It’s Sunday morning! To be more specific, it’s Easter Sunday. So grab a warm cup of coffee with a chocolate bunny, and get ready to vote. In this week’s Sunday Morning Showdown, we decided to revisit a battle that we have had in the past. It’s the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona against the Zenith Chronomaster Sport. But that first battle was almost two years ago. Now, dear Fratelli, the world is a different place. We have a new-generation Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, and Zenith just released one of its best Chronomaster Sport iterations. This is more than enough reason for a rematch!

An immediate question you might have is why we haven’t put two stainless steel versions of the same watches against each other. It all has to do with the new Chronomaster Sport Titanium. In our book, it is quite possibly the best iteration of the Chronomaster Sport to date, so it only made sense to put it up against the current and ever-popular Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. Would you pay the extra money to get the stainless steel Daytona that Robert-Jan will defend? Or would you “settle” for Jorg’s favorite, the monochromatic Chronomaster Sport? It’s up to both men to make their cases and you to vote.

Last week, on Sunday Morning Showdown…

But before they do, let’s look at last week’s Showdown. Daan’s Longines Legend Diver took 62% of the votes, leaving Thomas’s Seiko Marinemaster with only 38%. It’s a clear win for the Longines, and the comments section gave the same results. As a result, this was the second loss for the new Marinemaster in our Sunday Morning Showdown series. Our readers praised the Legend Diver for its good looks and COSC-certified movement. These made the vintage-inspired Longines a clear winner in last week’s battle. With that said, we move on to this week’s faceoff. It’s time for Robert-Jan and Jorg to make their cases.

Zenith Chronomaster Sport Titanium

Jorg: Zenith Chronomaster Sport Titanium

It’s fun to see that first battle between this week’s picks from two years ago. I was part of that Showdown and picked the Zenith back then. Looking back at the results, I was shocked that the Chronomaster Sport won that battle with 70% of the votes. That seems ridiculous, and I think it will be different this time. But I am here to win, so let me make a case for my favorite Chronomaster Sport. I had the pleasure of reviewing the titanium version of Zenith’s sports chronograph just a couple of weeks ago and fell in love with this lightweight version of it.

Zenith Chronomaster Sport Titanium

If you’ve read my review, you’ll know that I wasn’t immediately swept away. Sure, when I saw the pictures in Daan’s introduction article, I immediately fell head over heels for the monochromatic presence of the piece. But once I held the watch in my hands for the first time, I was unsure whether the looks had deceived me. The low weight and the rattly titanium bracelet played mind tricks on me. I am not against the use of titanium at all for watches, but there needs to be some substance to it. And this had me doubting twofold.

Zenith Chronomaster Sport Titanium on wrist

A watch that played tricks on me

First off, the overall weight is 105 grams. While not ridiculously low, it almost felt too lightweight. Secondly, Zenith has a certain 1970s charm to its bracelets. It’s a charm that you have to love for it to get a pass. And while I don’t have a problem with that regarding the stainless steel bracelet of the Chronomaster Sport, the cold rattle of titanium played mind games that need to be processed.

Zenith Chronomaster Sport Titanium dial close-up

Once I started wearing the watch, both of those initial impressions quickly faded. Within a few hours, I fell completely in love with it. The week after that, my love only grew more. I understand it’s purely subjective as the Daytona is objectively the better watch, but that makes this fascination for watches so great. In the end, it’s not about spec sheets and build quality. It is about whether a watch can conjure the right emotion, and that is exactly what the Chronomaster Sport Titanium did.

The material and colors of the Chronomaster Sport Titanium

First off, the hue of the Grade 5 titanium case and bracelet is wonderful. In natural light, there is a warmth to it that I adore. The color turns into a dark gray with a hint of warm yellow. It’s far better than stainless steel and even most titanium watches. The only watch that comes close is the Grand Seiko SBGA413 “Shunbun,” which I also love. The material color matches perfectly with the nickel-tone sunburst dial with anthracite, light gray, and silver sub-dials. It creates a look that seems monochromatic but has warmth and a lot of details that you will only see up close.

Zenith Chronomaster Sport Titanium dial close-up

The more I wore the Chronomaster Sport Titanium, the more I loved it. The presence is unique and seemingly simple, but each little detail shows ample consideration and unveils itself over time. Just look at the red details, which give the dial a bit of zing, or the sunburst dial pattern contrasted by the rhodium-plated hands and indexes with a black lacquer filling and little white Super-LumiNova plots. How about the brushed finish of the case with beautifully polished chamfers for extra visual attraction? Once again, Zenith shows how to create a stylish watch perfectly. It is exactly why I love the brand so much. The designers at Zenith know how to add style and flair to a watch like no other brand.

