bezel of previous versions with a Cerachrom bezel in black ceramic bezel insert, a visual nod to the 1965 version of the Daytona, whose black insert was made of Plexiglas. Cerachrom was previously used in the special, platinum-cased anniversary edition of the Rolex Daytona, launched in 2013 (seen below).
Cerachrom, developed and patented by Rolex, is a durable, virtually scratchproof material that keeps its original color despite the effects of UV rays and is exceptionally resistant to corrosion-resistant. The numerals on the bezel’s tachymeter scale — a hallmark of auto racing chronographs in general and of the Daytona in particular — are applied via a special process developed by Rolex. The graduations are first molded in the ceramic before it is fired at 1,500° C, then coated with a thin layer of platinum via PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition). The clear definition obtained through this process, along with the contrast of the platinum against the black ceramic, makes the numerals highly legible. The design of these graduations has also evolved, with numerals and triangular markers around the edge of the bezel. The bezel is made from a single monobloc of the Cerachrom material and holds the crystal firmly in place on the middle case, ensuring a high level of water resistance.
The other new features added to the 2016 version of the Rolex Daytona are the black rings around the chronograph subdials, adding another level of interest to the classical, tricompax dial. The stainless steel case offers contemporary dimensions, with a diameter of 40 mm.
Like other modern versions of the Daytona, this one is outfitted with Rolex’s manufacture Caliber 4130, a self-winding column-wheel chronograph movement that is also a COSC-certified chronometer. The movement has a vertical clutch, a bidirectional rotor on a ball bearing, and an oscillator with a hairspring made of blue Parachrom, another Rolex-exclusive, patented material that is uncommonly resistant to magnetic fields. Hairsprings made of Parachrom, an alloy of niobium, zirconium, and oxygen, are said to remain stable through temperature variations and be much less susceptible to shocks, remaining, according to Rolex, 10 times more precise in case of shocks than a traditional hairspring.
The bracelet includes Rolex’s Oysterlock safety clasp, which prevents accidental opening, and the patented Easylink quick-extension system that allows the wearer to easily increase the bracelet length by approximately 5 mm without the use of a tool. The new Daytona, which is available in several other dial variations (see below) will be priced at $12,400.