If there ever was a watch which needs no introduction, the Rolex Daytona is one such watch. First introduced in 1963 with a Valjoux movmement (subject of a in-depth Collector’s View later) which is highly collectable, it evolved into an automatic version bearing a Rolex modified Zenith El Primero movement in 1988. And in 2000, Rolex announced a new in-house chronograph caliber – the 4130 for a new Daytona. The subject of today’s showcase is one such watch, with a slight twist.
Rolex Daytona Cosmograph 116520
The subject watch is a the property of a gentleman collector who is a close friend. When he purchased the Daytona, he became frustrated that after hearing all about the wonderful engineering that has gone into the Caliber 4130, he cannot admire and see it. So he went to a local watchmaker who had the requisite tooling and had a sapphire crystal inserted to a cutout in the case back. Sacrilege, some may say. but the Rolex case back is plain, and sans any engraving or feature, and having it replaced with a sapphire crystal allows him to gaze into the movement as he wished. Perhaps the total water resistance of the watch might be compromised, but this is not a professional diver tool watch, so even when compromised from the Rolex stated 100m, would be inconsequential for daily wear.
The movement itself is the epitome of an industrial manufactured chronograph. It is simpler (about 20% fewer parts) than the El Primero based 4030 it replaced, and yet it has a higher power reserve (72 hours compared to 54 hours), utilizes more advanced technical design (a very sophisticated vertical clutch system as opposed to a traditional lateral clutch) and more easy to service.
As is expected, Rolex does not give the C4130 any great beauty in final decoration. But the watch is nonetheless designed with a great precision to achieve precision. The movement is finished to a very high engineering level, and performs particularly well in timing tests with the chronograph engaged and also when the chronograph is not engaged. The entire movement is built on robustness, reliability and serviceability. No extraneous decoration is provided, but yet nothing is spared towards these goals.
A quick look at the balance is a case in point. The balance is held in place by a balance bridge instead of the more classical balance cock. The bridge is anchored on both sides to the base plate, and provided a much more stable and robust platform for the balance. The balance spring, visible in the photograph above is in-house manufactured, and is equipped with an overcoil. This balance spring is made of Blue Paramagnetic Parachrom – Rolex-speak for an antimagnetic hairspring made of an alloy of niobium and zirconium. The Paraflex shock absorbers, also clearly visible in the photograph above protects the balance against shocks.
The Rolex Daytona Cosmograph. Perhaps the watch for every man, which every collector should own. It combines a magnificently designed and executed chronograph in a robust, strong, yet classical and elegant case. It can be dressy or it can be casual. It is no wonder that it is extremely popular.
With grateful thanks to our good Deployant friend and gentleman collector owner of this watch for loan of the Daytona for photography.