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The Five Best Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Watches of All-Time

Rolex Daytona 116500LN

The Rolex Daytona is currently one of the most in-demand watches among watch collectors. This legendary racing chronograph has been extremely popular with vintage collectors and those wishing for an automatic model used in modern times, introduced after 1988, when this type of function was added to their range of watches. It doesn’t matter if you’re purchasing your first timepiece or have already spent thousands on premium pieces; we all require some fashion now and then. The Rolex Daytona has two distinct epochs in its history: The first is the manual-winding Daytona era. The most famous watch from this era, which lasted from 1963 to 1988, is the Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman.” The second era is the self-winding Daytona, which began in 1988 with the legendary Rolex “Zenith” Daytona. This was the beginning of the model we know and love today. It should come as no surprise that current Daytona is at the top of our list. So, let’s learn more about the most popular Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watches of All-Time.

Rolex Daytona 116508

5. Rolex Daytona 116508

This is perhaps many collectors’ favorite Daytona (or, more accurately, series of Daytona). The reference 116508 is used by Rolex to denote all 18-karat yellow gold models with yellow gold bezels. It’s an incredible beauty of a watch that comes with a variety of dial options. The variant with a green dial and red accents made headlines. It’s the watch that John Mayer mentioned in the second episode of Hodinkee’s “Talking Watches,” which explains why many have dubbed the “John Mayer” Daytona. There are eight distinct dial variations to pick from. The variant with a black dial and gold accents is a common preference.

Rolex Daytona 116506

4. Rolex Daytona 116506

In the realm of luxury watches, there is a new king. The Platinum Rolex Daytona 116506 has taken over from its predecessor as it becomes increasingly difficult for any other reference to compare with this modern-day classic and most expensive model in their lineup - especially when you can customize your choice. With so many color options available (including those popular diamond markers), every collector will find something they love about these timepieces that keep them coming back, no matter how often we change our style. Today, the Rolex Platinum Daytona 116506 belongs to a prestigious class of sports chronographs regarded as the best timing tool for endurance racing drivers. This timepiece is sturdy and comfortable for universal wear, with its characteristic ice-blue Rolex dial and unique oyster bracelet created with innovative technologies for form and function. This piece also comes equipped with an updated movement that increases durability while simultaneously reducing power consumption. The cheapest models currently cost around $120,000, but prices can reach $165,000 in the future.

Rolex Daytona 116520

3. Rolex Daytona 116520

The Daytona 116520 is the last Daytona with a steel bezel, which initially emerged on the “Zenith” Daytona in 1988 and gave it a distinct design. It was the first Daytona featuring a Rolex automatic chronograph movement, the caliber 4130, developed in-house. It was a giant stride forward for the company, and the technology is still used in contemporary Daytona models. The unique qualities of the Daytona 116520 make it one of Rolex’s most sought-after watches. It features an all-stainless steel case and bracelet with a date display at 3 o’clock. It comes with a water resistance up to 100m/330 feet, so you can take this beauty underwater without worrying about damaging anything. This collector’s watch has been certified by Rolex themselves. It means that not only will your purchase come with every little detail accounted for but also guarantee authenticity from famous worldwide brands - who don’t want peace in knowing they’re wearing their favorite timepiece. Prices on Chrono24 start at approximately $24,000, giving this watch a viable choice for those who prefer a steel bezel or want to spend a little less overall.

Rolex Daytona 116523

2. Rolex Daytona 116523

This timepiece is amazing because it is currently one of the most affordable (if not the cheapest) alternatives. If you look at the numbers, it’s incredible that you can have a watch that’s partially made of 18-karat yellow gold for a lot less than a stainless-steel watch. However, two-tone timepieces were only popular in the 1980s, and the style of the 1980s is undoubtedly debatable. The 116523 and the 116520 were both parts of the same collection. With a gorgeous gold and steel case and band, this watch features the same classic style and in-house caliber 4130. Prices start at roughly $17,500, which is an excellent deal for such a great watch.

Rolex Daytona 116500LN

1. Rolex Daytona 116500LN

The current stainless steel Daytona on Chrono 24 is the most popular Rolex Daytona. The Daytona ref. 116500LN made its premiere at Baselworld 2016, and it is the first stainless steel Daytona with a Cerachrom (ceramic) bezel. The current steel Daytona is available with a black or white dial from the Geneva-based firm. In terms of popularity, the white dial variant takes the lead, albeit only by a hair. Prices for both have soared in the last three years. Current Daytona starts about $33,000-34,000 on Chrono24, or roughly three times their advertised price. The 40mm white dial stainless steel case is a modern classic that will never go out of style. It has a water resistance capacity of up to 100M/330 feet. With sapphire crystal and ceramic bezel, this watch may only get better with time as the markers are coated in rubies for added color. The watch is covered by a five-year warranty. The Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon is a sleek, elegant timepiece that features special screw-down push buttons on its side. This watch comes with an oyster lock closure for extra security and has been custom made to resemble Zero Gravity’s limited edition models from 2017 to 2019. It uses beautiful materials, including 18k white gold or brown leather straps with matching solid gemstones at each end (opting-out one piece costs 3X more). The 44 jewels automatic movement provides accurate readings in both directions, so you’ll have no questions about being off your game.

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Lily Wordsmith

Written by Lily Wordsmith

Lily Wordsmith is a freelance writer who has had a love affair with the written word for decades. You can find her writing blog posts and articles while sitting under a tree at the local park watching her kids play, or typing away on her tablet in line at the DMV. In addition to her freelance career, she is pursuing ebook writing with an ever-growing repertoire of witty ebooks to her name. Her diversity is boundless, and she has written about everything from astrobotany to zookeepers. Her real passions are her family, baking desserts and all things luxe.

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