Built for Speed, Rolex Daytona Watches and Classic Cars

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Launch Slideshow

Ahead of the forthcoming RM Sotheby’s sale at Villa Erba on 25 May and The Rolex Daytona Capsule Collection open for bidding online on sothebys.com between 24 – 30 May, RM and Sotheby’s specialists have paired motorcars and watches from similar eras, highlighting the exceptional innovations made in both chronographs and automobiles from the Second World War through to the modern day.

Built for Speed, Rolex Daytona Watches and Classic Cars

  • ROLEX | Pre-Daytona, Ref 4500 A Stainless Steel and Yellow Gold Chronograph Wristwatch with Bracelet 1947
    Estimate: $20,000-30,000

    1931 Aston Martin 1.5-Litre International 'LM5'
    Estimate: €1,000,000-1,400,00

    During the Second World War, Rolex launched what is considered to be the first Oyster Chronograph, the ref. 4500, which was later joined by the 6232 and 3668. These three particular models only had two subsidiary dials, absent of the 12 hour register.

    The 1931 Aston Martin International was a true original, with this particular example an outstanding ex-Works Team car and survivor of the most competitive races in period including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Brooklands and the Tourist Trophy.

    While the Aston pre-dates the Rolex, they both set the precedent and the tone for the brand as they evolved into something both treasured and emulated in the decades to come.
  • ROLEX | Pre-Daytona, Ref 6234 A Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch with Bracelet 1959
    Estimate: $30,000-50,000

    1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider by Pinin Farina
    Estimate: €4,250,000-4,750,000

    As the forerunner of the Rolex Daytona, the Rolex Chronograph 6234 is one of the most prized vintage Rolex watches. While it does not offer the convenience of automatic winding, it does offer many wonderful features Rolex eventually incorporated into their later models. The Rolex Chronograph 6234 is a must have piece for any Rolex collection , not only as a wonderful example of Rolex history, but as a vintage, yet extremely wearable watch.

    The Ferrari 500 Mondial represents Enzo Ferrari’s swift and successful advancement into competitive racing with authority. An early iteration of the marque’s competition cars while simultaneously exhibiting the future of the brand. This particular car is one of the finest of the models and is Ferrari Classiche Certified and retains its original chassis, engine, gearbox and coachwork.
  • ROLEX | Daytona, Ref 116520 A Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch with Bracelet Circa 2011
    Estimate: $15,000-25,000

    1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
    Estimate: €1,400,000-1,600,000

    The Daytona ref. 16520 was the stainless steel version of the brand’s first generation of automatic chronographs, and right out of the gate, it was a smash hit. Proudly modern in design, the Oyster cases of the Daytona 16520 grew to a contemporary 40mm in size, included crown guards for the first time, and were fitted with sapphire crystals rather than acrylic ones. On the other hand, familiar design traits of later vintage Daytona models carried through to the modern automatic Daytona watches - metal bezels engraved with a tachymeter scale, three registers on the dial, and screw-down chronograph pushers.

    A true modern classic and the ultimate example of the famed 300SL model line. This matching numbers example was delivered new with an alloy block engine and disc brakes – the ultimate accessories for the quintessential Mercedes-Benz post-war Sports Car.

    Though separated by decades in their creation, both the Rolex and the Mercedes-Benz pictured here are representative of true collecting staples within their respective genres.
  • ROLEX | Daytona, Ref 16523 A Stainless Steel and Yellow Gold Chronograph Wristwatch with Bracelet Circa 1996
    Estimate: $10,000-15,000

    1966 Ferrari 330 GTC by Pininfarina
    Estimate: €495,000-600,000

    Not only was the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona reference 16523 part of the generation of the very first self-winding Daytona chronographs introduced in 1988, but this reference was the also the first time Rolex offered its flagship chronograph in a two-tone configuration. The merging of yellow gold and stainless steel on a Rolex watch is officially called Rolesor by the brand.

    Like most great brands, the ability to refresh and introduce new models and editions was never easy, however Ferrari always met the challenge with great success as demonstrated by the 330 GTC, a model that followed up the legendary 250 GT model line. Offering more options, unique coachwork and an upgraded power plant – the 330 GTC became a hit overnight with fans of Ferrari.

    What makes this pairing unique is the simple fact of innovation. Change in itself is never easy to successfully integrate, but both Rolex and Ferrari proved masterful in how they executed the introduction of these two unique designs.
  • ROLEX | Daytona, Ref 116528 A Yellow Gold Chronograph Wristwatch with Bracelet Circa 2001
    Estimate: $20,000-30,000

    1965 Aston Martin Short-Chassis Volante
    Estimate: €1,300,000-1,500,000

    These pieces both represent timeless luxury infused with sporting heritage.

