Rolex Daytona 16520 'Roberto Baggio'

 75.000
  • Free worldwide delivery

What is the watch an Italian football legend would wear? A Rolex Daytona of course. As it happens, we have gotten our hands on that very same watch once owned by Roberto Baggio.

One of the most gifted playmakers the game has ever seen, Roberto Baggio’s impeccable skill and flowing locks—earning him the nickname Il Divin Codino (the Divine Ponytail)—graced the football pitches of Europe and our television sets throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. Baggio’s importance during Juventus’ 1992-1993 season (which included winning the 1993 UEFA Cup) earned him the prestigious Ballon d’Or and the FIFA Player of the Year 1993 title. Yet, there were professional disappointments as well. For instance, when Baggio shot a decisive penalty high over the bar during the 1994 FIFA World Cup final, yielding the title to Brazil. Nevertheless, Baggio is regarded as one of the finest players the game has ever seen.

Italians are not only known for their footballing qualities but also for their love of everything stylish, which of course includes watches as well. In fact, Italian collectors laid the groundwork for the Daytona hype in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a time when Rolex’ sporty chronograph received little love from the general public.

Around that time, Baggio bought two early 16520 Daytonas. One with a black dial and another white one. Numerous pictures from the 1990s show Baggio wearing these watches during his most successful playing days. Ultimately, Baggio would gift the Daytona with the black dial to his friend and Juventus team mate Gianluca Francesconi, who in turn would put it up for auction in 2021.

We’re proud to have acquired that very watch and, boy, is it a stunner. The watch, an L-serial from 1990, features some of the most desirable hallmarks from these very early ref. 16520 Daytonas. One of the first things that stands out is the five lines of text on the upper half of the dial. These L-serial Daytonas from 1989 and early 1990 usually feature dials with four lines of text, with the five-line dials appearing in later serial ranges. However, this particular watch was photographed on Baggio’s wrist in the early 1990s, indicating that it is a very rare but correct L-series configuration.

Another characteristic of these early Daytonas can be found on the lower chronograph sub-register, which features an ‘inverted 6’ that actually looks like a 9 when worn on the wrist, a detail that would be changed in 1993. Finally, the watch features the desirable MK II bezel with the 200, 225 and 250 markings around the three o’clock position.

This reference 16520 is in excellent condition and comes on its original stainless steel Oyster bracelet. The watch is not only an opportunity to own a desirable and early version of the sapphire Daytona, but also one that is closely linked to one of the greatest football players of all time. To ensure the integrity of the watch, it is accompanied by a provenance letter signed by Gianluca Francesconi.

Introduction

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!

Specifications

Shipping

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.