Rolex Daytona 16520 'Porcelain Floater'

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1988 was the year that Rolex stirred things up when it comes to the Daytona line. The introduction of the second-generation Daytona, with an automatic Zenith movement, heralded a new era for this model.

It all began with references 16520 (stainless steel), 16523 (stainless steel and 18k yellow gold) and 16528 (18k yellow gold). The 165XX had a Zenith-based automatic movement instead of a manual-winding movement, a sapphire crystal instead of a plexi crystal and a 40 mm case with crown guards instead of a 37 mm case.

We are happy to present you a very early and special 16520. First of all, the earliest 16520s are called 'Floaters'. Characteristic of these highly collectible early five-digit Daytonas is the floating ‘Cosmograph’ text, which appears to be printed separately from the preceding four lines of text on the dial. This peculiar detail only occurs on Daytonas carrying R-serial or L-serial numbers, which were only produced from 1988 until early 1990.

Secondly, this watch doesn't have a regular plain white dial but a porcelain face. It is not really made from porcelain, it rather looks like porcelain because of the milky-white color and high-gloss finish of the lacquered and varnished dial surface. Rolex produced these porcelain dials for the Rolex Daytona 16520 and some Datejust references. Since it's quite an expensive and extensive operation, Rolex discontinued the porcelain dials quickly. Hence, we mostly see this type of dials from 1988 up to the early 1990s.

Furthermore, the watch has an L-serial number, which is the second series of the Zenith Daytona and very rare as it was only produced from 1989 to early 1990. It came after the R-series which is well known for its 'Floating Cosmograph' dial. However, there is a limited batch of transitional versions, like this one, with an L-serial and 'Floating Cosmograph'.

Finally, this specimen has the correct MK I bezel. This is the first execution which was graduated from 50 to 200 and has the 'Units per hour' text at the three-hour position. It also comes on the correct 78360 Oyster bracelet, which has the brushed finish and 503 end links. The L-series on itself is very rare thanks to its short production but when it has this unique combination of a 'floater' with a Porcelain dial, the MKI bezel and correct bracelet it is extremely rare.

This beauty dates back to 1989, is in very sharp condition and ready to be picked up by a collector.


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!



Packages are generally dispatched within 2 days after receipt of payment and are shipped within the Netherlands by Registered Mail through the Dutch carrier PostNL and for other countries by Fedex. Consult us if you prefer another method of shipping. For most destinations tracking is available.