Although Rolex’s slate of novelties for 2021 is somewhat smaller than the previous few years, the brand’s crop of new models released at this year’s Watches & Wonders still contains some genuinely striking offerings for fans of the marque. For sheer flash, few things in the Rolex lineup can beat a Daytona chronograph in gold, and for 2021 the Swiss giant is introducing a panda meteorite dial option to Daytonas in white gold, yellow gold, and the brand’s proprietary Everose rose gold alloy. The new meteorite dial Rolex Daytona models add a new layer of visual dimension to the classic panda dial Daytona look, bringing a literally out-of-this-world texture to Rolex’s instantly recognizable chronograph design.
Several brands have introduced meteorite dial designs in the past few years, including Rolex itself, but as with previous iterations, Rolex approaches the dial for this new Daytona series in its own dogmatic style. Like with 2019’s meteorite dial GMT-Master II series, the brand’s use of meteorite here is less a centerpiece to design the rest of the watch around and more of an accent to the well-established Daytona formula. The unique rounded indices, striped baton hands, and the mix of sunburst and azurage finishing on the three black subdials are all staples of the Daytona line, and rather than change its popular formula to highlight the new dial surface Rolex simply lets the material speak for itself. Like jazz, this is one new instrument or riff added to a melody in progress. The striated and dynamic silver tones of the meteorite surface add a more chaotic feel to the design, moving the look away from the styles of past panda dial Daytonas toward something wholly modern. In keeping with the brand’s stringent quality standards, the meteorite dials used for these new Rolex Daytona models are fashioned from solid meteorite material, rather than the more common veneer on top of a standard metal dial base.
Outside of these new dials, these new variants of the Rolex Daytona series are functionally identical to the rest of the line. The 40mm cases are available in either 18K white gold, 18K yellow gold, or Rolex’s Everose 18K rose gold alloy, each of which brings a different personality to the familiar mix of screw-down pushers, athletic tapering lugs, and wide fixed tachymeter bezels. The 18K white gold model is the stealthiest of the trio by far, with a black ceramic bezel shared with the stainless steel model for a precious metal design that can pass under the radar of a casual observer. In 18K yellow gold, however, this tool-oriented design takes on a brilliant and monolithic personality, and the bright metallic streaks in the meteorite dial will likely combine with the full gold look to create one of the brand’s most dynamic designs in shifting light. The 18K Everose model falls somewhere in between the two visually, keeping the immediate punch of a gold design but with a subtler, more modern tone. Like all Daytona models, these new meteorite dial iterations offer a solid 100 meters of water resistance.
Rolex powers these new meteorite dial Daytona variants with the in-house 4130 automatic chronograph movement. The 4130 has been the backbone of the Daytona line for over 20 years and still offers an impressive list of specifications including a column wheel and vertical clutch actuation system, a magnetic resistant Parachrom hairspring, and a 72-hour power reserve. Accuracy is within the brand’s own in-house Superlative Chronometer standards, claimed at -2/+2 seconds per day. For the 18K yellow gold and 18K Everose gold versions of the new meteorite dial Rolex Daytona, the brand opts for the classic three-link Oyster bracelet. The white gold model, on the other hand, is paired with the brand’s Oysterflex rubber strap in simple black for a more toned-down and sporty look.
While far from a radical redesign, the new meteorite dial variants of the Rolex Daytona series add a dynamic and spacey punch to the brand’s precious metal chronograph stable. MSRP for the meteorite dial Rolex Daytona in 18K white gold is $34,050, while the 18K yellow gold and 18K Everose gold variants are priced at $41,000 and $43,700, respectively. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.