What started life as a utilitarian steel chronograph for timing motorsports, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona has evolved into one of the most important watches in the brand’s impressive arsenal. In collector circles it dwells within its own microcosm, as a sub-set of Rolex collecting, commanding prices that seem to grow month on month. With the exception of the Day-Date, no other Rolex model has been dressed up in such a colourful variety of dial versions of the years and the watch regularly enjoys being dressed up in diamonds, sapphires and other precious stones.
For 2021 Rolex is reintroducing meteorite, a rare and unique substance that gives each Daytona a face of its own. Each piece of meteorite in these watches, originated in an asteroid that exploded millions of years ago. This natural substance, predominantly made of iron and nickel, changes over millions of years by cooling and developing the crystallization that makes each one unique. Rolex works with highly skilled specialists who work with the meteorite and cut it into very thin sections and chemically treat it to bring out the Widmanstätten patterns that can be seen on the finished dial.
This isn’t the first time that meteorite has been used in Daytonas. In the 2000s, the white gold reference 116519 on leather strap was available with a meteorite dial. Those versions were entirely meteorite, including the sub registers, and the watch was fitted with striking red stopwatch and sub dial hands.
The new meteorite dials are available across all three hues of gold – white, yellow and Everose. The white gold version is reference 116519LN, which features a black ceramic tachymeter bezel and is fitted with a black Oysterflex bracelet. The Oysterflex is truly one of the most comfortable ways to wear a precious metal Daytona, which for years were only available on leather straps.
The 18ct yellow gold watch is reference 116508 and the Everose model reference 116505, both of which are fitted with Oyster bracelets. As an ardent Daytona fan, I really love these watches. The aesthetic of contrasting sub registers is key to these new dials, with the black sub dials lending the watches a classic so-called panda vibe to the watch. This is especially successful in the white gold version in my mind.
What is sure, is that there will be huge demand for these pieces and hopefully aspiring owners won’t have to wait too many millions of years to get an example of these unique space rocks on their wrists!
All three models house the Manufature calibre 4130
Case and dial:
116519LN: 40mm 18ct white gold with black Cerachrom ceramic tachymeter bezel.
116508: 40mm 18ct yellow gold with yellow gold tachymeter bezel.
116505: 40mm 18ct Everose gold with Everose gold tachymeter bezel.
All three models have the meteorite and black dial with Chromalight lume.
116519LN: Black Oysterflex with white gold Oysterlock folding clasp
116508: 18ct yellow gold Oyster bracelet
116508: 18ct Everose gold Oyster bracelet
Availability and pricing: