Rolex Daytona 116598 SACO 'Leopard'

Nicolas Cage once said: "I am not a demon.

Museum Piece
Rolex Cosmograph DaytonaRolex started making chronographs in the 1930s, but it was only in 1963 that a named product line was introduced: the Cosmograph.

Introduction

Nicolas Cage once said: "I am not a demon. I am a lizard, a shark, a heat-seeking panther. I want to be Bob Denver on acid playing the accordion."That is probably what Rolex thought when they introduced the reference 116598 SACO at the Basel Fair in 2004. And it's probably what Nicolas Cage said to the store clerk at the Rolex boutique when he decided to purchase this watch.The 116598 SACO probably is one of the weirdest, most extravagant watches that Rolex has produced recently. The '116598' tells us it's an 18k yellow-gold Rolex Daytona. The 'SACO' tells us the bezel is set with baguette-cut sapphires (a whopping 36) in the colour cognac. If that's not enough, there are 24 diamonds between the lugs on both sides (48 in total) that cover the space between the strap and the case. Furthermore, it has eight diamond hour markers. The dial has a leopard print (black-lacquered, symmetrical spots) that's exactly the same as the print on the leather strap and inspired its nickname 'Leopard'. The 116598 SACO was not very popular from the start and Rolex produced this model in very small quantities. Popularity increased over the years but when, in 2019, the 'Leopard' got discontinued the market took off. Nowadays the 'SACO' is very sought-after by collectors and watch aficionados world wide.The 40 mm measuring case houses the automatic chronograph movement caliber 4130. The watch comes with an unused 'Leopard' strap, which is already worth €2.000, the inner and outer box and its papers dating the watch back to 2005.We understand that this is not a watch for everyone, only the flamboyant man or woman can sport this.

Description

Rolex Cosmograph DaytonaRolex started making chronographs in the 1930s, but it was only in 1963 that a named product line was introduced: the Cosmograph. In some early advertisements, Rolex referred to the watch as the ‘Le Mans’ after the famous race track in France, although the name never appeared on the dial. After a few years, the line was officially renamed Cosmograph Daytona, after the racetrack in Florida.The most noticeable difference between these Cosmograph (Daytona) models and earlier Rolex chronographs was the tachymeter scale (used for measuring distance and speed) that was moved from its traditional placement on the dial to the bezel. Furthermore, the dial was updated with the introduction of contrasting sub-dials.It's hard to imagine now, but Daytonas received little love after their release. Most Daytonas languished in dealer displays for years and only started to get noticed by Italian collectors and dealers in the late 1980s. Nowadays, Daytonas are among the most sought after Rolex models, fetching prices from $20,000 for modern ones to many millions for rare vintage references. A big contrast with the $210 list price when it was first released!