Zenith Chronomaster Sport Titanium movement

That style is combined with a comfortable watch with a standout movement. To start with the latter, the Chronomaster Sport Titanium is powered by the El Primero 3600 column-wheel chronograph caliber. It allows you to time things accurately to 1/10th of a second, with the central chronograph hand making a full lap around the dial in 10 seconds rather than 60. It’s a visual spectacle that I love, and it hints at the special movement that dates back to 1969 when it was among the first automatic chronograph calibers.

The Chronomaster Sport Titanium is a masterclass in style and charm.

The movement is protected by the Zenith Chronomaster Sport Titanium’s 41mm Grade 5 titanium case that is 13.6mm thick and 46.8mm from lug to lug. It’s a well-proportioned case that sits incredibly well on my wrist. Combined with that rattly bracelet, it is an absolute joy to wear. Let’s get one thing straight: I love a well-made bracelet as much as anyone. But most of all, it should be comfortable. And this bracelet is super comfortable. I love the 1970s charm of old Rolex bracelets, and that’s why different iterations of the Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675 from the ’70s are among my favorite watches ever. It seems strange that a modern watch has a similar bracelet, but what it lacks in build quality, it makes up for charm and comfort.

I said it in the review, and I’ll say it again: the Zenith Chronomaster Sport Titanium is not a watch you might rationally say yes to when spending the €12,300 it costs. But buying watches is anything but a rational experience for me. So, rationally, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona might be the better watch, and I do like it a lot. But that’s not the watch I fell in love with. That happened when I wore the Zenith Chronomaster Sport Titanium.

Robert-Jan: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ref. 126500LN

I love Zenith’s El Primero chronograph movement. It’s a marvelous piece of engineering, and there’s a good reason that Rolex (and other brands) have also used it. But the Zenith Chronomaster Sport Titanium is not for me for a few reasons, and the movement ain’t one. The design of the Chronomaster Sport is a bit of a hodgepodge, and Zenith has enough cool designs from the past that would make it a more unique watch.

Rolex Daytona Le Mans

Second, there’s the use of titanium in an expensive watch that I don’t like. This is very personal, but when I spend over €10K on a watch, I don’t want titanium. Then, there’s the color scheme of the watch, which is very pale. It’s all gray on gray, and the tiny touches of red do not change this. Again, I love Zenith and the El Primero calibers, just not this watch. So, for me, it’s an incredibly easy choice, the Rolex Daytona.

Enter the Daytona

One of the key elements for a watch to become timeless or “iconic” is consistency. Rolex is the prime example of living by this rule. The brand only makes minor changes to its models. That’s why they are so recognizable, whether it’s a Datejust, Day-Date, Submariner, or Daytona. We see the same with other brands, but it is often limited to a couple of models (Royal Oak, Santos, Speedmaster, Navitimer, etc.)


The Rolex Daytona was just revamped last year, but the current Daytona design goes back to 1988. Before that, the Rolex Daytona was a 37mm hand-wound chronograph. In 1988, Rolex introduced a new design for the Daytona with a new self-winding movement based on the Zenith El Primero. In 2000, Rolex started to use in-house-developed chronograph movements, and in 2016, the ceramic bezel entered the line. All other changes were very minimal. The current version is my favorite Daytona in steel (I slightly prefer the gold models), and last year’s adjustments to the bezel, case, dial, and bracelet can still be seen as simply an evolution of the model. The thing that did not change was the availability.

The perfect fit

The Rolex Daytona has a 40mm diameter and a very modest 11.9mm thickness, making it a comfortable watch for most wrists. It also might explain why I see the Daytona on many female wrists. On top of that, the bracelet is no comparison to the Zenith Chronomaster Sport. You need to appreciate the 1970s build quality when you buy that Zenith. Rolex bracelets were a few steps behind compared to other brands for a long time, but this changed drastically in the past 10–15 years.

No shortcomings?

Aside from the insane waiting time for a steel Rolex Daytona, there’s only one thing I don’t care for concerning this model — the screw-down pushers. They brought some “body” to the 37mm versions, but on the post-1988 models, I feel they’re a bit unnecessary. I wore an 116520 briefly, and I also had an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 26300 chronograph that suffered from the same issue. I never used the chronograph function because of this. It turns the chronograph into a design feature rather than a complication/function. I’ll give the Zenith bonus points for that, but otherwise, I prefer the Daytona.

Cast your vote!

It is up to you now, Fratelli! Which do you prefer? Is it the titanium Zenith Chronomaster Sport with the iconic El Primero chronograph movement or the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona at retail price and available immediately? Cast your vote, and share your motivations in the comments section below.

Zenith Chronomaster Sport Titanium vs. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona