Given the numerous anniversaries that coincide with 2023, we all knew that this year was going to be an important year for Rolex. Among the most notable anniversaries taking place this year is the 60th anniversary of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, and exactly ten years ago, Rolex unveiled a platinum Daytona with an ice blue dial and a chestnut brown ceramic bezel to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Rolex’s iconic chronograph. In the years since the previous anniversary model made its first appearance, the Daytona has become one of the most famous and desirable luxury watches in the world, crossing over into mainstream media, and becoming the Rolex poster-child for models that are entirely unavailable at a retail level (without spending at least some amount of time on a waiting list). Everyone had a feeling that Rolex would be unveiling some type of new Daytona this year at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023, and rather than treating us to a single anniversary model, Rolex has released an entire new generation of Cosmograph Daytona watches with updated proportions and a new movement.
New 2023 Rolex Daytona Watches
- Ref. 126500LN — Oystersteel; Cerachrom Bezel w/ Oyster Bracelet
- Ref. 126503 — Yellow Rolesor; 18k Yellow Gold Bezel w/ Oyster Bracelet
- Ref. 126508 — 18k Yellow Gold; 18k Yellow Gold Bezel w/ Oyster Bracelet
- Ref. 126518LN — 18k Yellow Gold; Cerachrom Bezel w/ Oysterflex Bracelet
- Ref. 126509 — 18k White Gold; 18k White Gold Bezel w/ Oyster Bracelet
- Ref. 126519LN — 18k White Gold; Cerachrom Bezel w/ Oysterflex Bracelet
- Ref. 126505 — 18k Everose Gold; 18k Everose Gold Bezel w/ Oyster Bracelet
- Ref. 126515LN — 18k Everose Gold; Cerachrom Bezel w/ Oysterflex Bracelet
- Ref. 126505 — Platinum; Cerachrom Bezel w/ Oyster Bracelet
At a quick glance, the new Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is very much the same racing inspired chronograph we have come to know over the past few decades, although it is not without its updates and refinements. In true Rolex fashion, much of the core external design has been carried over from the previous generation, and the case of the new 2023 Rolex Daytona still measures 40mm in diameter, although the lugs have been made wider for a larger and more modern overall appearance. Additionally, while the Daytona is still available in the same metal options — Oystersteel, Yellow Rolesor, yellow gold, white gold, Everose gold, and 950 platinum — the versions fitted with ceramic bezels now feature a metallic edge along their bezels in the same metal that compliments their case. Additionally, the 950 platinum editions now feature screw-down display casebacks (a first for Rolex Oyster cases) to offer an unobstructed view of the new movement that powers the new generation of 60th Anniversary Cosmograph Daytona watches. Beyond these updates, the rest of the new Daytona models largely adheres to the design of the previous generation with a Triplock screw-down winding crown at the 3 o’clock location, flaked by a pair of screw-down pushers that help guarantee 100 meters of water resistance.
While dial options for the new 2023 60th Anniversary Rolex Daytona are largely the same as what was available for the previous generation, the dial layout itself has received a number of subtle updates to enhance aesthetic balance and legibility. The shape and size of both the hour markers and sub-dials have been updated, and the redesigned hour markers are longer and thinner, similar to what can be found on the Zenith-based Daytona watches produced between 1988 and 2000. Meanwhile, the sub-dials appear to be slightly thinner relative to the rest of the dial elements, which rates a more open and easier to read display. As before, the stainless steel example is exclusively offered with a white or black dial, while the two-tone and precious metal versions receive additional options, including some with diamond-set hour markers. That said, the 950 platinum Daytona is exclusively offered with an ice blue dial, with the only option being whether or not it has baguette diamond hour markers. Like all modern Rolex watches, the brand’s blue-glowing Chromalight is used on the hands and markers.
Similarly, strap, bezel, and bracelet options have largely been carried over from the previous generation of Rolex Daytona watches. The stainless steel, two-tone, and platinum models are exclusively offered on Oyster bracelets with matching Oysterlock safety clasps with the brand’s Easylink extension system, while the three different solid gold editions are available with either Oysterflex or Oyster bracelets. With that in mind, similar to the previous generation, the Oysterflex bracelet is only available on the models fitted with Cerachrom ceramic bezels, while the Oyster bracelet is paired to those that have bezels crafted from the same type of gold as the rest of their cases. Additionally, while the clasps for the Oyster bracelets have the 5mm Easylink extension system, the Oysterflex bracelets have the brand’s Glidelock extension system, which allows for greater incremental adjustment (a necessary feature since there are no links to remove from the Oysterflex).
While the aesthetic and external updates are certainly noteworthy, arguably the single most significant update to accompany the 60th Anniversary Rolex Daytona watches for 2023 is the new Rolex Caliber 4131 automatic movement. At its core, the new Cal. 4131 is an evolution of the brand’s in-house Cal. 4130 that first debuted in 2000, although the new Cal. 4131 brings Rolex’s chronograph movement straight into the modern era by incorporating the brand’s Chronergy escapement for greater efficiency, Paraflex shock absorbers for superior impact resistance, and an optimized ball bearing setup for the rotor. Running at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz), while offering a power reserve of approximately 72 hours, the new Rolex Caliber 4131 offers the same performance specs as the previous Cal. 4130, and just like the rest of Rolex’s modern catalog, the Cal. 4131 is a “Superlative Chronometer” and is therefore rated to -2/+2 seconds per day (after casing). While the new Cal. 4131 offers a number of familiar features and specs, it also showcases a new movement aesthetic for Rolex, and it offers a skeletonized gold-finished oscillating weight, along with Geneva stripes on the bridges.
Although nearly all Rolex sports watches are mega-desirable items that perpetually have waiting lists at retailers, the Daytona has been the model that has typically been the most difficult to obtain at a retail level, and I can only imagine that these new models will be equally coveted by collectors. While they may not be all that revolutionary from an aesthetic standpoint, a new Rolex chronograph movement is certainly an important innovation, and Rolex seems to agree with this sentiment, considering that the brand has decided to incorporate a display caseback on its waterproof Oyster case. When it comes to pricing, the new 2023 stainless steel Daytona (ref. 126500LN) is accompanied by an official retail price of 14,400 CHF, while the two-tone model (ref. 126503) starts out at 18,600 CHF. Meanwhile, prices for the 18k yellow gold model are set at 29,200 CHF when purchased on an Oysterflex bracelet (ref. 126518LN) or 37,700 CHF should buyers opt for the matching gold bezel and Oyster bracelet (ref. 126508). As always, 18k white gold and Everose gold come at a premium compared to traditional yellow gold, with the Oysterflex models (ref. 126519LN and ref. 126515LN) starting out at 30,600 CHF and the Oyster bracelet-equipped versions (ref. 126509 and ref. 126505) retailing for 40,500 CHF. Prices increase from there with the option of diamond-set dials, while the platinum version (ref. 126506) is simply listed as price upon request. For more information on the new 60th Anniversary Rolex Daytona, please visit the brand’s website.