Rolex - The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN New York Saturday, December 10, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1996
    Reference No: 16520
    Movement No: D942'065
    Case No: W'942'065
    Model Name: Cosmograph Daytona “The Lesson One Daytona”
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 4030, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, stamped 78390, max overall length
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Rolex deployant clasp, stamped V4
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Rolex guarantee dated July 10, 1998, green leather envelope and product literature.
    Provenance: Rolex Daytona “Lesson One” 50 Exceptional Examples of the World’s Most Celebrated Chronograph Wristwatches, November 10, 2013

  • Provenance

    Rolex Daytona “Lesson One” 50 Exceptional Examples of the World’s Most Celebrated Chronograph Wristwatches, November 10, 2013

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 2013, the watch world was a very different landscape, the internet had empowered seasoned collectors with more information and scholarship than ever before, but social media and dedicated watch blogs had yet to make their impact on the wider world. Patek Philippe was the undisputed king of the auction room, and no Rolex Daytona had ever broken the million dollar barrier at the rostrum.

    When the Lesson One auction was announced it promised everything, a headline grabbing celebration of the Daytona’s first 50 years in 50 exceptional watches. That night in Geneva was one of the most exciting auction evenings that had ever taken place and 50 world records were set, with Aurel Bacs wielding the gavel over his carefully curated catalogue.
    The Lesson One sale changed the landscape in the field of watches, and copies of the catalogue are fiercely sought after. The 50 super-star Cosmograph Daytonas were immortalized, and the Daytona was in the million dollar club - only the third Rolex ever until that time.

    Only one tropical dial reference 16520 made the cut. Case number W942065, was presented as the very finest version the community could find, in unworn condition, with a sharp, fully proportioned case, original sticker on the case back and one of the most beguiling dials to grace this, now well-studied, reference. It is now widely known that a small batch of black dial ‘Zenith Daytonas’ exhibit an attractive colour change in their once-silver sub-dials. This color change can range from a pale latte colour through to a near complete black, known as “Darth Vader”. In the ‘Lesson One 16520’, its sub-dials have aged to a perfect, deep chocolate tone - one that is remarkably and beautifully even, with the slightly lighter tones at the extreme edges adding an extra amount of depth to dial. Unseen in public for nearly a decade, remaining complete and exceptionally well preserved, we are proud to present one of these famous 50 Daytonas at auction once again.

  • 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 rare and renowned stainless steel chronograph with richly alluring tropical sub dials, case back sticker, and original certificate

Circa 1996
40mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

$40,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $94,500

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros

Head of Watches, Americas

+1 (212) 940-1293


Isabella Proia

Head of Sale, New York

+1 (212) 940 1285


The New York Watch Auction: SEVEN

New York Auction 10 - 11 December 2022