Rolex Daytona 116500LN vs 126500LN

One thing we can all agree to is that Rolex dont change their watches drastically, rather they evolve them over time, in a way where watches don’t move away from their iconic looks and aesthetics, yet they refine them and upgrade the specifications both aesthetically and externally and also with internally with movement, the power reserve and performance.

When Rolex released the new model reference 126500LN for the Daytona last year, it was a given that the new reference will be an improvement over the outgoing reference 116500LN. And when you start to take a closer look at what are the differences, there are numerous, so subtle that you can’t notice unless you know them, yet so different and futuristic that they make the new reference 126500 a completely new watch vs the 116500LN.

To avoid confusion, the white reference dial Daytona in this comparison is the older reference 116500 while the black dial Daytona is the new reference 126500. 

When we say that the new reference 12 is an entirely different watch, we are not talking about technical specs only, we are also taking about the looks and aesthetics. To name a few, the new model comes with thinner and longer hour indices compared to the older reference that has smaller and wider hour indices, the new reference has narrower rim around the sundials compared to the older reference, and then most obviously, there’s a steel ring around the ceramic bezel in the new reference vs the older reference that has no such steel ring around the ceramic bezel.

The most important difference or aesthetical upgrade in my eyes personally is that the new reference now comes with a perfectly symmetrical case lugs, as opposed to the previous reference daytona where the case lugs were unsymmetrical i.e. the crown side lugs of the case were always a touch narrower than the non crown side lugs. Even you didn’t know this, you can check this now, and once you see it, you can’t unseen it.

There’s then some other finer differences that make the new reference a little too heftier without actually making it a bigger watch of the two e.g. the crown guards are a touch wider in the new reference:

The one on the new left is the new reference 126500LN

There’s numerous other upgrades and differences in the new reference that we’ve discussed at length in our detailed comparison video on Youtube so don’t forget to check out our 4K video on YT to find our more and finer details using the link below:


Now factoring in the technical specs like AR coated crystal internally, better lume, a longer 70 hour power reserve with the new movement etc. which one is your pick of the two? The older reference 116500LN or the new reference 126500LN?


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