Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT Geneva Saturday, November 10, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1988
    Reference No: 16520, caseback stamped 16500 to the inside
    Movement No: 11'608
    Case No: R'782'863
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona "Floating"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 4030, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, end links stamped 503, max length 190mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 39mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex presentation box and outer packaging.

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1988, the Daytona turned 25 years old. Rolex decided to celebrate the occasion with a model which immediately captivated the attention of the public. The first self-winding chronograph model in the history of the company was introduced, the landmark reference 16520. The model is powered by a derivative of Zenith's El Primero calibre, substantially modified by Rolex. It was the first Daytona to be equipped with a sapphire crystal and a new larger diameter of 39mm.

    The launch of the reference 16520 was an immediate success, resulting in unprecedented demand which translated into years-long waiting lists for clients. Without a doubt, the reference 16520 elevated the Daytona to its current mythical status.

    This example is part of the famous 'R' series from the first year of production in 1988. As expected, the watch is fitted with the highly sought-after black glossy dial featuring the floating "Cosmograph" signature and it also retains its original calibrated bezel graduated to 200 units per hour. The floating dial presents a very unusual graphic layout with the Cosmograph designation markedly separated from the other four lines of text. Not only are its aesthetics striking, but it furthermore represents the link between four-line and five-line dials.

  • 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, caseback stamped 16500 to the inside
A fine, rare and early stainless steel automatic chronograph wristwatch with "floating Daytona" dial and bracelet

Circa 1988
39mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for CHF57,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: EIGHT

Geneva Auction 10-11 November 2018