You’re already going to be hard pressed to find a Rolex Daytona, but add in the unique feature of being the only platinum Daytona known to have a lapis lazuli hardstone dial, and you’re talking about a real rarity. That watch, reference number 16516, just sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong watch auction for an incredible USD$3.27 million, exceeding its pre-sale estimate of $1 million.
“While Rolex produced automatic Daytonas only in stainless steel, yellow gold, white gold, and steel and gold for many years, it has now been confirmed that one very lucky customer was given a unique masterpiece in 1999, and it is rumoured that the late Patrick Heiniger, the famous CEO of Rolex, himself wore a platinum automatic Daytona,” explained Sotheby’s on their web site. That was just one of a handful of platinum watches made that year, which contributes to the rarity of the watches. The lapis lazuli version is even more special. Measuring 40mm, the case houses a calibre 4030 automatic movement, which was based on the Zenith El Primero movement. It comes on a bright turquoise calf leather strap with a platinum folding clasp. It has a screw-down back that features the engraving “XII 1998” and the number A171132.
Other platinum Daytonas have sold on auction, but never for that amount. A mother of pearl dial platinum Daytona sold in 2018 for USD$871,000. While $4.7 million is an impressive number, it pales next to the Paul Newman Dayton, which sold for USD$25.6 million in 2017. The sale of the watch was part of Sotheby’s Important Watches auction, which included a Piaget Gouverneur that sold for USD$314,511, a Type 1 Slim “Ayrton & Finley” that fetched USD$48,386, and a Philippe Dufour Simplicity white gold watch that brought in USD$290,318.