Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XII Hong Kong Saturday, June 5, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1987
    Reference No: 16520
    Movement No: 11’094
    Case No: R938’755, inside caseback stamped “16500”
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona, "Proto"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 4030, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped “78360”, end links stamped “503”, max length 185mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped “M5”
    Dimensions: 40mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by a written verification by Mr. Pucci Papaleo and a copy of the “Daytona Perpetual” book.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Since the birth of the Rolex Daytona, the unlimited possibilities of the phenomenal chronograph became a true global sensation and captured the hearts of many enthusiast. Sculpted with rigorous attention to detail and precision, the quest of creating an identity for each revolutionary phase of a model is the key to Rolex’s immense success.

    The face (dial) of a watch is nothing less than a true métier d’art with great artistic expertise and authenticity. Stepping at the forefront between the wearer and the mechanical movement, the dial has to communicate all information with strict legibility requirements, hours, minutes, seconds, date and meters within one canvas no more than 30mm. The choice of typography and unobstructed balance demands huge impact in the performance of a watch, especially for tools such as the legendary Daytona.

    Enter the prototype that occupied its lifetime on workbenches of dial maker Singer, such as the present specimen of extreme rarity. Striped down to the bear minimum, the white canvas laid important grounds for the core foundation of the three-registered chronograph. According to scholars, only three variants of such are known, which all belong to the Zenith-based production of the cal. 4030. Fabricated for deep studies and professional usage by the firm for chronometer testing in forming the holistic vision of the Daytona, these dials are of extreme rarity and are true “wonder” of its kind.

    The present dial belongs to the lot of COSC dials that Mr. Pucci Papaleo photographed in 2018 for the publication of the “Daytona Perpetual” book, which features similar details of the example that is illustrated in the book on page 119. Widely recognized as “Mr. Daytona”, the Italian scholar, collector-turned-author began his study of watches before this topic was broadly considered an area of study. Prior to his focused expertise on Daytona, Mr. Papaleo was interested in early Rolex and Patek Philippe chronographs, by the end of the 1980s, his attention and appetite grew stronger and stronger on chronographs of the Swiss manufacturer, Rolex, and particularly, the Daytona. Regarded as one of, if not “the”, most influential man in the world of vintage Daytona, his intricate study and scholarship are orchestrated in multiple opuses such as “The Ultimate Rolex Daytona” and the “Daytona Perpetual” that is delivered with the present lot.

    Presented in an extremely attractive condition and representing a new dawn of the Zenith Daytona, the present lot makes its first debut public appearance. It is also accompanied with a written verification from the scholar himself, Mr. Pucci Papaleo, stating that the present dial is a similar example of the one illustrated in the “Daytona Perpetual” book, confirming the Singer provenance.

  • 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 historically important stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with “prototype dial” and bracelet

Circa 1987
40mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

HK$800,000 - 1,200,000 

Sold for HK$1,890,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XII

Hong Kong Auctions 5-6 June 2021