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Why We Love It
The Reference 16520 ushered in a new era for the Daytona Cosmograph model. For the first time, Rolex’s flagship timepiece utilized an automatic winding movement sourced from legendary Manufacture Zenith. These so-called “Zenith Daytonas” were produced for about a decade, and while they were replaced by a virtually identical model featuring an in-house manufacture movement, this first generation of automatic Daytonas has reached a cult-like status with collectors today, and values are beginning to see real traction. Given the astronomical prices that earlier variants have brought at auction, there is little doubt that this trend will only accelerate in the coming years.
In keep with this notion of appreciation, some examples of the first series in-house models (Reference 116520) have developed a unique and desirable characteristic- cream toned dials that have aged from their original crisp white. This particular example shows early signs of that highly coveted cream color, referred by collectors as a 'Panna' dial. This form of dial patina is truly awe inspiring when fully developed, and we have no doubt that this piece will continue to get better with age.
In outstanding unpolished condition with an intact case back sticker, this example also comes complete with its inner and outer boxes, books, tags, and completed papers from March, 2002.
Grab this one year only transitional model now!
The Daytona Story
The Rolex Daytona. King of the chronographs!
Rolex first started experimenting making chronographs in the 1930s – first known as Cosmographs – which set the mold for what would ultimately evolve into the single best-known chronograph in the world. These early watches, like many chronographs of the period, had monochromatic dials and a tachymeter ring printed on the outer edge of the dial.
The design of the Cosmograph gradually changed its dial configuration (a shift from monochrome to the "panda" color schemes now closely associated with the model), and a relocation of the tachymetric scale to the bezel, which made it a clear sportsman's watch. In 1964 Rolex added the name Daytona to the model (taken from the 24 Hours of Daytona Race which Rolex started sponsoring in 1962), and its motorsports association was cemented.
The earliest Daytonas relied on that well known manually-wound workhorse movement - the Valjoux 72. But in 1988 Rolex released a Daytona using Zenith's El Primero movement, making the Cosmograph Daytona now worthy of the appellation "Oyster Perpetual." These "Zenith" Daytonas have gained serious traction over the past decade on the vintage chronograph market, with potential to appreciate in value to lofty heights.
Still, Rolex has never been the sort of brand to rely on off the shelf parts for long, so when the Reference 116520 debuted in 2000 at Basel World, it made headlines. This led to the eventual introduction of the current production model, Reference 116500LN, fitted with a black ceramic bezel that is arguably the most in-demand sports watch on the planet.
Whether your taste runs to Pre-Daytona Cosmographs, hand-cranking Valjoux 72 powered models from the 1960s-1980s, or an Automatic Zenith or In-House model, a Rolex Daytona is quite simply a world-class chronograph with a righteous amount of pomp and circumstance justifiably included.
Stainless steel case is approximately 39mm (excluding the crown). Rolex automatic chronograph movement. Rolex Reference 116520. Circa 2000.
Overall Condition: The case is in excellent condition throughout, showing only light wear from gentle use and no signs of polishing. Factory green case back sticker remains intact. Luminous white 'Panna' dial is in fantastic condition with light cream color developing, white gold Luminova indices and matching handset. Signed Crown.
Includes stainless steel Oyster bracelet with signed deployant clasp (78490/SEL). Also includes inner and outer boxes, books, COSC tag, serialized hang tag, and completed papers dated March 2002 from JR Dunn Jewelers.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options