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Although ceramic bezels are now ubiquitous among Rolex sports watches, there are still some Rolex Daytona chronographs with metal bezels. If you’re looking for a modern Rolex Daytona watch (we define “modern” as the six-digit generation of the Daytona) with a metal bezel rather than a Cerachrom one, here’s our guide to what they are.

Rolex Daytona with Metal Bezels
Rolex Daytona ref. 116519 in White Gold

Yellow Gold Rolex Daytona Watches with Metal Bezels

When Rolex debuted the brand new Daytona generation in 2000, all the watches were equipped with the in-house made Caliber 4130 automatic movement. As most of you will remember, the automatic Daytona generation prior to this one ran on Caliber 4030, which was based on the famed Zenith El-Primero movement.

The full yellow gold version introduced in 2000 was the Daytona ref. 116528, sporting the familiar 40mm case with two screw-down chronograph pushers flanking the screw-down winding crown. The 18k yellow gold case features a yellow gold bezel engraved with a tachymeter scale and this particular Daytona reference is fitted with a yellow gold Oyster bracelet. A detail worth noting with the Daytona ref. 116528 is the design of the tachymeter scale. If you look closely, you’ll see that the engraved numbers are thin, are accompanied by circular markings, and are all oriented in the same way when looking at the watch straight on.

Yellow GOld Rolex Daytona with Leather Strap
Rolex Daytona 116518 with a leather strap

That same year, Rolex introduced the Daytona ref. 116518, which was another yellow gold model with a metal bezel but fitted with a leather strap rather than an Oyster bracelet and a different tachymeter scale design. The gold bezel on the Daytona 116518 includes fatter fonts, triangular markings, and the numbers follow a circular path orientated towards the center of the dial. (Side note – this bezel design was based on the one used on the previous gold/leather “Zenith” Daytona ref. 16518 from the 1990s). It’s important to point out that the now-discontinued Daytona ref. 116518 shouldn’t be confused with the current-production Daytona ref. 116518LN. While they share similar reference numbers the Daytona ref. 116518 has a gold bezel and leather strap while the Daytona ref. 116518LN has a Cerachrom ceramic bezel and black Oysterflex bracelet. 

Finally, in 2016, Rolex replaced the ref. 116528 with the ref. 116508 as the current-production full yellow gold Daytona model. The biggest difference between these two models is that the Daytona ref. 116508 has the bezel with the triangular markers and the wider numbers pointing outwards.

White Gold Rolex Daytona Watches with Metal Bezels

The first six-digit Daytona in 18k white gold that Rolex released in 2000 was the Daytona ref. 116519 with leather straps. Like the previous Daytona ref. 16519, the then-new Daytona ref. 116519 also included a white gold bezel engraved with a tachymeter scale with the numbers facing outwards rather than straight.

Rolex Daytona "Beach" in Yellow
The Daytona “Beach” models sported bright dials and straps

Alongside the Daytona ref. 116519 watches in more classic colorways like black and tan straps paired with silver and black dials, Rolex also offered colorful versions with dials and exotic straps in vibrant shades such as yellow, turquoise, pink, and green. Directly targeted to women, these colorful white gold Daytona ref. 116519 watches picked up the nickname “Daytona Beach.” Yet again, note that the discontinued Daytona ref. 116519 is different to the current-production Daytona 116519LN with a black Cerachrom bezel and black Oysterflex rubber-coated bracelet.

The ref. 116509 was the first Daytona with a white gold bracelet

A few years later in the mid-2000s, the very first white gold Daytona with a matching white gold Oyster bracelet made its debut in the form of the Daytona ref. 116509. The white gold Daytona ref. 116509 is still in production today, complete with the 40mm case topped with the tachymeter-engraved white gold bezel with the outward-facing numerals style layout.

Everose Gold Rolex Daytona with Metal Bezels

In 2008, Rolex released the Daytona ref. 116505 as the very first 18k rose gold Daytona. However, this was not just run-of-the-mill rose gold but rather, Everose gold, which is Rolex’s proprietary rose gold alloy that promises to never fade.

