Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIX featuring the Guido Mondani Collection Geneva Saturday, May 11, 2024 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1989
    Reference No: 16520
    Case No: R782917
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 4030, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, max length 190mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex guarantee dated April 29, product literature, original receipt, tag, service guarantee, presentation box and outer packaging.

  • Catalogue Essay

    In celebration of the Daytona’s 25th anniversary, Rolex released its first self-winding chronograph model, the reference 16520, at Baselworld 1988. Technically impressive, it was powered by the automatic Zenith El Primero calibre, which was substantially modified by Rolex. Over the years, this milestone timepiece has become a collectors’ favorite, with grail examples such as the early and rare “R” series chronographs like the present watch.

    Indeed, while reference 16520’s popularity has increased dramatically in the past years, few automatic Cosmograph Daytonas are as beloved as the first-generation models ‘R Series’. As opposed to later white dial 16520s that feature a more matte appearance, these early examples feature a lacquered, glossy surface, a so-called “porcelain” dial. The black graphics is printed on top of the dial, giving it a three-dimensional effect. Furthermore, the Cosmograph script sets further apart from the first four lines of text, as if floating in the middle of the dial. Of particular note is the “inverted 6” on the 6 o’clock subsidiary register, highly appreciated by collectors today. The reference 16520 was the first Daytona to be fitted with a sapphire crystal, and with a larger case diameter measuring 40 mm, which was equipped with the rare 200 graduation bezel. Later examples would have a bezel calibrated to 400 units.

    One of the most iconic and cherished wristwatches by collectors today, the Cosmograph Daytona distinguished itself for its classic design, durability, and iconic appeal. The present lot is a rare opportunity to own an early example complete with its full set of accessories including a correct satin finished bracelet and preserved in honest and good overall condition.

  • 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.

    View More Works


Ref. 16520
A rare and attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with "porcelain" dial, bracelet, guarantee, presentation box and outer packaging

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

CHF60,000 - 120,000 

Sold for CHF95,250

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Deputy Chairman, Watches, Head of Watches, Europe, and Middle East

+41 79 637 17 24

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva

+41 79 460 55 88

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIX featuring the Guido Mondani Collection

Geneva Auction 11 - 12 May 2024