Rolex - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIII Hong Kong Thursday, November 25, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1994
    Reference No: 16520
    Movement No: 86’947
    Case No: S988’825
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona “Darth Vader”
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 4030, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet stamped 78890, endlinks stamped 503B, max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster deployant clasp stamped S10
    Dimensions: 40mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex guarantee stamped Shimamine Kanagawa Japan dated 2nd June 2000, instruction manual, product literature, Rolex Japan service quotation, 1994 -1995 calendar card, 2000 – 2001 calendar card, green card holder, hang tags, plastic bezel protector, 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 is 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 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona ref. 16520 “Darth Vader” with an “S” serial from circa 1994 falls into the rare batch. One of the more attractive examples seen in recent times, the intense tropicalization of the registers have aged consistently and uniformly. Adding to its attraction, the present example is complete with its full set of accessories as well as its green sticker on the caseback still intact. With the growing demand and value for the reference, this highly rare example will surely be a delightful timepiece to add to a fine collection of important timepieces.

  • 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 very rare and attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with “tropical” registers, bracelet, guarantee and presentation box

Circa 1994
40mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, bracelet and clasp signed

HK$320,000 - 640,000 

Sold for HK$1,033,200

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2031

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIII

Hong Kong Auctions 25-26 November 2021