Rolex Daytona, everything you need to know

Published on Saturday 26th of February 2022
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Rolex Daytona, everything you need to know

Initially created and designed for the stars during the space race the Rolex Daytona found its home on the race track, being rebranded and becoming the go-to watch for the modern racing driver. The Daytona took its name from the Daytona International Speedway after Rolex became the official timekeeper in 1962.


Firstly lets take a look at the Chronograph functions, primarily on the Rolex Daytona ref 116500LN models, although all functions will be the same just dial configurations may look slightly different on some models, such as the Zenith Rolex Daytona ref 16523.

Rolex Daytona Black Dial
Rolex Daytona Black Ceramic Dial 


The hour and minute hands are located in centre of the dial, the longer one displaying the minutes and the shorter one for the hours.


The second hand is a little different as with many watches this is located with the hour and minute hands but on the Rolex Daytona 116500LN this is located in one of the sub-dials located on the 6o’clock side of the dial.


The hand that is located from the centre and is usually considered the second hand is actually a chronograph hand and does not move unless the function is being used. This function is used and controlled by the pushers which are on the side of the watch case at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock positions. The pusher at 2 o’clock is used to start and stop the chronograph hand and the pusher at 4 o’clock is used to reset the chronograph hand.


The sub dial located at 3 o’clock on the watch is a 30 minute register. This works in conjunction with the chronograph hand and each time that hand moves 60 seconds, the hand on the 30 minute timer will move one step (representing a minute up for each movement up to 30 minutes).


The sub dial located at the 9 o’clock side of the watch shows the hours that have passed from when the chronograph started to be used. This is used with conjunction of the 30 minute timer and the chronograph hand. Once the 30 minute timer has completed a full rotation the hand on the hour register will move one half step between the markers. Recording the time for up to 12 hours before being reset to 0 again.


On the Rolex Daytona Zenith (picture below), due to the watch having a different movement, the functions are exactly the same but the sub dials are located in different positions. The second hand sub dial is located at the 9 o’clock position, the 30 minute register is located at the 3 o’clock position and the hour register is located at the 6 o’clock position. Regardless of the reference and where the sub dials are positioned the functions of the watch remain the same.

Rolex Daytona Zenith
Rolex Daytona Zenith


The Rolex Daytona has the iconic Tachymeter bezel, this is used primarily to measure speeds. This bezel must be used in conjunction with the chronograph hand. At the start of the distance you want to measure the speed of (such as a mile, kilometer or lap of a race track), press the pusher located at 2 o’clock to start the timer. Then as you cross the finish line press the pusher once again. The chronograph hand will be pointing at a number on the tachymeter bezel, the number this hand is pointing to will display the average speed it took to cover the distance. To use this feature again press the pusher located at the 4 o’clock position.


To set the time on your Rolex Daytona simply unscrew the crown and pull it out to the first notch before rotating the crown until the hands show the desired time. Finally push the crown back in and screw it back up to seal the watch.

How to set your Rolex Cosmograph Daytona from Rolex on Youtube


Looking for a pre-owned Rolex Daytona?

Looking for a pre-owned Rolex?


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