I really don’t think I need to go too much into the Daytona as pretty much everyone, watch enthusiast or not, knows or has at least heard about this iconic watch. It has always been the case that the ultimate Rolex is ironically not a solid gold President Day-Date, but the Cosmograph Daytona. With waitlists in the years to authorized dealers these days not even entertaining you unless you’ve bought another (or a few) Rolex before, the Daytona is without a doubt the most desirable and hardest-to-get Rolex in the market today. Period.
However, I believe it remains crucial to briefly reiterate the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona's origin story. In 1959, the Daytona International Speedway emerged as the swiftest racing track in the United States, and in 1962, it became renowned for hosting the esteemed “Rolex 24 At Daytona” endurance race. Recognizing the significance of this racing venue, Rolex was designated as the official timepiece/timekeeper of the Daytona International Speedway. In 1963, Rolex solidified its connection to the illustrious racetrack by christening its newly introduced racing chronograph as the Cosmograph Daytona.
This example is the discontinued Ref.116520 and the introduction of this reference marked a historical change for Rolex where in the year 2000, they moved away from using outsourced chronograph movements, to their new, in-house Cal. 4130. Prior to this in the Ref. 16520 model, Rolex used a Zenith El Primero movement and prior to that, Valjoux ebauches on the 62XX series.
Part of the allure of the Daytona certainly has to be its look, with its sleek stainless steel case and glossy black dial, on the wrist it just works amazingly well. As this reference has been succeeded by the Ref. 116500 and in 2023 the newer 126500, I know that the Ref. 116520 will soon become more and more sought after and collectable.