The Daytona 116505 fashioned from Rolex’s proprietary Everose gold

Similar to the other full gold models in yellow and white, the Everose gold Daytona ref. 116505 features a 40mm gold case, gold bezel, and matching gold three-link Oyster bracelet. Following in the footsteps of the full white gold Daytona, the Everose Daytona 116505 also includes the tachymeter scale with outward orientated numbers and triangular markings. The ref. 116505 is still a part of Rolex’s current catalog and one of only a handful of Daytona chronographs with a metal bezel rather than a ceramic one

Two-Tone Rolex Daytona with Metal Bezels

The two-tone Daytona ref. 116523 was part of the inaugural Daytona collection fitted with the in-house Caliber 4130 movement launched in 2000. The combination of gold and steel on a Rolex watch is officially known as Rolesor and this classic Rolex metal combination has been a part of the Daytona lineup since the 1980s.

Note the straight number layout on the tachymeter scale

Identical to all the other six-digit reference Daytona models with metal bracelets introduced in 2000, the two-tone Daytona ref. 116523 featured the tachymeter scale with circular markings and straight numerals. However, in 2016, Rolex replaced the 116523 with the Daytona ref. 116503 with the tachymeter scales featuring the outward arranged numerals and triangular graduations.

Interestingly, the two-tone Daytona is the only Daytona still exclusively fitted with a metal bezel (without the option of a ceramic one). When and if Rolex will change that in the near future with a Cerarchrom Rolesor Daytona model remains to be seen.  

Stainless Steel Rolex Daytona with Metal Bezel

Along with the yellow gold, white gold, and two-tone Daytona models launched in 2000, Rolex also presented the stainless steel Daytona ref. 116520. Only available with a white or black dial and a stainless steel Oyster bracelet, the Daytona ref. 116520 became an instant hit.

Rolex no longer makes a steel Daytona with a metal bezel

Akin to the full yellow gold and Rolesor Daytona watches of the era, the stainless steel Daytona ref. 116520 also had the classic bezel style with slimmer fonts, circular accents, and a straight number layout. In 2016, Rolex discontinued the Daytona ref. 116520 and replaced it with the Daytona ref. 116500LN with a black Cerahcrom bezel. Therefore, the Daytona ref. 116520 is the only stainless steel Daytona model from the in-house Caliber 4130 generation with a metal bezel.

Six-Digit Rolex Daytona References With Metal Bezels

Below is a summary of all the six-digit Daytona models featuring metal bezels.

Daytona
Ref.
MaterialProduction
Date
Tachymeter
Layout
116528Yellow Gold Case
Yellow Gold Oyster Bracelet
2000 – 2016Straight
116518Yellow Gold Case
Leather Strap
2000 – 2015Outward
116508Yellow Gold Case
Yellow Gold Oyster Bracelet
2016 – PresentOutward
116519White Gold Case
Leather Strap
2000 – 2015Outward
116509White Gold Case
White Gold Oyster Bracelet
2004 – PresentOutward
116505Everose Gold Case
Everose Gold Oyster Bracelet
2008 – PresentOutward
116523Yellow Gold & Steel Case
Y. Gold & Steel Oyster Bracelet
2000 – 2016Straight
116503Yellow Gold & Steel Case
Y. Gold & Steel Oyster Bracelet
2016 – PresentOutward
116520Stainless Steel Case
Stainless Steel Oyster Bracelet
2000 – 2016Straight
The tachy-engraved metal bezel is classic to the Daytona chronograph

In total, Rolex has made nine Daytona references with both the in-house Caliber 4130 and a metal bezel. Although not all of them are still in production today (only four of them are) the discontinued versions can of course be sourced from the secondary market. While there are plenty of Rolex watch fans that appreciate the look and practicality of the newer Cerachrom ceramic bezels there is still plenty of love for classic Daytona chronograph with matching metal bezels.

Written by

Celine Simon

Celine is a freelance luxury watch writer who has enjoyed working in the horology industry for over ten years. Like many of the high-end timepieces she writes about, she comes from Switzerland—the heart of fine watchmaking. From Singapore to Montreal to Geneva to Dubai, Celine has lived all over the world but now calls Southern California home.