Introduced in 1963, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona has today become itself a brand.
The Daytona is indeed the most recognised, the most commercially successful and the most sought-after Rolex model.
Whether it is the Zenith references or the Newman version, the watch has turned to be a rebellion unlike any other watch in the market.
However, the Rolex Daytona is known to have captured people’s attention when it became an automatic timepiece.
It was in the late 1980s when Rolex upgraded its cornerstone chronograph collection, introducing the automatic Daytona.
Thus, let’s us today explore the evolution of the Rolex Daytona – from using the Zenith El Primero movement to the patented in-house automatic movement.
Launched in 1988, the first automatic Rolex Daytona versions flaunted the same design like the earlier manual-wound Daytona.
However, both were overall different chronographs.
Rolex made some refinements in the new dials, retaining the registers’ of the trio at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock.
For example, the brand offered pointed tips to the applied baton indexes, using the luminous element more profusely.
However, the automatic Daytona of this era flaunted metal bezels, carved with the signature tachymeter scale.
Now, here comes the most significant upgrade:
In fact, it is based on the popular Zenith El Primero movement that featured a horizontal clutch and a column wheel.
Nonetheless, Rolex made significant modifications to the movement according to the needs of the Daytona.
The manufacturer added a new escapement, removed the date, and also, reduced the frequency rate to 28,800bph from 36,000bph.
Rolex is known to have made more than 200 upgrades to the original Calibre Zenith El Primero for producing the Calibre 4030.
Rolex launched its new in-house movement in 2000 – the Calibre 4130.
The patented Calibre 4130 features a vertical clutch system that is more efficient than the usual lateral clutch system.
Moreover, Rolex had to modify the dial to fit the movement.
For instance, Rolex switched the positions of the sub-dials at 9 o’clock and 6 o’clock to place the running seconds at 6 o’clock.
Rolex added the new ceramic bezel to the Daytona collection in 2011.
The Rolex Daytona reference 116515LN featured the proprietary ceramic bezel for the first time.
However, the significant fact is that Rolex furnished the new Daytona ceramic bezel references with the in-house Calibre 4130.
Interestingly, the manufacturer reformulated the label “Superlative Chronometer Certified” in 2015. It ensured a five-year warranty with -/+2 accuracy rating.
Overall, it’s no surprise that the automatic Rolex Daytona is one of the world’s most coveted chronographs that combines incredible mechanics, impressive design with extensive options of styles and metals.
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