Rolex Daytona 'Zenith'
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
We all know the Daytona Story, and it has proven to be a big favorite among the collectors.
Why? Rolex's brilliant motorsports chronograph is in pole position in any category, vintage or modern. And while current automatic versions admittedly don't generally do as much for us as a nice hand-cranking example, this particular iteration might be the exception to the rule.
The timepiece you're looking at is a Reference 16520 Cosmograph, known among collectors as the "Zenith Daytona" due to its internal automatic chronograph mechanism that is based on the world-famous high beat El Primero movement.
Until 2000, Rolex didn't actually offer an in-house automatic chronograph movement in the Daytona line, and since leaving the manual-winding Valjoux based movements on which they were founded in 1988, relied on Zenith to provide the internals for their flagship chronograph.
"Zenith Daytonas" were made for almost a decade and have become incredibly desirable by collectors. With near-perfect proportions, they have become a true icon, and this particular example is a great way to get in on the action!
This particular piece, a Reference 16523, dates to circa 1996-1997 and features an 18k yellow gold and stainless steel construction with a matching two-tone Oyster bracelet with a signed fliplock clasp, a sapphire crystal, a glossy black Tritium dial with lovely patinated sub register rings and a matching handset, and of course that Zenith-sourced El Primero heart beating inside.
While not for everyone, there is something about a two-tone Daytona that just works. Be it the versatility, or the relative value next to its full-gold and full-steel counterparts, two-tone just works with the Daytona.
This excellent example must be considered!
The case is in very good condition overall showing normal signs of wear consistent with age and use with light oxidation throughout and factory finishing. Gloss black Tritium dial with applied indices and patinated white subsidiary register rings is in excellent condition with matching handset. Signed crown. Factory caseback sticker shows wear.
From the early waterproof Oyster case of the 1920s through to the ultra-complicated Sky Dweller of today, Rolex models and innovations have captivated a global audience and permeated the zeitgeist unlike those of any other brand. Whether it’s a simple, time-only Air King, a function-first Submariner or a complicated GMT Master II for the jet set, a Rolex commands a certain respect on the wrist and says something about the discerning eye of its owner.
From the swimming of the English channel in 1927 to the scaling of Mt. Everest in 1953, Rolex watches have been associated with adventure for the better part of a century. Despite its association since the 1970s more with luxury and status than with commando operations behind enemy lines or sporting achievements, Rolex still makes one of the most robust timepieces available on the contemporary market. And the company continues to support scientific endeavors around the world.
Interestingly, for most of the firm’s history, Rolex largely did not produce its components in-house, including its movements. (Indeed, hand-wound Daytonas sold today at auction for eye-watering prices feature run-of-the-mill Valjoux movements that feature in watches from hundreds of other brands). It wasn’t until the early 21st century that Rolex became the vertically integrated manufacturing behemoth that it is today, purchasing everything from movement manufacturers to bracelet companies. (Notably, the Crown even forges its own gold.)
Whether one is attracted to the rich history of the brand or simply finds its products notable from an investment perspective, Rolex is a company whose wares are guaranteed to remain a benchmark for horological quality forever.
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Make it yours will fit standard 20mm watches
Panda Red Vegan Strap
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Rolex Daytona 'Zenith'