The Rolex Daytona 116500LN: A Collector’s Guide

Mar 24, 2021
The Rolex Daytona 116500LN: A Collector’s Guide

The Rolex Daytona has been around for about 60 years. Since its introduction, it met with many improvements and iterations, such as with the Ref. 116500LN. Many collectors and aficionados revere this model for its classic look. It’s also the exemplary model of all luxury watches with new technological advancements.


Even before the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN was introduced in 2016, many people already looked forward to the advances it may have, with the waitlist growing rapidly all over the world. To this day, many watch enthusiasts see the timepiece as one of Rolex’s best offers yet.


When the Rolex Daytona 116500LN was finally launched at the 2016 Baselworld, the hype around it never died down. There’s a lot of reason for that. For instance, the classic stainless steel case and the incorporation of Cerachrom, Rolex’s proprietary high-tech material.


Let’s take a closer look at what the ultimate Rolex watch has to offer. Learn more about why it remains a top-of-mind choice for a luxury sports watch.

History of the Rolex Daytona

Technically, the history of the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona stretches even before the 1960s. Let’s take a quick look at the history of the iconic timepiece.


Rolex Daytona watches began in 1955 when Ref. 6234 was launched. It’s the brand’s first chronograph and, at the time, it wasn’t a hit. Not a lot of people found a use for chronographs and everyone still liked the traditional 3-hand watches. From there, Rolex still continued to produce chronographs for a very niche market.

Daytona International Speedway

Collector's Guide to the Rolex Daytona 116500LN | Daytona Speedway

Fast forward to 1959, the company became the official timekeeper for the Daytona Speedway. The first automobile races in 1902 were held at the beaches of Daytona, Florida. That very place became the breeding ground for world records in speed.


One of the most prominent names in the tracks was Sir Malcolm Campbell of Great Britain. He was a huge fan of Rolex and he wore the brand’s watches in and out of the racetracks back in the 1930s. Rolex itself witnessed the man set a world land speed record at Daytona in 1931. Sir Malcolm Campbell personally thanked the company for the wonderful features of the Oyster watch.


When a new oval route formed along the beach and oceanfront in 1959, the new tracks ran completely over asphalt. This marked the opening of the Daytona International Speedway.


A few years, in 1962, the Daytona Speedway employed Rolex as the official timekeeper of the races. This is exactly a year before the launch of the Cosmograph Ref. 6239. To cement the brand’s affiliation with the Daytona Speedway, they nicknamed the timepiece accordingly. The name Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, to this day, is an iconic one that fans and the company still continue to use.

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

At 36.5 mm, the Cosmograph Daytona is the largest in the brand’s catalogue. It was made exactly for motorsports that’s why it has a tachymetric bezel. It’s also the first time that the word “Cosmograph” appeared on the dial under the brand’s name and logo at 12 o’clock. There are also other models that feature the word “Daytona” above the 6 o’clock dial.


From there, the Cosmograph Daytona continued to improve over the years. In 2000, Rolex launched the third-generation Daytona watches with one incredibly significant improvement. Rolex began using its very own in-house chronograph movement for the third-generation Daytona watches.


The timepiece in question, namely the Ref. 116500LN, is also from this very generation. The easiest way to identify which watch comes from which generation is through their reference numbers. Third-generation Rolex Daytona watches have six-digit references. Depending on the bezel of the watches, numbers should be followed by letters.

Cerachrom Bezels on the Rolex Daytona

In 2005, Rolex began rolling out watches with Cerachrom-insert bezels. The first watch to ever get this is the Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II in 18K yellow gold. This timepiece had a black Cerachrom bezel and the difference was too stark for people to ignore.


Used as a replacement for aluminium inserts for bezels, Cerachrom improved the way people saw bezels. Firstly, it’s virtually scratchproof. This is due to the hardness of the material. It’s also resistant to UV rays, as well as other chemicals such as chlorine. Such technology allows colours to look brighter and prevent them from fading or changing over the years. Moreover, Cerachrom also allows high lustre due to its scratchproof attribute.


The first-ever Daytona to have a Cerachrom bezel is the one in 18K Everose gold version. This also became the first Rolex watch to have a monobloc Cerachrom bezel instead of an insert. It’s the first single-piece ceramic that holds the crystal in place.


At the launch of the Ref. 116500LN, Rolex finally added a Cerachrom bezel feature to the stainless steel model. That said, let’s take a closer look at the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116500LN.

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ref. 116500LN is one of the most coveted watches of the brand. Despite it being launched in 2016, it still takes a while to get a brand new piece from a retailer. That’s why the secondhand market for this watch thrives. Even then, the cost of pre-owned Rolex Daytona 116500LN watches doesn’t differ much from the original price and sometimes even more expensive. A closer look at each of the watch’s parts will definitely tell you exactly why it’s such a great piece to have.

Bezel, Case, and Bracelet

closer view of Rolex Daytona 116500LN Black watch

Let’s begin with the bezel since it’s one of the core reasons why this reference became a collector’s must-have.


As aforementioned, Rolex started using Cerachrom to stainless steel Daytona 116500LN watches. The watch features a black monoblock Cerachrom bezel. This shows an even more polished and virtually scratch-proof bezel.


The bezel perfectly fits the 40mm stainless steel Oyster case. It doesn’t have any maxi lugs or any other improvements. A lot of people expected something new to the watch’s case. However, it’s a great thing that Rolex kept the case as it is. It allows an even better view and puts the spotlight on the new ceramic bezel.


