126509 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

As a vintage lover, I like the Le Mans as much as the next guy. But one thing saddens me. It feels like we’re seeing the slow, steady extinction of the solid caseback. And solid casebacks are never cooler than when made in precious metal. Solid gold and platinum casebacks have been disappearing from brand catalogues one-by-one for years now, all Daytona appears to be heading that way as well. I felt obliged to bid farewell this morning with one of the best solid white gold casebacks, and also precious metal Daytonas, of the last decade. It’s not had its praises sung by John Mayer, the bezel isn’t ceramic, and there’s no Oysterflex or meteorite. And that’s part of why it’s perfect.

The second part takes more explaining. A white gold Daytona is inherently an oxymoron. This is a chronograph made to time motorsport, to do things, but in soft gold. Here’s why that makes sense . . .Rolex has slowly shifted in the past two decades from a watchmaker aimed towards professionals to a luxury goods manufacture, a Chanel for men only thinly veiled by their tool watch advertising and rather immense heritage. This will become apparently clear when you hold a Day-Date with a day wheel that reads ‘Eternity’ and date wheel that shows a panda emoji. I’m all for playfulness, but call a spade a spade. Many of the precious metal Daytonas stray too far over to that side of the house. This one acknowledges it, without going overboard.

The 126509 is still hanging on to those final bastions of Rolex’s heritage, definitely referencing the 6265 while also proudly embracing the modern era in white gold. Most notably, with a white gold caseback. This is a watch you can engrave with your son or daughter’s name. That means something. It is also the most robust type of caseback, which is befitting of a professional’s chronograph. Many have been discussing this as an alternative to the Le Mans. It isn’t. It is it’s own unique blend of subtle, solid caseback, bracelet, and classic aesthetic. Particularly if you think ceramics are for pottery. It is opulence for you and you alone, plus a good excuse to celebrate the non-display, white gold Daytona caseback. A solid Cosmograph, all around.

This example is pretty much ideal. No marks visible. Full set, from a well-regarded Belgian retailer. It’s modern, made last year and probably not worn, there’s not much more to say than that.