    The most luxurious member of the first generation of automatic-winding Daytona models is the full 18k yellow gold Rolex Cosmograph Daytona reference 16528. This family of Daytona watches carry five digit reference numbers and are often nicknamed the Rolex “Zenith Daytona” watches, due to the modified automatic Zenith El-Primero chronograph movements inside their cases. Yet, to meet the Crown’s criteria, Rolex made around 200 modifications to the base El-Primero movement and renamed it the Rolex Caliber 4030.

    A true luxury sportscar, the Short Chassis Volante of Aston Martin represented the best of sporting style with exemplary performance, luxurious interior appointments and a low production to maintain exclusivity. Like most heirlooms, this Aston Martin DB5 Volante has remained in the care of its current ownership for 25 years and is offered in outstanding overall condition.
  • ROLEX | Daytona, Ref 116520 A Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch with Bracelet Circa 2011
    Estimate: $15,000-25,000

    2015 McLaren P1
    Estimate: €1,100,000-1,300,000

    Doubling down on the success of the automatic Daytona chronographs, Rolex introduced a new set of references in 2000. This time, powering the Daytona models was the new Caliber 4130 - a self-winding chronograph movement designed and developed entirely in-house by Rolex. Not only did the Rolex Caliber 4130 boost the power reserve on the Daytona to 72 hours, but additionally because of its vertical clutch (instead of a traditional lateral one), the chronograph hand no longer “jittered” when activated.

    The evolution of the modern McLaren follows a similar path to Rolex in many ways as improving upon what many to consider the holy grail of the modern supercar; the F1, though challenging - was well-achieved with the introduction of the P1 as its successor. Available to a generally wider market with 375 cars produced they remain treasured for their beautiful lines and brutal performance.
  • ROLEX | Daytona, Ref 116523 A Stainless Steel and Yellow Gold Chronograph Wristwatch with Bracelet Circa 2001
    Estimate: $12,000-18,000

    2006 Ferrari Superamerica
    Estimate: €280,000-360,000

    The Daytona ref. 116523 is the two-tone “Rolesor” edition within the 11652x family, marrying stainless steel and 18k yellow gold throughout the watch. While the two-tone ref. 116523 maintained the same 40mm case measurement of the earlier ref. 16523, its slightly redesigned Oyster case wears bigger because of its slightly fatter lugs and larger screw-down chronograph pushers. Moreover, it feels heavier on the wrist too since its stainless steel and yellow gold Oyster bracelet features solid center links and an updated clasp that is fitted with Rolex’s Easylink extension system.

    The Ferrari 575 Superamerica represented true Italian styling combined with a myriad of unique options built around exclusivity, speed and heritage. This example, fitted with the desirable HGTC package which included everything from a sportier suspension and exhaust to improved carbon composite braking along with red calipers also features a unigue rotating hardtop that was the first of its kind and allowed passengers to adjust the amount of natural light filtered through the glass.
  • ROLEX | Daytona, Ref 116528 A Yellow Gold Chronograph Wristwatch with Bracelet Circa 2001
    Estimate: $20,000-30,000

    2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic
    Estimate: €275,000-290,000

    Perfectly timed with the start of the new millennium, Rolex unleashed a collection of brand new six-digit Daytona references in 2000. The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona reference 116528 is the full 18k yellow gold version from that lineup.

    When Porsche introduced the “Sport Classic” model in 2010 it was thoroughly praised for its classic simplicity emulating the early designs of the model. Limited in production to just 250, it sold out in a matter of hours and remains one of the most desirable specifications of the vaunted 997 line.


  • ROLEX | Daytona, Ref 116500LN A Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch with Bracelet Circa 2018
    Estimate: $20,000-30,000

    2012 Aston Martin V12 Zagato "No. 1"
    Estimate: €650,000-700,000

    The newest stainless steel Daytona to join the brand’s catalog is the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona reference 116500. By taking design cues from early vintage Daytona models and fusing them with ultra-modern materials and innovations, the Daytona ref. 116500 caused an absolute sensation upon its release in 2016.

    The biggest change the 116500 brought to the stainless steel Daytona was the inclusion of a black Cerachrom (ceramic) bezel on top of its 40mm Oyster case.

    Perhaps no modern manufacturer best employs its heritage in their modern designs such as those of Aston Martin. With an unparalleled historic library of sporting coachwork to choose from its no wonder that the bespoke British brand would continue to shape trends as today their relationship with the coachbuilding firm of Zagato pays homage to their collaborative efforts decades earlier.
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