Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dear Jake, Came across your website by accident, and truly enjoy reading thru the pages. I have a question if you don’t mind to share with me....



Stainless Rolex Daytona Insight

Khong from Malaysia wrote in and asked a few questions so I thought I would share the answer with everybody:

Dear Jake,

Came across your website by accident, and truly enjoy reading thru the pages.


I have a question if you don’t mind to share with me.


I recently bought a Daytona 116520, year 2007, Z serial, white dial, like new.


Then last week I came across another Daytona 16520, year 1999, probably the last batch before they move to the new 4130 movement, yes this one is Zenith Movement with white dia.


My question is if you have a choice to chose one of them, which one will you take?


My next question will be what is the valuation for the two, the current market average price: 1999 Zenith White and 2007 116520 White. Which is more expensive?


Should I sell away my 2007 white to buy this 1999 Zenith White? Thanks and much appreciate for your time.


Regards, Khong (Malaysia)


Thanks for writing in Khong. This is JUST my personal opinion:


I have owned both the Zenith Movement stainless steel Daytona as well as the in-house Rolex Daytona in stainless steel. Ten out of ten times I would choose the more modern in-house Rolex for the following reasons:


1. Subdials: The white gold subdials look much better to me on the in-house stainless steel Rolex. The Zenith subdials are black and kind of boring. The in-house subdials have little tracks that glisten in the light and ad significant depth and color to the watch.


2. Bracelet: The Zenith Daytona has the old fashioned janky clasp which I prefer because it works and cannot open by mistake. The in-house Rolex Daytona clasp looks better and feels more solid, but if you catch the back of the clasp on an edge it can pop the clasp open backwards. To my design mind this is a design flaw, but it is pretty unlikely it will ever open at the wrong time.


3. Movement: If I understand it correctly, the Zenith movement is much more complicated to work on and service, thus making the Rolex in-house movement more robust and easily serviceable. On a side note, one of the great benefits over the years is that Rolex movements have been robust, hardy and very simple and easy to service.


4. Hands: The Zenith Movement Daytona has thinner hands which look anemic to me. The early in-house Rolex Daytona also shared these anemic hands despite gaining much fatter 5 minute markers. I think the early in-house Daytona looks strange with skinny hands and fat markers. I am not certain what year Rolex updated this design feature, but I know for the last couple of years at least, the Daytona has Fat-Hands to match the Fat-Markers, which look great.


5. Valuation: On Jake's Rolex Watch Blog we don't speculate on value so I can't really say. In my opinion, I would keep the 2007 Daytona [Reference 116520] assuming it has Fat-Hands.


6. Intelligent Marketing: The stainless steel Rolex Daytona is a very interesting creature. Ironically the early Daytona models like the Paul Newman Exotic dial Daytona models did not sell very well. Today those same watches are worth a fortune. Often times up to $150k.


The Rolex Daytona became a very popular model in the 1990s and up until recently there were waiting lists to purchase these models from an AD. I think from a design perspective this was due to the fact that the stainless steel Daytona has a low-key aura, kind of like a stainless Submariner, but the Daytona did not look like any other sport Rolex.


It really has a vibe all its own, which makes it exotic looking. Part of this has to do with the subdials and the 2 extra pushbuttons. Most people who own a Rolex Daytona ironically never even use the Chronograph feature, primarily because they can't even figure out how it works–not to mention you have to unscrew the screw-down pushers in order to be able to push the buttons.


Rolex became keenly aware of the Mystique of the stainless steel Daytona in the early 1990's and intelligently marketed the watch by not doing any marketing. In other words, Rolex to the best of my knowledge, never ever advertised the modern Rolex Daytona model in Stainless Steel. They did in gold, but not is steel.


Also, I have heard that Rolex brilliantly only ever met 80% of the market-demand, which actually caused the market demand to significantly expand. Of course I have loved Rolex watches and history for over a quarter-century, but I have always been extremely impressed with how successful their marketing campaigns have been.


What do you think?


Do any of you have an opinion you would like to share with Khong? If so please click on the comment link and share your insight.


My pal Seth Chandler seems to have disagreed with me because he sent me this message:


"Well, first of all its comparing apples and oranges. The modern is a better watch, technically speaking. The bracelet kicks ass. About fine time, Rolex! The new ones will always be better. Every 10/15 years we will see improvements. But the key with each previous generation is the simplicity. It’s pure….genuine. It’s the reason why a 5513 is the all time great.


"Personally I like the black sub dials on the white dial Zenith. Just like my Daytona. I hate the silver on white like the modern Daytona. From what I’ve read, the Zenith is a kick ass movement. Long term, I think it’s a winner, and the market clearly feels that way now. Lots of price support. Really nice ones full set, trade 10 to 12k, I’ve seen them higher. Avg. no papers 9k. I think it’s a 15k watch at some point, because it’s got a few interesting twists.


BTW, in one of those magazines we got a the Carmel GTG, there was a great article comparing the two. Informative."

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