*Unpolished* R-Serial 1988 Rolex Zenith Daytona (Ref. 16520) Mk. I “Floating Cosmograph” W/ Box, Papers & RSC Paper

First introduced in 1963 the Rolex Daytona has always been the most sought-after chronograph. 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 their connection to the celebrated race.

The Rolex Daytona model, since its initial release, has been at the forefront of the market as the most desirable chronograph in production. Prior to the introduction of the Zenith movement, all previous Rolex chronographs were a manual wind, and not until 1988 did Rolex release the Ref. 16500, which features an automatic "self-winding" movement for their headliner sports watch. Rolex decided to outsource for their movement in this reference using the Zenith 400 movement originally manufactured for the "Zenith El-Primero. They used this movement as the basis then fortified it, performing approximately 200 modifications to the base movement to meet the prestigious expectations of the Wilsdorf group. This created the workhorse Rolex 4030 movement that was put in production for an era of 12 years. In this reference Rolex also incorporated the more resilient sapphire crystals, being a contributing factor to the increased depth rating guaranteed at 100m or 330ft.

It’s no secret the Rolex Daytona is beloved by collectors, and that “neo-vintage” Rolex watches have achieved their own status amongst the collector community all their own. So here at Craft + Tailored we’re honored to offer such a collectible and rare timepiece that represents the pinnacle of both of these categories. This R-serial Rolex Zenith Daytona ref. 16520 is one of the very first Zenith Daytonas created. Manufactured in the first year of the new reference, and features the ultra-rare Mk. I “floating Cosmograph” dial variant which is only seen within the first year of the 16520 production era, and the Mk. 1 bezel which features a “base 200” and features “Units Per Hour” at the 6 o’clock position. Additionally, this ref. 16520 Zenith Daytona retains all of its boxes and papers, including RSC paperwork from 2007, but the most satisfying aspect of this watch is its condition. Boasting an unpolished mid-case and bezel that remain in excellent condition, this 1988 Rolex Daytona ref. 16520 Mk. 1 is ready for the next collector to enjoy for years on end.

Stock #
Brand Rolex
Style Daytona
Model 16520
Serial R9XXXXX
Size Men's
Material SS
Dial White w/ Black Sub-Dials
Millimeters 40
Strap Rolex 78360 Oyster Bracelet W/ 503 Solid End Pieces



The unpolished case retains strong factory finishing and shows only mild signs of previous use. The Mk. I stainless steel bezel also remains unpolished with almost no signs of use and retains all of its original factory enamel. The case retains its original screw-down pushers and crown. The original and rare Rolex 78360 Oyster bracelet with correct 503 end pieces is unpolished as well, showing light signs of use and almost no stretch from use. The bracelet also retains 13 links.


The rare Mk. I "floating COSMOGRAPH" white Daytona dial with black sub-dials is simply remarkable. The dial itself remains very clean, only showing its age with some faint wear lines in the sub-dials which are not visible to the naked eye. The Tritium markers remain white in coloration and show no degradation under U.V. light inspection. The hour and minute hands are were replaced during a Rolex service interval with luminova variants and grow bright blue under U.V. light with no degradation.


The watch comes complete with its original inner and outer boxes, Rolex guarantee paper, laminated RSC paper card, booklets, green Rolex pouch, green Rolex card and paper holder, and chronometer seal hangtag. The watch is keeping time within COSC spec and functioning perfectly.