We dont need to argue the Grail potential of the Rolex Daytona. Legendary, Iconic : fill in any superlative you can find and the Daytona ticks the box. However, within the rich variety of Daytona pieces from the early mid-60 pieces up until the 2020 116500, there is a strong hierarchy to define. A pre-owned 116520 in steel gives you the Daytona experience for a fraction of what a 6265 Paul Newman will set you back. Rarity and desirability define status and market value.
As a watch enthusiast, youll probably be aware of the fact that Steel/Gold versions are among the least appreciated and thus most affordable of all Daytonas. A quick check on Chrono24 shows that a (El Primero-based) reference 16523 can be had for 10 to 15,000. There is currently no cheaper way to become a Daytona owner, if you can live with two-tone.
Which brings me to the Daytona shown here. A steel-gold ref. 16523 that will be auctioned at Antiquorum in Geneva on June 28. Early 1990s, full set in very good condition and a estimated price of $180,000 to $280,000. Excuse me? For a steel-gold 16523? Whats the catch? Well... Have a close look at the blue dial. The blue dial version never made it into production, and apparently a few pieces were created for some VIP clients with the right connections. Rarer as hens teeth, and good for a stratospheric rise in the pecking order of Daytonas. This one is a collectors darling. How much of a collectors darling the blue 16523 will be is something we will know on June 28.
BTW: Steel/Gold combined with a blue dial is available on the Daytona 116523BLAO as well. Almost identical to the above but with Arabic numerals. For 10% of the price. Good luck explaining Rolex collecting logic to your non-watch friends..