Perhaps one of the most iconic timepieces to have ever hit the market, the Rolex Daytona is widely recognized as one of the most desirable watches there is. Distinguished by its three generations, what we have here is the 2nd generation 5-digit reference, known as the "Zenith" Daytonas due to their movement (the Rolex cal. 4030) being a heavily modified version of the Zenith-supplied El Primero movement. Forgoing its date function, slowing the movement's frequency down to increase the power reserve, and featuring fewer parts to improve reliability, the cal. 4030 found within the Zenith Daytonas is one of the finest pieces of horological engineering to come out of the late 80s and 90s (1988-2000). Still a mechanically astute timepiece to this day, the Zenith Daytona exists through a wide variety of references, of which, the ref. 16520 is the purest. A wonderful expression of Rolex's engineering capabilities and the consistency in their iconic design language, the Zenith Daytona is the unsung hero in the Daytona's lineage. Still, it won't be for long when collectors begin to unravel the story and see the value these incredible timepieces hold.
Loupe This Scorecard
Vetted & Approved
Est. value range
$15,000 – $20,000
Watch is in excellent condition. Case has thick and full lugs with light signs of wear. Bezel is excellent, the edges are slightly soft and most of the black enameling is still intact. Caseback retains the original green sticker. The tritium dial is near-mint, with no signs of wear. The bracelet has 13 links, 3 of which are removable. There is little stretch.
It's still hard to imagine that the 16520 was launched over 30 years ago, it looks just as modern as when it was first released, and the 'Zenith' Daytonas are amongst my favorite. With new Daytonas fetching prices that are higher than ever, these now vintage examples are worth some serious consideration as they become increasingly rare as time goes on and they find themselves in the hands of seasoned collectors that know their worth.