Rolex - The 2021 New York Watch Auction New York Saturday, December 11, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1989
    Reference No: 16520
    Case No: R992’879
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona, “Floating Cosmograph”
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 4030, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, stamped 78360, endlinks stamped 503, max overall length 220mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp stamped 78360 and M5
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex Guarantee dated 28 December, 1989, punched and signed Hope Brother’s Watch Co., Taipei Taiwan, green leather Rolex presentation box, hang tags, product literature and outer packaging.

  • Catalogue Essay

    In celebration of the Daytona’s 25th anniversary, Rolex released at Basel in 1988 the first self-winding chronograph model in their history. The technically innovative reference 16520 was powered by an automatic Zenith El Primero caliber, which was substantially modified by Rolex. At the time of the launch, the reference became a cult classic and garnered an immediate waiting list at Rolex retailers. This milestone timepiece has become a collectors’ favorite, with the early and rare “R” series chronographs like the present 16520 particularly sought after for their unique place in horology.

    First generation chronographs like the present chronograph featured several design changes which helped evolve the Daytona over the course of its long and prestigious history. As opposed to later white dial 16520s that feature a more matte appearance, these early examples feature a highly lacquered, glossy surface. The black graphics were printed on top of the dial, giving it a three-dimensional effect, and the label moniker set eccentrically apart from the first four lines of text. Another small detail on early models was the “inverted 6” on the lowest subsidiary register. The reference was the first Daytona to be fitted with a sapphire crystal, and with a larger case diameter measuring 40 millimeters, which was equipped with the rare 200 graduation bezel.

    Rolex’s Cosmograph Daytona is one of the most iconic and cherished wristwatches for collectors today, and its evolution is legendary. Over its 65-year plus lifespan, it has become revered for its classic design, durability, and strong masculine appeal. This reference, 16520 is preserved in nearly new condition, featuring its sharp factory finishes preserved throughout. The chronograph features the original factory sticker on the caseback, and is accompanied by its original Rolex guarantee, having been retailed in Taipei Taiwan, dated 28 December 1989. It is interesting to note the guarantee is punched with the correct country code, 440, for Taiwan.

    The present lot is a rare opportunity to own an early, complete, and rarely seen variant of the iconic Daytona in wonderful overall condition.

  • 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
An extremely well-preserved and attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with 'floating' logo and bracelet, with original punched guarantee, presentation box, and hang tags

Circa 1989
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

$80,000 - 160,000 

Sold for $163,800

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros

Head of Watches, Americas

+1 (212) 940-1293


The 2021 New York Watch Auction

New York Auction 11 - 12 December 2021