ROLEX. AN EXTREMELY RARE, UNUSUAL AND ATTRACTIVE 18K WHITE GOLD AND CHRYSOPHRASE AUTOMATIC CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH
SIGNED ROLEX, OYSTER PERPETUAL, SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED, COSMOGRAPH, DAYTONA, REF. 116519, CASE NO. K306551, MANUFACTURED IN 2001
Cal. 4130 automatic movement, 44 jewels, chrysophrase dial, white gold Roman and baton numerals, outer fifths of a second divisions, three subsidiary dials for constant seconds, 30 minutes and 12 hours registers, tonneau-shaped water-resistant-type case, screw back, screw down crown, two round screw down chronograph buttons in the band, 18K white gold Rolex deployant clasp, case, dial and movement signed.
Reference 116500 has several innovations, but let us concentrate on the dial design. In this series, for the first time ever, we find indexes oriented symmetrically toward the centre of the dial. It is a solution that makes its debut on reference 116519 on the four coloured dials offered for this model (pink mother-of-pearl, turquoise, and green chrysoprase) with roman numerals. It is a modification adopted to improve the legibility of the dial but it also adds more balance, symmetry and modernity to the overall layout. In an effort to increase its usability, there is a slight increase in size of both hands and sub registers.
In 2002, reference 116519 is presented, with a white gold case and a dial made out of natural meteorite, and reference 166518 is presented in yellow gold with a dial in black mother-of-pearl.
Soon after, a special version nicknamed “beach” is marketed, with four possible dial variations (green Chrysoprase, blue turquoise, yellow or pink mother-of-pearl) and a lizard strap of the same colour dial.
These dials sport some significant differences with previous 16500-series dials. Even though the design seems the same, a closer inspection reveals something has been modified. The sub registers are positioned differently. The position of running seconds and chronograph hours are inverted. In the old version, the running seconds are located in the central register and the chronograph hours are at 9 o’clock.
This example is particularly interesting because of the obvious mistake present on its dial. The dials of both the register at 6 o’clock and the one at 9 o’clock present are identical. The hours are omited from the dial. As Ulysses must have thought when under the spell of Calypso “there is something wrong on this beach, but it is still beautiful”.
Considering the number of quality controls that a watch undergoes at Rolex before it is approved for sale, it is quite safe to say that it is extremely unlikely that any other Daytona with this defect ever left the factory. Nobody is perfect.
Courtesy of Christie's