Rolex Daytona 16528 'Floating Cosmograph'

This yellow-gold Daytona is some serious piece of watch history!Rolex finally retired the vintage 6xxx series Daytonas with hand-wound Valjoux movement and plexi crystals in 1988 and replaced them with the new and completely updated 16xxx series Daytonas.

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

This yellow-gold Daytona is some serious piece of watch history!Rolex finally retired the vintage 6xxx series Daytonas with hand-wound Valjoux movement and plexi crystals in 1988 and replaced them with the new and completely updated 16xxx series Daytonas. Up until the introduction of these new models, Daytonas weren’t very commercially viable. The 16xxx Daytonas were Rolex’ very first automatic chronographs. The watches also looked decidedly modern, with a larger 40 mm steel case, crown guards, and a sapphire crystal. It was all it took for the Daytona craze to begin.This 18k yellow-gold ref. 16528 dates back to 1988, the very first year these modern Daytonas were produced. 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 L- or R-serial numbers, which were only produced from 1988 until early 1990. The lovely black dial has nice cream colored tritium-filled markers and matching tritium-filled hands. The watch case is in amazing condition and the bracelet is impeccable and as tight as the day it left the store. Finally, this Daytona comes with the original box.

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!