Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: X Hong Kong Friday, July 10, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1995
    Reference No: 16520
    Case No: W666’997
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona “Darth Vader”
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 4030, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped “78390”, endlinks stamped “503B”max length 205mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped “W3”
    Dimensions: 40mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed
    Accessories: Further accompanied by Rolex guarantee dated 14th October 1995 stamped Caronel Inc Guam, instruction manual, product literature, 1994-1995 calendar card, green passport holder, green wallet, hang tag, outer packaging and fitted presentation box.

  • Catalogue Essay

    First released in 1988, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ref.16520 was the firm’s first Daytona model to feature a self-winding caliber. As the brands first, the reliable Zenith El Primero based cal. 4030 was considered as one of the best self-winding chronograph movements at the time. 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, the ref. 16520 commands a higher value today and is very popular among collectors and enthusiasts in the market.

    With most examples of the reference commanding a formidable value today, various series such as the present example command an even higher value than its standard counterparts. In the manufacturing process of the dial, one of the factors contributing to the unique “tropical” effect lays on the varnish used at the time by Rolex, Zapon. Applied on top of the silvered registers, the varnish for some examples were not applied equally. In 2005, acclaimed Italian auctioneer noticed a difference in the color of the register originally silver whilst putting together an auction and despite its natural imperfection, the watch was sold for double its estimate, hence examples bearing a S,N,T and W serial with “tropical” brown registers received the attention from collectors. However, usually witnessed with lighter shades of brown, a few examples that has surfaced in the market featured registers in much darker “espresso-like” hue earning its nickname the “Darth Vader”. Extremely rare as these imperfections are natural occurrences, most examples feature an ununiformed change in hue, making examples that are uniformed extremely desirable and scarce.

    The present example is perhaps one of the most well-preserved and original examples to have appeared in recent times. Engraved in between the lugs bears a W serial number indicating its production in 1995. The registers have developed a darker hue in uniformed fashion with clean outer rings indicating that the registers were not deliberately applied to create such effect. Adding to its attraction it is accompanied by the original guarantee dated 14th October 1995 with a calendar card of the years 1994 – 1995.

  • 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
A fine, well-preserved and rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with “tropical” registers, bracelet, guarantee and box

Circa 1995
40mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

HK$400,000 - 800,000 

Sold for HK$1,312,500

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi

Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2031


The Hong Kong Watch Auction: X

Hong Kong Auction 10 July 2020