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

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1995
    Reference No: 16599
    Movement No: 192'972
    Case No: W'057'366
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona
    Material: 18K white gold, diamond and sapphires
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 4030, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Rolex leather strap
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K white gold Rolex deployant clasp stamped "16519" and "X"
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Gem-set timepieces are without a doubt one of the pinnacles of the field. Representing the merging of watchmaking with the hallowed field of high-end jewellery, they are also extremely rare. While nowadays, when the collectors’ community has recognized the scarcity, aesthetic impact and overall importance of these items, such rarity is the direct result of the output limitations imposed by the highly labor-intensive production process of these pieces, in less recent times the motivation was different.

    Bejeweled timepieces have historically been relegated to the compartment of ladies’ pieces, and consequently for most of the past century they were small, refined creations. Virtually no watchmaking company produced gentlemen pieces with diamond set cases. At most, we can find refined tuxedo creations with white cases and subtle diamond-set markers.

    Rolex was in fact one of the first to break the taboo and fit a professional watch with gems: in the 1980s, they produced two extremely limited series of diamond-set Daytona: reference 6269 and reference 6270 - both series thought to be a commission from the Sultan of Oman.

    In the 1990s they decided to keep on experimenting with gem-set pieces, with reference 16599 being one of their most appealing and collectible results. Sporting hooded, gem-set lugs, a completely diamond pavé dial with sapphire markers, and bezel set with 36 baguette-cut sapphires, the timepiece is a hymn to exclusivity and craftsmanship. Not only the setting is - as expected by Rolex - superbly well executed, but furthermore the contrasting white/blue color scheme manages to imbue such a suave and elegant creation with a somewhat sporty vibe, true to the vocation of the Cosmograph line.

    The 1990s, however, were still the “dawn of collecting” intended in the modern sense, and the public had yet to recognise the importance and appeal of this kind of timepieces. This, combined with the hefty price tag of the items, resulted in an absurdly limited output for such objects, which are today counted among Rolex’s most elusive creations. It is speculated that about 5 pieces such as the present watch ever left Rolex’s workshop.

    Having resided in an important Italian collection since the late 1990s, the present watch is offered in unpolished condition. This W example is one of the earliest specimen of the reference to be produced, and as such it correctly features silver subsidiary counters, instead of the golden ones sometimes found on late production pieces. A final details which will appeal to the purist collector, is the presence of the green Rolex sticker to the back. While mostly faded, the reference number 16599 is still unmistakably distinguishable.

  • 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. 16599
An impressive, exquisite and extremely elusive white gold, diamond and sapphire set chronograph wristwatch

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

CHF100,000 - 200,000 

Sold for CHF226,800

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