The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watch gets completely refreshed, including its case and dial design, as well as movement, for 2023.
At 08:30 am on the first day of Watches & Wonders 2023, the curtains in the windows of the ever-impressive Rolex booth rolled up to reveal an uncharacteristically extensive range of Rolex novelties. Among them is the new-for-2023 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, or Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, which the brand has fully revamped for the collection’s 60th anniversary.
Six decades on, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is one of the most desirable and collectable luxury chronograph watches the world has ever seen. Recognized and indeed cherished globally, Rolex knew it had to handle this re-design with a gentle touch, and yet it was not afraid to do a comprehensive overhaul inside and out. For 2023, the new Rolex Daytona gets a restyled case.
It’s a little-known fact that the stainless-steel Daytona — the most sought-after piece in the range — until now had an asymmetrical case: The left lug is wider, and the right lug is narrower so as to offset the “visual weight” of the crown guards, pushers, and crown on the right side of the case. This did not apply to the precious metal-cased versions, which all had symmetrical cases. From now on, even the Oystersteel version will have a symmetrical lug execution. Notably, the shape of the lugs has been modified considerably from the now-discontinued version in that they have a long horizontal component for enhanced stance and volume.
Another small yet important change concerns the bezel of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. What used to be a so-called “monobloc” Cerachrom ceramic bezel is now a metal bezel with a ceramic insert to carry the collection’s distinctive “UNITS PER HOUR” tachymeter scale. The dial of the refreshed Rolex Daytona received noticeably different proportions by having thinner sub-dial outlines and flatter, pointier hour markers that resemble those on the Daytona 16520 produced between 1988 and 2000.
Speaking of the year 2000, that was when Rolex introduced its first fully in-house chronograph movement, the highly revered Rolex Caliber 4130. It is one of the most technically impressive chronograph movements in modern watchmaking attained through a heavy reduction in component count — this simplifies manufacturing, enhances reliability and serviceability — an extended 70-hour power reserve, as well as a sophisticated vertical clutch system that ensures the smooth starting of the chronograph. For the first time since 2000 — following a series of quietly performed, undisclosed updates to the 4130 — Rolex finally changed the caliber’s reference number from 4130 to 4131. This small-as-possible change hints at the introduction of various engineering solutions, such as Rolex’s highly efficient Chronergy escapement, high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, and an optimized ball bearing in the self-winding system.
A new dial, case, and movement mark a major Rolex Cosmograph Daytona update for 2023.
For the first time ever on a round Rolex watch, the platinum version of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona sports a see-through caseback that reveals the movement and its gold winding rotor — another detail reserved for the platinum-clad version. It is good to know that every Rolex Daytona watch in the collection is new and sports these updates — all previous models have been discontinued. The stand-out piece is once again the platinum Daytona that, for the first time ever on a round Rolex watch, is equipped with a transparent caseback. This has forever been exceedingly rare on Rolex timepieces, as the overwhelming majority of them have always been fitted with a solid metal caseback that offered no opportunity to view and hence appreciate the Rolex movement that powered one’s watch.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona is available in five different materials ranging from the all-steel version through Yellow Rolesor, which stands for a combination of 18ct yellow gold and Oystersteel, 18ct yellow gold, Everose gold, Oystersteel and platinum, and all come with their specific configurable dial options.
We are always excited to see a watch industry icon’s updates, and the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is, of course, no exception. The considerable changes to its case, dial, and movement will almost certainly stick around for 6-8 years, giving us plenty of time to get used to an overarching facelift to a watch enthusiasts have become so innately familiar with.
More information and prices are available here.