Rolex Daytona Platinum: discovering the ref. 116506 and 126506

In our series of providing technical reviews of iconic watches, we offer here a complete review of the different references of Rolex Daytona in platinum with its "Ice Blue" dial, symbolic of platinum versions and a very original chocolate Cerachrom bezel.

The reference 116506

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Daytona (see the history of the Rolex Daytona), the Geneva House unveiled a platinum anniversary edition at the 2013 Baselworld Edition. This is undoubtedly one of the rarest and most exclusive models ever made for the Daytona model. The reference 116506 was launched with an official price of 60,850 EUR in 2013 and a price of 74,450 EUR in 2019. The model follows the proportions of the 116500LN steel model with a slightly revised case at the horns as is the case for gold versions. This is the second time in Daytona history that Rolex has used a ceramic bezel (after the 116518 in 2011).

Illustration of reference 116506 with its "Ice Blue" dial

The model has various markings, specific to the platinum alloy. The case is made of 950 platinum, with the characteristics of a greater weight than steel (and gold), while being more malleable (and therefore more sensitive to scratches). A very important data to take into consideration for the potential buyer: you will not tinker on Sunday with your Ice Blue Daytona!

Illustration of the engraving of reference 116506

The dials

The model comes with a splendid ice blue dial nicknamed "Ice Blue" which is reminiscent of the Daydate Platinum ref. 118206, an equally extraordinary model. A color exclusively reserved for platinum watches at Rolex.

Two references with the "Ice Blue" dial, with the Day-Date platinum ref. 118206

The dial of reference 116506 also exists with the tonal blue counters whose indexes are in diamonds. It bears the reference 116506-0002.

First generation dial 116506-0001
First generation dial 116506-0002 diamond indexes
Illustration of reference 116506-0002 with its baguette diamond indexes

The indexes and hands are in Chromalight, a material recognizable by its blue color in the dark.

Illustration of hands and indexes in Chromalight

There is an even more exclusive version, with indexes in Arabic numerals.

Illustration of the so-called "Arabic dial"

The certificate

The certificate sometimes mentions the reference of the bracelet supplied with the watch: 78596

Guarantee card of reference 116506 from 2013 to circa 2021
Evolution of the guarantee card towards a new format in 2021

The bracelet

The platinum bracelet carries the reference 78596 (as opposed to ref. 78590 for its steel version). It is equipped with "Solid End Links" perfectly fitting the case.

Illustration of the engraving of the bracelet number

The folding clasp has various markings, namely:
- The head of Saint Bernard stamped with the letter G for Geneva
- The balance indicating the 950 alloy
- 950PT: this is the alloy used by the Rolex manufacture with 950% platinum per thousand. The Rolex House is one of the few manufactures to have its own foundry.

Illustration of the folding clasp with various hallmarks

The lugs have a flat spot, unlike the steel model.

Illustrations of various hallmarks specifying the platinum alloy

The Crown

The crown of Rolex watches made in platinum has a specific marking that distinguishes them from steel and white gold. The reference 116506 is equipped with a Triplock crown ensuring the water resistance of the Oyster case to 100 meters.

Illustration of the crown with the pushers

The Caliber

Introduced in 2000 with reference 116520, the Rolex 4130 manufacture caliber will be used for nearly 23 years on all Daytonas. It is C.O.S.C. certified with 290 parts, its power reserve is 72h, and offers 28,800 vibrations per hour at 4Hz.

Illustration of the 4130 manufacture caliber

The "XL" Box

Like all gold or platinum models, this specimen is delivered in a larger box than the steel models, an "imposing" XL box. We regret for our part that a watch of this value and rarity does not have a more luxurious box as was customary in the past at Rolex.

Illustration of the box reserved for the platinum model

For our part, we were struck by the weight of the watch, and totally won over by the dial, whose color renders different shades, especially in strong light. A "Keeper" as far as we are concerned and for those lucky enough to be able to afford it!

Some images of reference 116506

The new Daytona 126506

2023 will be the year of a double celebration: the 60th anniversary of the Daytona model and also the 10th anniversary of its platinum version. On this occasion, Rolex presents its brand new reference to the public at the Watches & Wonders exhibition in Geneva.

The brand new platinum Daytona presented at Watches & Wonders in March 2023 - Photo by 41W

Succeeding reference 116506, the new 126506 features, for the first time in Rolex's history, a transparent sapphire case back. This allows its owner to admire the new Caliber 4131 and its skeletonized 18ct yellow gold oscillating weight and bridges decorated with a Cotes de Geneve motif. Beyond these aesthetic developments, the successor to the 4130 also differentiates itself with its Paraflex shock absorbers and its Chronergy escapement which better conserves stored energy.

Illustration of the case back of reference 126506-0001 ©Rolex

The 2023 platinum Daytona still offers two dial configurations: with or without baguette diamonds. The non-diamond version will carry the extension 0001 while the diamond version will display 0002.

Illustration of the dial, reference 126506-0001
Illustration of the dial, reference 126506-0002

From an aesthetic point of view, several developments distinguish the two generations. The most obvious is for the "Baguette Diamonds" version as the chronograph counter rings are now brown, where the previous generation featured tone-on-tone counters. For the non-set version, the index markers are thinner and more elongated.

The two new versions of Daytona ©Hodinkee

The size of these same sub-counters has also been reworked to become thinner and regain the spirit of the "inverted 6" dials mounted on the "Zenith" Daytonas.

Finally, a discreet crown is now visible at 6 o'clock under the Swiss Made inscription, a quick way to identify the generation of a watch without removing it from the wrist.

On the bezel side, it is still made of ceramic and sports its famous chocolate shade, exclusive to platinum versions. The novelty lies in the fact that the bezel, which was flush with the case, is now "inset" in a ring, as is the case with the Submariner and other GMT-Masters.

Illustration of the platinum ring of reference 126506 ©Rolex

Today, perhaps even more than yesterday, the "Platona" reigns supreme in the collection and embodies the ultimate luxury chronograph for many collectors. Despite its value, it remains relatively easy to wear in the sense that novices will not particularly associate it with a precious material like gold, yellow or rose. There are certain Daytona variants that are even more exclusive, considering for example the Rainbow versions or the limited edition set series, but these have the peculiarity of being classified as "out of catalogue". To get a glimpse, feel free to (re)discover the exceptional 116595RBOW presented previously on our site.

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