A very fine, rare, and pristine chronograph wristwatch with "tropical" sub-registers, original guarantee, and presentation box

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1994
    Reference No: 16520
    Case No: W’366’038
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 4030, 33 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, end links stamped 503B, max length 220mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel deployant clasp stamped 78590
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by the original Rolex chronometer certificate and guarantee indicating this watch was purchased on March 9th, 1998 in Memphis, Tennessee, along with an appraisal from the vendor also dated March 9th, 1998. It is further accompanied by the original product literature, hang tags, inner and outer boxes.
    Literature: For another example of a reference 16520 Daytona with tropical registers, please see The Ultimate Daytona by Pucci Papaleo, pp. 556-559.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rolex thrilled the public at the 1988 Basel Fair by introducing the first self-winding chronograph model in its history. The newly launched reference 16520 was powered by a derivative of Zenith's El Primero caliber, though substantially modified by Rolex. It was the first Daytona to be equipped with a sapphire crystal and featured a new, larger case incorporating crown guards for the first time and measuring 39mm.

    The launch of the 16520 was an immediate success, resulting in unprecedented demand that would require clients to have to wait as long as seven years to purchase one. This was quite in contrast to the initial lukewarm response of the manually-wound Daytona, first introduced in 1963.

    As is the case with many other Rolex models, and part of what makes collecting vintage Rolex so exciting, there are subtle variations to the reference 16520 that can significantly increase its collectability. The present example possesses one of the most desirable traits, a pleasing aging to the sub-dials, nicknamed "tropical", seen only within a certain range of serial numbers. It is believed to be the result of a production defect, with the paint not properly resisting the effects of the UV rays in sunlight and exposure to oxygen, therefore changing color. This desirable defect is not present or possible in all reference 16520s, and are typically only found in black dial, stainless steel examples from between 1993 and 1996. An exceptional example for the connoisseur, it remains in truly “new old stock” condition, having never been worn and still retaining the original stickers on the case and bracelet as delivered by the factory. Furthermore, the present watch is fresh-to-the-market, consigned by the original owner.

  • Maker Bio

    Rolex

    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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Rolex

Ref. 16520
A very fine, rare, and pristine chronograph wristwatch with "tropical" sub-registers, original guarantee, and presentation box

Circa 1994
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.

Estimate
$30,000 - 50,000 
CHF29,900-49,800
€26,100-43,400
HK$235,000-392,000

sold for $68,750

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas
+1 212 940 1293
pboutros@phillips.com

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New York Auction 5 December 2018