Baselworld 2019: Eye of Tiger

Baselworld 2019: Eye of Tiger

As Revolution’s Rolex and Tudor Editor I make no secret of my love for what could be seen as two opposite ends of ‘Wilsdorf’s Wonderful Watch World’ – namely vintage Tudor MilSubs and modern perpetual Daytonas. My first Basel 2019 review focuses on the latter – the Rolex Daytona 116588 TBR. Unveiled this week, it’s the latest offering from Rolex in their ‘special’ Daytonas line-up. Over recent years we have seen vintage Rolex collectors taking a new interest in rare modern pieces. In the main, these pieces tend to be gem-set sports watches and arguably, the most coveted are Daytonas. The obvious example are the Rainbow Daytonas, which are seriously in-demand and sell on the secondary market at three or four times the retail price.

Rolex Daytona 116588 TBR (Image © Revolution)

This year’s Daytona is a familiar model that has had a serious facelift! Reference 116518 has been in the Rolex catalog since 2000 and was originally supplied on a leather strap, with deployant clasp and fixed short endlinks. Over the years, this sports stalwart has been available with a plethora of dial variations. The 116518 becomes the 116588 when a gem set bezel is added to the watch, a numbering system that has been in place since the Zenith-movement Daytona era. This year’s watch is in yellow gold (hence the last ‘8’ in the reference number) and is driven by Rolex’s in-house calibre 4130 movement. The bezel is set with 38 trapeze-cut diamonds, which gives the watch a totally different look to the regular yellow gold tachymeter bezel and strikes a beautiful balance between hip-hop bling and refined elegance. Sounds easy, but its actually a very fine and delicate balance to try and achieve this.

Rolex Daytona 116588 TBR (Image © Revolution)

And of course, it needed a nickname. A Daytona hasn’t truly arrived until its been christened with its also-known-as. We have Rainbow, Beach, Platona already in Rolex folk-lore. And now, thanks to Editor-at-Large Suzanne Wong we have the “Eye of The Tiger’. Take a look. Can you see it? The champagne sub dials are intertwined with diamond and black laquer that looks cool and like, well a tiger’s face. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder – well it is with this tiger!

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Ross Povey

Ross Povey, the founder of TudorCollector.com is regarded as the world’s leading expert on vintage Tudor watches. Although an expert on Rolex and Tudor watches primarily, Ross’s work covers the entire field of horology and he is currently Editor-in-Chief of Revolution magazine in the UK. He writes for and has contributed to some of the most influential horological publications, including; The Telegraph, The Rake, Bulang & Sons, Watchonista, Hodinkee, QP and is the co-author of the book Daytona Perpetual, a celebration of the automatic Rolex Daytona released through Pucci Papaleo Editore. Ross is also an international speaker and regularly hosts watch events in the UK and Europe.

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