Rolex - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI Geneva Saturday, November 5, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1995
    Reference No: 16520, inside caseback stamped "16500"
    Movement No: 87'203
    Case No: W456687
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona "Patrizzi" dial
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 4030, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped "503 B" and "78390", max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped "W4 78390"
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    First released in 1988, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona reference 16520 was the firm’s first Daytona model to feature a self-winding caliber. The reliable Zenith El Primero, considered as one of the best self-winding chronograph movements at the time, was chosen as the base which Rolex further upgraded to achieve their remarkable cal. 4030. Discontinued in 2000, it was replaced by the ref. 116520 featuring Rolex’s first in-house self-winding chronograph movement. Fitted with the last out-sourced caliber - which also put some constraints on the production, as Zenith was only able to deliver so many movements per year - ref. 16520 and is today one of the most popular Daytona references, combining the modernity 40mm case with the charm of a vintage proposition and the practicality of an automatic movement.

    While in production for about 12-13 years - a relatively short timespan - the model features a variety of dial variation (especially in its early days), each with a very specific appeal to the collector.

    The “Patrizzi” dial - exemplified by this piece - is without a doubt one of the most attractive and sought-after by collectors. In fact, it can be considered one of the most visually striking dial variations found on the model, merging the rarity and intellectual appeal of a rare dial with the unbridled aesthetic appeal granted by the darkened counters. In fact, these dials are the result of a proper defect: some batches of the varnish used at the time by Rolex present chemical instability which, due to reaction with outside agents (UV, moisture etc.) darkened over time. It appears that such a peculiarity can only be found on examples bearing a S,N,T and W (such as the present watch) serials, and only on some examples from these series not all of the production.

    As the darkening of the rings stems from a natural oxidation process, the final result varies enormously from watch to watch both in texture and in color, ranging from a light shade of tan in some cases, to near pitch-black in other. Arguably, the present watch represents one of the most appealing examples of Patrizzi dial to grace an auction room. It features an absolutely perfectly even milk chocolate hue tropicalisation, so complementary to the black dial color that one might think they are looking at the original Rolex design.

    The case condition matches, if not surpasses, that of the dial. Obviously unpolished, hardly ever worn, and still retaining plastic protection ring and green sticker, it could be used to scholarly study how a 16520 case was when it originally left the factory.

    Combining condition, looks, intellectual intrigue and absurd rarity, the present watch is without a doubt one of the most appealing Patrizzi 16520 to ever appear on the market.

  • 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"
An unpolished, extremely well-preserved and enormously attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with dark brown "tropical" dial and bracelet

Circa 1995
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF35,000 - 70,000 

Sold for CHF122,220

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East
+41 22 317 81 81

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva
+41 22 317 96 63

The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI

Geneva Auction 5 - 6 November 2022