OK, I have a bit of catching up to do in this thread, so here goes. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
My previous Steven Seagal sugar-drink comparison wasn't entirely spot-on for the "DEEPSEA" colour, but it conveys my opinion of the watch closely enough, and I stand by my initial reaction. I'm not the biggest fan of the 116660 model in the first place, but it's still very disappointing to see Rolex putting a novelty dial on a stainless professional model. The fade-to-black thing isn't too high on the gimmickry scale compared to some of the joke watches out there, but the conglomerate-owned brands and the novelty-watch assemblers set the bar quite low. This sort of thing harms Rolex's design integrity, in my opinion.
Dino summed things up nicely, and I agree entirely with his assessment:
I also favour chronographs, so I might be a bit biased. But here's my take on the two models.
Despite the Daytona being the default choice for many — not only worn by some of the least-discerning, but also a consistent favourite among watchmakers and serious collectors — it's difficult to beat the overall package that it offers. The versatility and wearability is fantastic, and the design is all chronograph. I have no hesitation about taking mine in water, and do so regularly. There's absolutely no need for a diving-specific model unless you're planning on welding things on the bottom of the North Sea... and that's mostly done by robots these days.
There just aren't many chronographs, if any, that offer its combination of slimness, movement quality, water resistance, and versatility. The 4130 is both refined and reliable, and though it's a sports movement that isn't about elaborate decoration, it is flawlessly and precisely finished. It's certainly not the rarest or fanciest chronograph available, but it's very solid watch for actually wearing if you like the style.
The chunkier Sea-Dweller is a bit more of a niche watch due to its thickness, but it's essentially a Submariner, which is the another default choice. Even more so than the Daytona, almost everyone with even a passing interest in watches has heard of the Submariner, but it's still very well-regarded among those who know their stuff. I think that the current Submariner is among the best divers' watches available, but prefer the satin dial, slimmer lugs, and raised crystal of the Sea-Dweller.
The raised crystal gives it a distinctive profile compared to the Submariner:
Many companies make larger fashion divers, but it's substantial watch by reasonable standards, and the density is noticeable. I'm glad that Rolex resisted the temptation to ruin it by bloating the case and turning it into another oversized fashion fashion watch. The 39 mm Explorer, the 42 mm Explorer II, and the "II' versions of the Datejust and the Day-Date are more than enough.
Despite their obvious differences, there are some fundamental similarities between the Daytona and the Sea-Dweller. I'm sure that many people buy either one strictly as jewelry, but in essence, they're meant to be durable, functional watches. I'd consider either to be uncompromised; even if they're not always worn as such, the Daytona is a pure chronograph, and the Sea-Dweller is a pure diver's watch. They both have a raised and beveled crystal, which gives them a resemblance to the classic acrylic models that none of the other models have. I would consider either to be a no-excuses watch .
Here they are side-by-side. I wouldn't say that one is better than the other; it's strictly a question of personal preference.
Fine, but if I had to pick one?
I'd lean toward the Daytona as well, just because I'm irrationally attracted to chronographs, and because the 4130 movement is unique to the model. But find that I wear the less-shiny Sea-Dweller more often. Although either could serve as an only watch, I prefer them as a secondary alternative to something more subdued. An older Zenith-movement Daytona with brushed lugs and an all-brushed bracelet would be more of an everyday wearer for me.
I've found that either can be a bit over-the-top at times. (Mind you, my taste in watches is exceptionally curmudgeonly and I tend to think that everything new sucks.) If I had to choose only one watch among my current ones it would be the plexi GMT, as it's less blingy than the Daytona, less bulky than the Sea-Dweller, and can be reasonably understated with a faded black insert.
That said, I have no regrets about either. Just pick whichever one suits you best.
Thanks, it's now in Oslo with an appreciative owner. It's a quality watch, it's but it just wasn't really my style. As soon as the Girard Perregaux central-minutes chrono arrived, I picked it over the Reverso every single time because I prefer the way the GP looks and fits. I'm much happier that someone is getting some wear out of that JLC instead of having it languishing in some box. Getting rid of stuff you don't use kicks ass.
I like normal-sized original designs in stainless steel, and although I have nothing against outsourced movements if they're suitable for the watch (whether it's an ETA in a basic watch, or a beautifully-decorated JLC movement in a Royal Oak), I don't like when companies misrepresent their watchmaking abilities or obfuscate their movements' origins. I also like my watches to have a specific niche without too much overlap, so I found the GP and JLC to be redundant, despite one being an automatic chronograph and the other being an 8-day hand-wound GMT. No point in having a watch that doesn't get used, especially when it's a complicated one from a Richemont company.
For some perspective on what I actually wear, here's a photo of a few I had sitting around recently; it's incomplete (the new Sea-Dweller, a couple of GMTs, and other watches are missing) but it should give you an idea of what I like. The Speedmaster is a friend's; I temporarily swapped for a GMT II. It's easily my favourite current Omega and I would gladly have one, but having three chronographs is enough of a maintenance obligation for now.
To be honest, I could part with any of them except the plexi GMT and the GP; those two are a bit special to me, and more than enough for any realistic situation. For sentimental reasons, the Sinn chrono will always stick around — also because it's just really good at being a stress-free wristwatch without any bullshit. I like the others fine, but when it comes down to it, they're replaceable and/or forgettable.
Having more than two or three decent watches probably isn't a good idea for normal people, anyway. Really, a single well-chosen watch that complements the wearer's style is more than enough.
Nice post Belli