Rolex Daytona “RAINBOW” 116598RBOW

The joy of Rainbows!

Rolex employ both gemologists and gem setters.

Gemologists are responsible for quality control on the stones.

Gem setters are responsible to setting the stones into the watch. 

They work together on one piece. 

Rolex gemstones must show no visible inclusions at 10x magnification. 

The tolerance for setting is no more than 2 hundredths of a millimetre, a quarter of the width of a human hair. 

This is to ensure that the stones all sit absolutely flush. 

Only natural stones are used, for the Rainbow Daytona these are:

36 baguette cut sapphires, channel set, for the bezel, 

11 baguette sapphire hour markers

56 brilliant cut diamonds for the shoulders and crown guards. 

Each sapphire is hand selected so that the stones cascade in a perfectly graduated rainbow. 

Rolex are so tight on this that the sapphire selected for the hour makers MUST MATCH the stone set opposite on the bezel. 

No match, start again. 

Many stones are discarded during this process as the colours need to be exact.

If you consider the amount of time and perfectionism that goes into the manufacture of one rainbow Daytona, you can start to understand the price-tag and rarity of the beast. 

Rolex Everose gold contains 76% gold, copper, silver and importantly, 2% platinum. 

The use of platinum stabilises the copper and ensures that the rose gold hue does not fade over time. 

This is where the “Everose” name comes from, because it stays forever rose. 

Gem set watches are not a new or modern phenomenon. 

The very first wristwatch ever made was gem set (Breguet for the Queen of Naples) and became popular in the post war era of the 1940s when people were quite rightly celebrating life and survival while giving the finger to the austerity of the war years. 

Rolex started to add typically sensible and conservative diamond markers to some of their Oyster models in the 50’s, and by the mid 60’s were producing full pave and gem set models in the Day-Date lines. 

The Daytona received its first dose of diamonds in 1984 with references 6269 (brilliant cut bezel) and 6270 (baguette bezel), both had pave dials.