Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: NINE Geneva Saturday, May 11, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1994
    Reference No: 16520
    Case No: S'414'587
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 4030, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped "503 B" and "78390" to the end links, max length 195mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped "S 12" and "78390"
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex punched guarantee dated February 1994 and presentation box with outer packaging

  • Catalogue Essay

    When released in 1987, reference 16520 marked the first foray of Rolex into the realm of automatic chronograph wristwatches. The success of the model was overwhelming, and it helped spark the interest of the collecting community even for its manual ancestors.

    Today, a serious Rolex collection can not be considered complete without an example of the “Zenith” Daytona (so called because the automatic calibre was supplied by Zenith and then modified and finished by Rolex), and the model is constantly increasing in popularity. Over time, scholarship on the reference has expanded, and some iterations - such as the “Floating” ones, or the porcelain dials, or the “Four Liners” - have come to be recognized as supremely collectible timepieces. The most visually striking among these “next level” Zenith Daytonas is arguably the “tropical” variation, perfectly exemplified by the present timepiece. The result of defective batches of paint delivered to Rolex in the mid-1990s, these timepieces sport white chapter rings which over time turned brown. The process - and its result - is influenced by a multitude of factors, such as the batch of paint, the exposure of the dial to light, and so on. Thus, the final result is unique for each piece, with sometimes, such as in this instance, striking surprises. The chapter ring of this specimen in fact tropicalized unevenly and today they feature an incredible “tie-dye” effect to the tropicalization.

    Such an unusual and attractive dial, combined with the presence of the original box and Guarantee of the watch and its overall superb state of conservation, renders the present timepiece one of the most collectible and fascinating examples of tropical 16520 to ever grace an auction room.

  • Artist Biography


    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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Ref. 16520
A fine and very rare stainless steel automatic chronograph wristwatch with tropical chapter rings, bracelet, guarantee and box

Circa 1994
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF20,000 - 40,000 

Sold for CHF52,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+ 41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: NINE

Geneva Auction 11-12 May 2019