Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV Geneva Friday, November 5, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1996
    Reference No: 16520, inside caseback stamped "16500"
    Movement No: 107'293
    Case No: W903311
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona "Tropical Dial"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 4030, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped "503B" and "78390" to the endlinks, max length 195mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped "V4" and "78390"
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex punched Guarantee stamped by German retailer Hollfelder and dated September 7, 1996, Rolex Service Guarantee card dated July 15, 2003, calendar card for the years 1996/1997, product literature, green document holder, Rolex "faux seal" hangtag, fitted presentation box and outer packaging.

  • Catalogue Essay

    An instant success since its very launch, the ref. 16520 continues to achieve premium results at auction with an ever growing community of admirers. Thanks to its increased diameter (40mm, 2.5mm more than the previous Daytona iterations) and the important technical detail of being the first automatic Daytona made, it is considered as one of the most important sports watches ever produced.

    With that said, even though the Zenith Daytona Cosmograph dazzles in its entirety, some stars shine brighter than the rest - such as the famed tropical (or “Patrizzi”, after the scholar who first noticed this quirk) dials, whose white chapter rings tend to darken over time due to a defect in some specific batches of paint. Patrizzi dials are usually found on S,N T and W serial numbers (thus, on watches made between circa 1993 and 1996), thus just a small part of the production of ref. 16520, however, adding to their rarity, not all watches produced during this time range eventually develop tropical chapter rings. Since the discovery of this particularity in 2005, the fame and appeal of these watches have never stopped growing.

    The present example of “Patrizzi” Daytona from circa 1995 bearing a “W” serial is offered with its full set of accessories and in very honest overall condition. The uniform tropicalization of the registers is at the moment in its initial stages - the chapters having acquired a light ivory hue - thus there is the likelihood for the process to progress through the years, granting the new owner of this formidable watch ever increasing delight.

  • 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, inside caseback stamped "16500"
A highly sought-after stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with tropical chapter rings, bracelet, guarantee and presentation box

Circa 1996
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF25,000 - 45,000 

Sold for CHF42,840

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East Director

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV

Geneva Auction 5 & 7 November 2021