A rare Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watch has currently set a new world record, selling for nearly £2.61 million, including fees. The platinum Daytona Reference 16516, encapsulating a unique lapis lazuli hard-stone dial was the showstopper at Sotheby’s auction held in Hong Kong.
Since its inception in 1963, the Rolex Daytona has successively become the holy grail for watch enthusiasts. And this one rare iteration attained an entirely new label as “historically important and possibly unique” from Sotheby’s.
The watch was initially estimated to fetch £411,061 – £822, 132 Pound Sterling. But it was like a bolt from the blue when the Daytona Reference 16516 captured £2.60 million at auction. It exceeded the high pre-sale estimate by over three times, smashing a new record for automatic Daytona watches.
No doubt, the £2 million was not enough to beat the world record for all Rolex Daytona watches. For instance, the iconic Paul Newman Rolex Daytona fetched about £14.15 million in October 2017 at Phillips auction. As the name implies, the watch was Paul Newman’s own Daytona that housed a manual-wind movement.
Nevertheless, the £2.60 million price sum is also impressive. So, what is so special about this Daytona?
According to the auction house, the Reference 16516 is the only known Cosmograph Daytona that flaunts a lapis lazuli stone dial. Rolex is alleged to manufacture this watch in 1999 when automatic Zenith El Primero movements powered all Daytona versions.
So the watch runs on the famous automatic Calibre 4030 movement of 31 jewels. However, what makes it historically more significant is the fact that the Reference 16516 is supposed to be one of a handful of platinum timepieces manufactured in the year.
According to Sotheby’s, Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watches encased in platinum are extremely rare. He further stated –
“While Rolex produced automatic Daytonas only in stainless steel, yellow gold, white gold, and steel and gold for many years, it has now been confirmed that one very lucky customer was given a unique masterpiece in 1999 and it is rumoured that the late Patrick Heiniger, the famous CEO of Rolex, himself wore a platinum automatic Daytona.”
The platinum case encapsulating the exclusive lapis lazuli hard-stone dial amplifies the unambiguous appeal of the watch. Besides, the dial is furnished with a vibrant turquoise calf strap that features a folding clasp in platinum.
Furthermore, the 40mm platinum case comes with a screw-down caseback and the engraving “XII 1998” along with the number A171132.