102 Rolex Extremely Rare, Special and Exceptional, Daytona, Automatic Wristwatch in Steel, Blue Damask Prototype Dial, With Box, Papers and Bucherer Confirmation Letter, Reference 116 520

Estimate: €50,000 –⁠ 100,000

Sold (Premium)€214,500

Model: Daytona
Reference: 116 520
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Bracelet Material: Stainless Steel
Year: 2002
Movement: Automatic
Caliber: 4130
Case N°: K373292
Dimensions: 40 mm
Signed: Dial, Movement and Case
Accessories: Box, Warranty, Booklets, Bucherer Confirmation Letter, Tag and Additional Dial

The Cosmograph Daytona was launched in 1963 and initially designed primarily for professional racing drivers, but quickly became a widely popular icon. From its beginnings in the 1960s until 1987, the Daytona was manufactured exclusively with manual winding. From 1988 to 2000, Rolex switched to automatic movements, which resulted in the legendary Zenith Daytona with the calibre 4030. What most people do not know is that this transformation also affected the dials of the Daytona and led to numerous variations. Stepping at the forefront between the wearer and the mechanical movement, the dial has to communicate all information with strict legibility requirements, hours, minutes and seconds. Many of these variations are only minimal and not important for the majority of the wearers but they absolutely are for collectors: “Floating Dials”, “4 Liner”, “Inverted 6” or “APH Dial”, these are just a few of the collectibles and limited versions of Rolex dials. Anyway, in the history of Rolex there are also some other dial variants that never entered in serial production but were only restricted to very few pieces or, to put it in other words, prototypes. During the design of a new watch, Rolex gave hints and guidelines to the various suppliers, who then produced prototype or test components that could be selected or discarded. The choice of typography and unobstructed balance demands a huge impact in the performance of a watch, especially for tools such as the legendary Daytona. The reference 116 520 here offered is a very nice example of automatic Rolex movement in steel with an ultra-rare dial. Taking inspiration from the electric blue dial of the white-gold reiteration which has pops of red in the registers and for the “Daytona” text, the present blue damask dial is an incredibly rare and definitely limited production version with light blue color and silver registers. Differently from the one equipped on the white-gold specimen, the present prototype has blue numerals in the subdials that recall the color of the whole dial, something very unusual that confers a sort of linearity in the layout. This prototype is an excellent example of Rolex’s constant pursuit of innovation and close collaboration with its suppliers. The condition of the dial is excellent, with no evident marks, halos or scratches. The watch comes with the original box, warranty and additional black dial but, most important, an official letter by Bücherer that confirms the “Blu damask dial (Prototype) with applied indexes”. Presented in an extremely attractive condition and representing a new dawn of the automatic Rolex Daytona, the present lot makes its first debut public appearance and represents an incredible opportunity for collectors of all over the world.