Rolex Daytona 16520Sold
Rolex Daytona 16520
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Everyone is well aware of the collectability of vintage four-digit Daytona references and of course we are quite familiar with the unavailability of modern ceramic Daytonas at Rolex dealerships. But the venerable 5-digit Daytona is the true sleeper hit.In 1988, Rolex finally retired the vintage 6xxx series Daytonas with the hand wound Valjoux movement and acrylic crystal. Instead, it introduced the completely revamped ref. 16520 Daytona. This second-generation iteration was updated to a modern 40mm case with sapphire crystal and a heavily modified Zenith El Primero self-winding movement.The Zenith-powered Daytonas were produced for just a decade until Rolex, finally we might add, introduced its first in-house chronograph movement in 2000. Due to their short production run, the Zenith Daytonas are in relatively short supply.This reference 16520 dates back to 1999 and is one of the very last iterations of the Zenith Daytona. A hallmark of these later-series 16520s is the use of (non-radioactive) Luminova luminous compound on the dial and in the handset (as evidenced by the “Swiss Made” marking at the 6 o’clock position), as opposed to the (radioactive) tritium compound used on earlier versions.This beauty features a glossy white dial with black sub-registers and comes on a sporty Oyster bracelet with the center polished links and a secure fliplock clasp. The watch is in excellent condition with thick lugs, sharp lines, and a tight bracelet.
Rolex 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 were 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 $15,000 for modern ones to many millions for rare vintage references. A big contrast with the $210 list price when it was first released!