*Unpolished* 1988 Rolex Zenith Daytona (Ref. 16520) White Mk. I "Floating Cosmograph" Dial W/ Box, Papers, & RSC Papers

$ 89,995

First introduced in 1963 the Rolex Daytona has remained a sought-after stable within the Rolex product range. Designed with professional racecar drivers in mind, the Daytona’s precision chronograph and tachymeter bezel allowed drivers to accurately measure speeds up to 400 kilometers or miles per hour. The release of the Daytona came just after Rolex had become the official timekeeper of the Daytona racetrack and the name evolved as a way for the brand to highlight its connection to the celebrated race.

Early Daytona models featured a manual-wind Valjoux 72-based column-wheel chronograph movement. This was in use until 1988 when Rolex released the ref. 16520 with an automatic “self-winding” movement. Rolex outsourced this moment, utilizing the Zenith 400 movement, originally manufactured for the “Zenith El-Primero.” For use in the ref. 16520, Rolex required approximately 200 modifications to the Zenith movement, which remained in use for twelve years. As a result, Daytonas from this period are commonly referred to as “Zenith Daytonas.” In this reference, Rolex also incorporated more durable sapphire crystals, helping to increase the depth rating to a guaranteed 100m or 330ft.

*Unpolished* 1988 Rolex Zenith Daytona (Ref. 16520) White Mk. I "Floating Cosmograph" Dial W/ Box, Papers, & RSC Papers

It’s no secret the Rolex Daytona is beloved by collectors, and that the neo-vintage era of Rolex watches has achieved a status amongst the collector community all its own. So when the pinnacle of both of these categories is represented in such a collectible and rare timepiece, it is truly special. Enter the "Floating Cosmograph" ref. 16520 Zenith Daytona, a truly special early dial variation that belongs to the very first production run of the of the Zentih-era Daytona and with a production run of roughly a single year between 1988 and 1989, or R and L serials respectively. These dial variations are characterized by the "Cosomograph" text that is distinctly separated, or "Floating", from the rest of the text on the dial.

Stock # RLXDT16520R-2
Brand Rolex
Style Daytona
Model 16520
Serial R9XXXXX
Size Men's
Material Stainless Steel
Dial White Mk. I "Floating Cosmograph"
Millimeters 40
Bracelet Rolex Oyster 78360 Bracelet W/ 503 End Pieces



The exceptional case is in crisp condition overall with thick and symmetrical lugs that show no notable evidence of previous polishing. The original and rare base-200 "Units Per Hour" bezel shows minimal signs of use and features very minimal loss to the enamel. The case back remains in very crisp condition, showing minimal signs of previous use. The original Rolex 78360 Oyster bracelet with 503 end pieces retains 13 links that show almost no stretch and will fit up to a 7 3/4-inch wrist.


The original glossy white Mk I "Floating Cosmograph" dial is in exceptional condition, showing no damage. The only elements of age are in the form of tonal marks in the sub-dials, though they are invisible to the naked eye and nominal in nature. The tritium lume plots remain bright white and show no degradation when inspected under UV light. The hands are luminova service units and match the overall aesthetic of the watch perfectly.


The watch comes complete with its original inner and outer boxes, Rolex guarantee paper, Rolex service center documents, and booklets. The watch is keeping time perfectly, backed by our 1-year warranty on accurate timekeeping.

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