In addition to being Rolex’s most coveted watch, the Rolex 116509 Daytona is also the brand’s most diverse sports watch collection. The Rolex Daytona is available in a multitude of materials, such as steel, two-tone, platinum, and gold. Naturally, Rolex doesn’t just make the Daytona in one type of gold but in three different shades—including white gold, which is what we’re highlighting today. While Rolex has been making stainless steel and yellow gold Daytona chronographs since the collection’s inception in the early-1960s, white gold only became an option in the late-1990s. And it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that a white gold Daytona was offered with a bracelet instead of a leather strap.
The Reference 116509 is Rolex’s current 18k white gold Daytona variant, and there’s a lot to love about this ultra-luxurious chronograph. Not only is it the only Daytona fitted with a matching white gold Oyster bracelet but it also offers up plenty of superb dial options. Understated thanks to its white metal construction yet exceedingly luxurious since that white metal is 18k gold, keep reading for everything you need to know about the Daytona 116509. Welcome to our ultimate guide to the Rolex Daytona 116509.
Rolex Daytona 116509
Daytona 116509 Key Features
– Case: 40mm with screw-down winding crown and screw-down chronograph pushers
– Case material: 18k white gold
– Bezel: Fixed 18k white gold, tachymeter engraved
– Dial layout: Chronograph center hand and three subdials; small seconds hand at 6 o’clock, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock
– Crystal: Sapphire
– Bracelet: 18k white gold Oyster Bracelet
– Caliber: 4130 automatic movement
– Water-resistance: 100 meters
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Brief Rolex Daytona History
To condense the long and storied history of the Cosmograph Daytona in the most efficient way possible, there are three main generations of the Daytona to be aware of. First, there are the manual-winding variants with four-digit reference numbers that Rolex produced from 1963 until 1988. These are, as a group, the most collectible vintage Rolex watches in the market, made especially famous by Paul Newman (whose own vintage Daytona sold for a record-breaking $17.8 million).
The second Daytona generation appeared in 1988 as both larger watches (40mm instead of 37mm) and automatic. Rolex used a Zenith El-Primero base movement to power these five-digit Daytona models, but modified about 50% the movement and renamed it the Rolex Caliber 4030. This generation (nicknamed the Zenith Daytona) is where Rolex began offering more variety to the Daytona lineup including new material options like white gold. However, Rolex paired the white gold “Zenith” Daytona ref. 16519 with a leather strap rather than the customary Oyster bracelet.
The six-digit reference Daytona watches made their debut at Baselworld in 2000 where the previous Zenith El Primo movements were replaced with Rolex’s in-house Caliber 4130. The COSC-certified Caliber 4130 automatic chronograph movement has several advantages including fewer components for improved reliability, the Parachrom hairspring for increased resistance to external elements, and 72 hours of power reserve. Shortly after the release of the first batch of Daytona watches with in-house movements, Rolex added the full white gold Daytona 116509 to the range in 2004, complete with a white gold Oyster bracelet.
Rolex Daytona 116509 Timeline
1963: Rolex introduces the Cosmograph chronograph
1964: Rolex renames it the Cosmograph Daytona chronograph
1988: The modern automatic Daytona line (powered by Zenith El Primero-base movements) replaces the previous era of manual-winding Daytona
1997: Rolex introduces the first white gold Daytona model in the form of the ref. 16519 with a leather strap
2000: Rolex replaces the Daytona ref. 16519 with the white gold ref. 116519 (powered by in-house movement)
2004: Rolex introduces the first white gold Daytona with a white gold Oyster bracelet in the form of the ref. 116509
2016: Rolex offers the Daytona 116509 with a new sunburst blue dial option
2021: Rolex offers the Daytona 116509 with a new meteorite dial with black subdials
The White Gold Daytona 116509
At first glance, unknowing onlookers may mistake the silvery metallic hue of the Daytona 116509 for stainless steel — yet, connoisseurs are well aware that this particular Daytona is crafted in 18k white gold. Always committed to using the finest materials, Rolex has an in-house foundry to ensure the perfect mixture of elements to produce the best gold possible.
The Daytona 116509 is unlike any other Daytona in the Rolex catalog. From the bezel down to the Oysterlock clasp, the entire exterior of this men’s sports watch is crafted from impeccable 18k white gold. While it still maintains a masculine and powerful fit on the wrist, this Daytona’s rare all-white-gold finish earns it a spot among some of the most luxurious timepieces in the Rolex catalog.
Part of the appeal of the Rolex Daytona is that it’s so familiar since its aesthetic has remained quite consistent throughout its history. The Daytona 116509 sports the characteristic 40mm Oyster case with the screw-down crown and screw-down pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock. Its sporty look is further enforced by the three-link Oyster bracelet, which is notably heavier than the stainless steel counterpart.
However, the bracelet is supremely comfortable thanks to the Easylink system allowing the wearer to extend the bracelet up to 5mm. The ref. 116509 is topped with the tachymeter-engraved fixed bezel, which secures the scratchproof sapphire crystal in place that serves to shield the dial.
When the sunburst blue dial variation of the ref. 116509 debuted at Basel World 2016, collectors were immediately impressed with the blue hue that was unique to this newer Daytona and seemed to blend flawlessly with the white gold finish of the case and bracelet. In 2021, Rolex added a new version of the meteorite dial (this time with black subdials and baton hour markers instead of silver subdials and Roman numerals) to the Daytona 116509 catalog.
Rolex Daytona 116509 Pricing and Collectability
Retail prices for Rolex Daytona 116509 watches start at $39,350 for the silver dial and blue dial variants. The diamond-set dial Daytona 116509 is priced at $41,300 while the new meteorite dial carries a hefty $43,700 price tag.
However, anyone who has looked at the secondary market recently understands that Rolex watches boast incredible resale value. And the story is no different for pre-owned white gold Daytona 116509. Older discontinued dial variants—such as the “racing dials” with Roman and Arabic numerals start well above $40,000 while the collectible sunburst blue Daytona 116509 is currently valued at around $50,000.
As such, purchasing a white gold Rolex Daytona 116509 can be a worthy investment. Not only does the white gold finish add serious value to your watch box, but the Daytona chronograph’s design is also downright legendary.
From the 116509’s impeccable silhouette fashioned from precious metal to the supreme engine revving within, a white gold Daytona is a watch that radiates cool confidence.
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