Rolex Daytona 16568 'Emerald Dial'

Museum Piece
Feast your eyes on the pioneer among contemporary gem-set DaytonasFrom its inception in the 1960s, the Daytona was considered a true toolwatch that was intended to be reliable and useful.
Feast your eyes on the pioneer among contemporary gem-set Daytonas

From its inception in the 1960s, the Daytona was considered a true toolwatch that was intended to be reliable and useful. Sure, a fair number of precious metal Daytonas were made in the 1960s until the 1980s. Rolex even produced two gem-set variations, the exceedingly rare references 6269 and 6270. Yet, it was only after the introduction of the first automatic Daytona in 1989 that Rolex began adding gem-set Daytonas to its line-up as regular production models.

The ref. 16568 is one of the earliest of the modern gem-set Daytonas. In fact, it is a direct descendant of the ref. 6270. This beauty from 1996 features a 40 mm 18k yellow gold case with a matching 18k yellow gold Oyster bracelet with polished center links. While ‘regular’ precious metal Daytonas feature an engraved bezel with tachymetric scale, the ref. 16568 is characterized by an exquisite bezel with 24 factory-set baguette-cut diamonds. On top of that, the dial is encrusted with diamonds in a dazzling pavé setting, while the indices feature lovely vibrant green emeralds.

This exceptional and historically important watch is in wonderful condition with a sharp case and 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 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!