The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is one of the most popular models from the luxury brand. You’ll have a hard time finding someone selling their Daytona 116500LN, making the timepiece more elusive and expensive. As an alternative, people often go for the more affordable Omega Speedmaster.
In terms of functionality, design, and reliability, they don’t differ much from each other. If you’re having a hard time choosing which of the two iconic luxury watches to buy, take a look at their comparison below.
The Rolex Daytona
In 1963, the first model of the Daytona was launched as a watch designed for professional driving use. It was known as Le Mans and not Daytona back then, although Rolex decided to change the name to the latter to emphasize the watch’s connection to professional racing.
In 1965, Rolex introduced the Ref. 6239 model with distinctive dials that differ from the usual chronograph watch design. It proved to be too exotic that limited numbers were produced for this model. But the appreciation of the race car driver Paul Newman for this unusual watch created a demand that made the timepiece the most sought-after Daytona model from Rolex.
Jay-Z, John Mayer, Victoria Beckham, Jonah Hill, and Kevin Hart are some of the celebrities who own a Rolex Daytona.
- Higher movement precision
- Available in a wide range of color combinations
- More prestigious brand
- Good lume brightness
- Power reserve of up to 72 hours
- Water-resistant up to 100 meters
- No date window
- Less legible compared to the Speedmaster
The Omega Speedmaster
The first Speedmaster was launched in 1957 as part of the brand’s Professional trilogy collection which includes the Seamaster and the Railmaster. During this time, Omega already had a reputation for creating reliable chronograph watches ahead of other luxury brands, including Rolex.
The Speedmaster is also the first chronograph watch to be equipped with a tachymeter bezel. This has now become a standard in modern chronograph watches.
Popular celebrities who own a Speedmaster are Tom Hanks, Daniel Craig, Ron Howard, George Clooney, and James Corden.
- Highly legible watch face
- Affordable chronograph watch
- Great lume brightness
- Wide variety of style options
- Power reserve of up to 48 hours
- Water-resistant up to 50 meters only
- Less accurate compared to the Daytona
- No date window
Head-to-Head: Daytona vs Speedmaster
To filter the watches to compare, we’ll be using the Speedmaster 318.104.22.168.01.005 and the Cosmograph Daytona 116500LN models.
The Speedmaster is made of stainless steel with a solid case back. It measures 42mm wide and 14.3mm thick.
The Daytona, on the other hand, is made of 904L stainless steel with a solid case back. It measures 40mm wide and 12.2mm thick.
The Speedmaster’s black bezel is made of stainless steel with a fixed tachymeter scale.
The Daytona also has a black bezel with a fixed tachymeter scale, except that it’s made of Monobloc Cerachrom.
The Daytona has a screw-down crown, while the Speedmaster has a pull/push crown.
The Speedmaster has index hour and minute markers. Both the hands and the markers are coated with luminescent material.
The Speedmaster features three chronograph subdials with 60-second, 30-minute, and 12-hour scales. A hesalite crystal protects the interior elements of the watch from dust and scratches.
The Daytona, on the other hand, has a lacquered black dial with minute markers on the outer rim and index hour markers. Its hands and hour markers are all coated with luminescent material.
The Daytona has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal protecting the three chronograph subdials with 60-second, 30-minute, and 12-hour scales.
The Daytona has a Rolex Calibre 4130 automatic movement with a power reserve capacity of 72 hours. Its Superlative Chronometer has an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day.
On the other hand, the Speedmaster houses an Omega Calibre 1861 manual-winding movement with a 48-hour power reserve capacity. It has an accuracy of -4/+6 seconds per day.
The Daytona features the usual stainless steel bracelet with an Oysterlock clasp. The Speedmaster, on the other hand, has a stainless steel with a deployment clasp.
The Speedmaster is rated with 50-meter water resistance, while the Daytona is water-resistant up to 100 meters.
The Speedmaster is priced at $4,500 to $5,500 – way cheaper than the Daytona’s valuation at $25,000.
The Speedmaster and the Daytona don’t differ that much in terms of design, functionality, and reliability. They may have differences in the available variety of color combinations, but that’s all there is to it. The chronograph function, dial layout, and accuracy are almost the same, which is why many people always compare the two models.
The biggest differentiator between them is the price. You can buy at least 3 Speedmasters for the price of one Daytona.
If you’re a collector who aims to invest in luxury watches, the Daytona will definitely fetch a higher price in the future because of its rarity and prestige. But if you need a high-quality chronograph watch that you can use every day, the Speedmaster is the better option to purchase.