It also has a Triplock screw-down crown and three sealed zones. It makes sure that the watch remains with a water-resistance of up to 100 metres or 330 feet. Even better, the screw-down chronograph pushers remain as they are. They’re a huge part of Daytona’s overall identity. While not a lot of people use a chronograph on a daily basis, it’s a great option to have.


Paired with the Ref. 116500LN’s 904L stainless steel Daytona case is a matching 3-link Oyster bracelet. Also in stainless steel, it’s a lot different from older Cosmograph Daytona watches. This new bracelet has completely solid links, as well as solid end links. It provides an even more robust design. With its material and construction, it’s resistant to stretching.


Moreover, the clasp of this bracelet has Rolex’s proprietary Easylink extension system. With this, you can easily and instantly adjust the length of the bracelet by about 5mm. This doesn’t require any tools at all! Plus, the bracelet provides a wonderful dimension with a mix of satin outer links and high-polish centre links. It’s the perfect watch that can transition from a nine-to-five to a weekend of sports and leisure.


case, bezel, and dial of Rolex Daytona 116500LN White watch

There are two versions of the dial available, only different in colours. You can get the Rolex Daytona 116500LN in black or the Rolex Daytona 116500LN in white.


The white dial is truly a sight to see. It’s sporty, clean, and would definitely remind you of the vintage Cosmograph Daytona watches. The white dial features chronograph registers outlined in black, giving it a dimension of its own. It would also remind you of the Paul Newman Daytona Ref. 6241 and Ref. 6263. Alongside the black bezel, it’s the perfect vintage homage to the classic timepiece.


On the other hand, the black dial is a more classic take on the watch. The chronograph registers of this watch come outlined in white. While it’s a more classic take, it remains a great watch to have.


There’s a lot to love about both dials and, in all honestly, it’s hard to pick between the two. They are both wonderful timepieces and it’s hard to just pick one, in the event that you’ll have to pick one. The best way to see what’s better for you is by seeing it in person and knowing which appeals to you more in the flesh.


With the change on the bezel, some people expected a change in layout as well. However, Rolex kept the layout of the chronograph registers. The chronograph has a 30-minute sub-dial located at 3 o’clock. Also, the indicator for running seconds sits at 6 o’clock. Meanwhile, you get a 12-hour counter right at 9 o’clock.

Rolex In-House Calibre 4130 Movement

movement of Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN watch

Powering the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN is the Rolex in-house Caliber 4130, the brand’s first-ever in-house movement. It’s a self-winding mechanical chronograph movement that’s been used on Rolex Daytona watches since 2000. The use of this movement marked the launch of third-generation Daytona watches.


The great thing about the Rolex calibre 4130 is that it’s an overall workhorse movement. Meaning, it has even fewer components for even reliable performance. The oscillator of this movement comes with the brand’s blue Parachrom hairspring. It’s incredibly resistant to magnets. Therefore, it’s a great choice for use when even when you’re over magnetic fields. It’s also resistant to any fluctuations in the temperature, as well as shocks. Even with a sudden drop or increase in temperature, it remains very accurate. The accuracy of this movement sits at around +2/-2 seconds per day. This means that the movement is a certified chronometer.


With a power reserve of 72 hours, it’s a very great watch to keep around. It remains true to its identity as a timepiece made for racetracks and more.

Price of the Rolex Daytona Ref. 116500LN

If you’re looking for a brand new Rolex Daytona 116500LN, then you might want to hit pause on that. It’s not an easy watch to covet. Retailers have a long waiting list and it could take a while to own it. However, if you still want it, you can get the watch for around $13,000 USD. But that’s not a price to keep in mind. Different retailers all around the world, of course, have different prices. With the demand for this watch, it’s only normal to see it a little more expensive than this.


That said, you can always check the secondary market. There are multiple reasons why you should do this. It’s a great way to jump the line and skip years and years of waiting to get the watch. A lot of the Ref. 116500LN watches in the market are in mint condition. Some are even brand new watches put up for secondary sale for an even more expensive price at $25,000 USD to $30,000 USD. That may be twice as much as the retail price, but it’s a price to pay for cutting the many years you’ll have to wait to own the watch.

Rolex Daytona Ref. 116500LN as an Investment

You might be thinking, this watch isn’t even made of any precious metals. Then why is it so expensive anyway? Well, there are various reasons for that. Firstly, a Rolex watch in itself is a great investment. Rolex only makes a set number of watches every year and that’s proof of the company’s dedication to excellence. They pay close attention to each and every watch made so they remain accurate.


With how the Rolex Daytona 116500LN remains in demand, supply surely hasn’t met its demand. That’s why the secondhand market takes advantage of people who are willing to spend twice the retail price just to finally get their hands on the watch.


Moreover, who’s to say that a stainless steel watch can’t appreciate value over time? One of the most expensive Rolex watches ever sold is a stainless steel Cosmograph Daytona. It hammered at $17.75 million USD at a Phillips auction in October 2017.

Rolex Daytona 116500LN: A Collector’s Must-Have

There’s a lot more to unpack about the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona and why it’s so expensive. However, more than the monetary value it provides, its function and history add even more weight to its price tag. This timepiece truly is a collector’s must-have, especially if you’re a fan of Rolex and would like to have a historic piece in your arsenal.

Learn more about Rolex watches with us. Check out our features on the Rolex Explorer II and the Rolex Datejust 41.

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