A fine and very rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with “Floating Cosmograph” white porcelain dial, bracelet, guarantee and presentation box

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1989
    Reference No: 16520, caseback stamped 16500 to the inside
    Case No: R992'959
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal.4030, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped 503 and 78360 to the endlinks, max length 205 mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped M4 and 78360
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex Guarantee code-dated June, 1989 and stamped by USA retailer Bailey Banks & Biddle, product literature, factory label, Rolex service card dated May 2016, fitted presentation box and outer packaging

  • Catalogue Essay

    It is unclear why Rolex decided to produce porcelain dials at the end of the 1980s and soon stopped, though an educated guess would involved the difficulty of producing these items. The outcome is that today these pieces are outstandingly difficult to come by. Such scarcity, coupled with the ineffable aesthetic impact of the translucent dial, makes them the most fiercely hunted-down Zenith Daytona timepieces. It is truly once in a blue moon that a porcelain piece in such complete and correct condition as the present one comes to market.

    Bearing a R9 serial number and “Floating Cosmograph” dial detailed analysis of the piece fully confirms its absolute correctness, as this breakdown demonstrates:

    - Porcelain dials are found in the R serial range, then perfectly correct for this R9 example
    - Case with serial between R9 and L24 should bear movements with number between 10’000 and 15’000. The present R99 example bears movement no. 13’651
    - The fully brushed bracelet (78360) is correct - a version with polished central links (78390) will be introduced in 1991

    When analyzing the guarantee, one can notice that:
    - It correctly reads “Rolex Watch U.S.A., INC.” instead of the French wording
    - The code R16520A50B7836 fully matches the watch. The first part being obviously the reference, the A50 indicates the white dial (A30 would indicate a black dial), and B7836 denotes the 78360 bracelet
    - The stamp W RCTC to the front indicates the USA import month and year, decoded: June, 1989 - also perfectly matching what expected for this watch

  • Maker Bio

    Rolex

    Swiss • 1905

    Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

    One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

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1182

Rolex

Ref. 16520, caseback stamped 16500 to the inside
A fine and very rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with “Floating Cosmograph” white porcelain dial, bracelet, guarantee and presentation box

勞力士,「Cosmograph Daytona」型號16520,精美及非常罕有,精鋼自動上弦鏈帶腕錶,配計時功能及「Floating Cosmograph」白色陶瓷錶盤,約1989年製。附證書及錶盒

Circa 1989
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

Estimate
HK$625,000 - 1,250,000 
€70,500-141,000
$80,100-160,000

sold for HK$937,500

Contact Specialist
Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
thomasperazzi@phillips.com
+852 2318 2030

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: EIGHT

Hong Kong Auction 28 May 2019