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Is it a 50th Anniversary Daytona at Baselworld?

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daytonaplatinumSome say the latest platinum Rolex Daytona introduced at Baselworld is a 50th anniversary commemorative model, whereas other –including Rolex, say it’s not.  At one level, why would Rolex release a never before produced model on the 50th anniversary of the models release. On the other hand, the watch is in Rolex’s regular lineup, is not a limited production model, and does not possess the trademark Rolex hunter green found on other anniversary models such at the GMT 116710 and the 50th anniversary Submariner. Despite whether Rolex’s latest model in the Daytona lineup is or is not an anniversary edition, one thing is clear –this is Rolex’s first chronograph in all platinum and it is definitely a head turner.

The Daytona reference 116506 is an all 950 platinum chronograph in Rolex’s standard 40mm Daytona configuration of three subdials, TripLock winding crown, polished center link bracelet, and screwdown chronograph pushers. The watch is powered by the same Rolex caliber 4130 released in 2000 with Parachrom hairspring and a winding oscillator that rotates on bearings rather than on a sleeved pin as most other Rolex models. Unlike earlier updated Daytona models, uses Chromolight lume material on the hands and indices.

daytona braceletSeparating the Daytona 116506 from other’s in the chronograph lineup is that it is made of all platinum, possesses a snow blue dial that is only found on one other watch  -the platinum Rolex Day-Date. The Daytona 116506 also shares a slight similarity to the DeepSea and Yachtmasters, by having a slightly raised solid end link where the bracelet meets the watch head.  It appears that Rolex raises the solid end link above the curvature of the lugs in its heavier watches. The Daytona 116506 also uses a monobloc Cerachrom bezel with graduations that are in chestnut brown matching the chestnut brown used in the subdials and the minute indices.  The light brown might be a nod to older Daytona chronographs where the minute indices and hands would turn brown with age, making the watch much more valuable in the vintage market.

The Rolex Daytona named after the famous race track in Daytona Beach, Florida, has been associated with auto-racing since Malcolm Campbell broke the land speed record in 1930, hitting 301mph. This year, Rolex is the title sponsor for the Formula 1 racing circuit.  As how auto racing has evolved over the years, the Rolex Daytona has evolved as well.  Other than moving from a Zenith chronograph movement to its all in-house movement in 2000, the Rolex Daytona is another example of existing Rolex watches being evolutionary rather than revolutionary.  At $75,000 (US) the all platinum Rolex Daytona is going to be a welcomed addition to only a few watch collectors.

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