Friday, April 28, 2017

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 16520 – Daytona Zenith, How rare is it?

S/N T XX 1328
Super Lucky Number

Time Check Report.

History of 16500 series

No one would disagree that Daytona in stainless steel could be the new Vintage Rolex. Daytona is the name that everyone want one in Rolex an you may have to wait for 1 year to get a Black dial Daytona in steel.

Rolex was able to re-launch the trend of chronographs: a philosophy that would quickly turn this watch a number one collector’s item one as all we know the black one is much rarer than white.

Rolex Daytona is transforming itself from Manual winding into a new automatic chronograph, waterproof up to 100 meters in 1988.


Daytona Family 16500

Daytona model Produced in stainless steel, steel and gold, and 18K gold, with metal bracelet and bezel, Rolex assigned a specific reference number to each model according to the material of construction: 16520 is the stainless steel model, 16523 is the two tone steel  and gold model and 16528 is the yellow gold model.

In 1992, Rolex added two new brothers into its family: in 1992 ref. 16518 in 18k Gold and leather strap; in 1997 Ref. 16519 in white gold and leather strap.

New Movement

The major change was the creation of the new movement caliber 4030, based on caliber 400 Zenith which was renowned as the best industrial chronographic movement on the market at the time. Rolex performed about 200 modifications to reach their rigorous productive standards, such as the replacement of the reversing wheel and the elimination of the data indicator.



Oyster, screw-down push buttons; Oyster Triplock 700 series winding crown, calibrated metal bezel, sapphire crystal. Dimensions: Cases’s diameter = 40 mm; height= 12.6 mm.


Color contrast between dial and registers track, dial indexes and registers track edge in metal, Printing on dial: ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL, certification of official chronometer (COSC), COSMOGRAPH DAYTONA in red above the hour totalizer and waterproof up to 100 mts (330 ft). Luminous material was tritium at first, Superluminova was used later after 1998.



Rolex Caliber 4030 (base Caliber Zenith 400 El Primero), 31 jewels, 28800 beats per hour, 54-hour power reserve, Kif shock absorption; bi-directional rotor, fine regulation via Microstella screws; Breguet balance-spring; non-stop seconds function; official chronometer with C.O.S.C. certification.


The Zenith Daytona Variations

The 165xx series was produced from 1988 through to 2000 and is often referred to as the Zenith Daytona as it used a third party movement from Zenith, the Zenith El Primo movement.  This series carried the model number 165xx (the xx varies based on the style, such as white gold, stainless steel, leather strap etc).  The most famous of this series is the 16520 which is the stainless steel version.


How rare is your Daytona Zenith?

During the production of the 165xx series there were many minor tweaks to the watch, while minor in appearance they have resulted in a big difference in terms of collector demand and market value.

Namely these are some of the number that you can take it for reference.

Production year

1988 to 2000, total 12 years

Total number of Zenith Daytona made 184,700 (figure obtained from a senior official from Rolex)

As an average, there were 15,390 per years.

From Series number of Rolex

1988 R598200, 1989 L980,000 – there were 381,000 watches made in 1988

1993 S000,001  1994 S860,880 – there were 860,880 watches made in 1993 (double production from 38,000 to 860,880 in 5 years time.

1997 U000,001 1998 U932,144, there were 932,144, Rolex increased production capacity from 860,880 to 932,144 in another 5 years from 1993 to 1997.

So as an average , I assume the production of 500,000 a year from 1988 to 2000 so total Rolex watches made between 1988 to 2000 is 6,000,000

So the Total percentage of Rolex Daytona made is 184,700/6,000,000 that is 3%.

I assume the ration of full gold, Two tone and steel Daytona in Ratio of 2,3, 1.

So the total percentage of Daytona Zenith steel is 0.5% the total number of Rolex watches made.

And from what we got we have seen one Black dial and 4 white amongst 5 Rolex

So the Number of Daytona Zenith Black dial is just 0.1% of the total Number of Rolex Watches made…

So if you have a Healthy Daytona Zenith… Keep it. As this will be the King of Appreciation…amongst of all Rolex watch… as we know Rolex will not use any Zenith Daytona anymore…


Price Reference

Recent Sotheby’s Auction on 5 Apr 2017 in HK

Past Lot 2069

Ref 15620 a Stainless Steel Automatic Chronograph

Estimate 78,000-100,000

Lot  Sold 118,750 HKD

Past Lot 2070

Ref 16520 a stainless Steel Automatic Chronograph

Estimate 80,000 to 120,000

Lot Sold 118,750 HKD

Note that you have to pay 25% more as Commission.


So What is preferred?

  1. Full Set preferred
  2. Black Dial
  3. Tritium dial
  4. Mint or excellent condition.
  5. Stainless watch
HK Snob

PS. The attached Daytona Zenith carries a very Lucky
Number T XX1328

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