Rolex Daytona 16568

It’s hard to imagine now but for a long time Rolex produced hardly any precious metal Daytonas, let alone gem-set ones.

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

It’s hard to imagine now but for a long time Rolex produced hardly any precious metal Daytonas, let alone gem-set ones.From its inception in the 1960s, the Daytona was considered a true toolwatch that was intended to be reliable and useful. Sure, some precious metal four digit Daytonas exist. Rolex even made 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.This 16568 from 1995 is one of the earliest among them. In fact, it is a direct descendant of the reference 6270. This baby features a 40 mm 18k yellow gold case with a matching 18k yellow-gold Oyster bracelet with polished centre links. While ‘regular’ precious metal Daytonas feature an engraved bezel with tachymetric scale, the ref. 16568 is characterised by an exquisite bezel with 24 factory-set baguette-cut diamonds. If that weren’t enough, the dial is encrusted with diamonds in a dazzling pavé setting, while the hour positions are set with lovely green emeralds.This exceptional gem-set Daytona is not only a historically important model but is in amazing condition with thick lugs, sharp lines, and a tight bracelet.

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!