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Rolex debuted the Cosmograph Daytona line back in 1963, with the Ref. 6239. And for the next 25 years, these watches were all fitted with manual-winding movements. The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116520 was introduced in 2000 at BaselWorld Fair. And this watch represented the first completely new in-house movement that Rolex has designed in more than 50 years: the fully-integrated self-winding chronograph function called calibre 4130. This calibre was the result of years of development and was designed to improve accuracy and reliability of the Daytona. The calibre 4130 is a self-winding mechanical chronograph movement, C.O.S.C. certified with a 72-hour power reserve. It offers 28.800 alternations per hour at 4Hz.
The Ref. 116520 was produced from 2000 until 2016, when the part-ceramic 116500LN debuted in 2016. The exterior of the Daytona 116520 is very similar to the previous Ref. 16520. The dial also features text on 5 lines, with the words “OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED”; it has a regular 6, graphics are in baton style. The dial bears the words “SWISS MADE” at 6 o’clock due to the use of Luminova (the previous “T’s” for tritium have disappeared). However, there were some subtle but important changes made, for example the moving of the seconds counter from 9 o'clock to 6 o’clock. The indexes are larger and the counters are now silver plated. The hands are thinner for the P to F series (from 2000 to 2004), what we now call “Slim Hands”. As legislation changed, and indexes were no longer composed of Tritium (a radioactive element), which continuously glows in the dark, but instead of Superluminova that recharges itself after being exposed to light.
On the early series of Ref. 116520 white dials (especially on P and Y series), the varnish turned to a yellowish version, given the “Cream” or “Panna” nickname to the dial. Specifically in this watch the dial has a very accentuated and beautiful cream color. Other small differences are the slightly longer lugs and polishing on the top side of the case instead of the brushed finish. Apart from small variations according to the period, the tachymetric bezel of the steel 116520 remains the same: graduated from 60 to 400 units, the phrase “UNITS PER HOUR” is located at the 1 o’clock position and “240” is noted. The serial number is engraved between the lugs at 6 o’clock in the traditional Rolex style. The first series of bracelets bear the model 78490: the bracelet has a polished shiny central link and satin polished exteriors. It is originally constructed with 13 links.