Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Stainless Steel: Hands-On Review [116520 Black]

Hands-On Review: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Stainless Steel ref. 116520 (Black) - Rolex Daytona sitting on its supplied box

Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel Review

Hands-On Review: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Stainless Steel [116520 Black]

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Stainless Steel is perhaps one of the most desirable luxury watches in the world and one of the most recognisable chronograph watches along with the Omega Professional Speedmaster. It is renowned for Rolex purposefully limiting the supply to increase its scarceness and thus maintain a high value.

Hands-On Review: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Stainless Steel ref. 116520 (Black) - Sitting on green rolex box
Daytona Stainless Steel ref. 116520 (Black) Review – Sitting on Rolex Box

Of all the Daytonas it’s the stainless steel variants that are the most highly sought after and hardest to acquire – being highly prized by watch collectors. The completely stainless steel Daytonas come in just two colour options with either a Black or White-faced dial.

The Cosmograph Daytona was designed with a clear purpose in mind – to be a robust reliable watch that is able to measure and calculate an elapsed period of time accurately, and to make an average speed calculation with the use of a tachymeter bezel. It accomplishes this feat with the assistance of the Rolex calibre 4130 that beats at 28,800 vph and is composed of 290 parts. Where’s the design of most luxury watches is to be as complicated as possible with the highest number of parts – the Daytona is a tool watch and is built to keep good time even after taking a beating. Inside it contains 44 Jewels and has an approximate power reserve of 72 hours, which decreases to a total running time of 66 hours with the chronograph function running.

The 4130 Caliber movement used in the Daytona was the first in Rolex’s history to use ceramic ball bearings for the automatic winding process. These tougher bearings mean the watch will require less maintenance, and will be more reliable compared to the normal steel ball bearings.


The Rolex Daytona in Stainless Steel comes supplied with a small green Rolex box, the bigger boxes being reserved for the watches constructed from precious metals. The 40mm wide case diameter is water-resistant to a depth of 100m and features a solid case back. The pusher buttons and Triplock crown also screw in to help defend the internal from intruding water.



The bracelet is of the Rolex Oyster variety, with links on the side being brushed, and centre links being polished which draw focus from the eye to the dial of the watch. It has an Oysterlock double-locking deployant clasp that acts as a safety to keep the watch sturdily attached to the wearer’s wrist. And a 5mm Easylink extension link that allows small sizing adjustments to be made without the need for any tools.

On the face of the dial, the tachymeter remains highly legible despite the polished finish. And each hour baton is crafted from stainless steel and has a Chromalight luminescent fill added to it, in addition to the hour minute and second hands. The chronograph function is presented on three sub-dials with the 30 minute sub-dial located at the 3 o’clock mark, the seconds at 6 o’clock and hours at 9 o’clock. Each of these are raised above the plane of the main dial and are rimmed by silvered rings, each sub-dial being of the same colour as the main dial. The Rolex crown sits at the top of the dial as the 12 o’clock marker and beneath it, these famous words are applied over the black dial in crisp white characters:




And beneath it above the seconds sub-dial in red lettering the hallowed text ‘DAYTONA’.
In the small details right at the bottom of the dial are the words ‘SWISS MADE’, over which is a laser etched Rolex crown inside the sapphire crystal. That is to reaffirm and remind of the high-quality swiss parts used throughout.

The Verdict

The classic Daytona is the watch for the person who has it all, and should be present in any serious watch collection. Being one of the most iconic watches of all time and up there with the Omega Professional Speedmaster with how universally recognisable it is. As far as chronographs go – it’s the gold standard.

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Stainless Steel (ref. 116520) is considered by many as Rolex’s finest creation and is perhaps their most desirable watch. If you are interested in buying one they can be brought from our shop from here

Rolex Daytona Stainless Steel (ref. 116520) Photo Gallery:

Watch Specs:

Brand Rolex
Series Cosmograph Daytona Stainless Steel
Model Number 116520 Black
Size Mens
Case Material Stainless Steel
Dial Color Black
Bracelet Stainless Steel Rolex Oyster
Clasp Folding Clasp With Safety Latch
Movement Automatic – Chronometer
Bezel Fixed
Screw-down Crown Yes
Crystal Scratch Resistant Sapphire
Case Back Solid
Water Resistance 100m/330ft
Diameter 40mm

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