Rolex. A rare and historically important stainless steel automatic chronograph wristwatch with bracelet, original guarantee and box
Rolex. A rare and historically important stainless steel automatic chronograph wristwatch with bracelet, original guarantee and box


Rolex. A rare and historically important stainless steel automatic chronograph wristwatch with bracelet, original guarantee and box
Signed Rolex, Oyster Perpetual, Superlative Chronometer, Cosmograph, Daytona, Ref. 16520, case no. L346324, manufactured in 1989
Cal. 4030 automatic movement, 31 jewels, white dial, applied luminous baton numerals, luminous hands, three subsidiary dials for constant seconds, 30 minutes and 12 hours registers on black chapter rings, tonneau-shaped water-resistant-type case, blank bezel calibrated for 400 units, screw back engraved The Rolex Awards For Enterprise, Janusz Kurbiel, 1993, screw down crown, two round screw down chronograph buttons in the band, stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet, case, dial and movement signed
39 mm. diam.

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Sabine Kegel
Sabine Kegel

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Lot Essay

With punched Rolex Guarantee stamped by a French retailer, dated May 1993 and with the client name Janusz Kurbiel in blue ink, product information and Rolex green fitted presentation box.

1989 , In the 1980s, the average developing time for a project as radically innovative as the new automatic Daytona is not inferior to four years. When Rolex eventually introduces its new timepiece at the Basel Fair, they immediately understand that it has been time well spent. The signals are undeniable, this will become the chronograph symbol of modern horology. Its launch in the spring of 1988 is the beginning of not one, but two new and unusual commercial phenomena. On the one hand, the unexpected surge in demand is only minimally covered by the production, with resulting endless waiting lists and an actual commercial value immediately well above the retail price. On the other hand, this situation prompts the beginning of earlier manually wound models collecting and sets in motion an escalation never matched not only in the field of horology, but in any other field as well.

The new automatic movement attracts a new kind of clientele, less fond of technical sophistications, and more interested in the aesthetic and "cultural" importance of the watch. The automatic feature of the new Daytona reaffirms it sporty character and its position as the ideal timepiece to be placed on the wrist of both the common man, and of the more adventurous person.

The present Ref. 16520, dedicated in 1993 to arctic explorer Janusz Kurbiel, belongs to the first production with an L3 serial number. It features the new and rare bezel graduated up to 400 UPH, with the intermediate indication 225 instead of the common 240. Another peculiarity is the absence of the "Officially Certified" designation, which will make its comeback in more common later versions, thus making this a four-liner.
It is offered complete with its original box and papers.

Janusz Kurbiel
Born in 1946, he graduates in geology at the Silesian University of Technology. The affiliation with Yacht Club AZS of Szczecin fuels his passion for sailboats and exploration. He soon moves to France with his wife Joelle. Together, they pioneer a new Arctic research technique, instead of relying on fixed and expensive land-base camps or icebreakers, they use modified scientific sailboats, allowing for a much more flexible and less capital-intensive method of exploration and data gathering. In 1975 they develop the first of many such vessels: Vagabond, a complete success in arctic exploration.

Between 1980 and 1983 Kurbiel is protagonist of many arctic expeditions with the Vagabond II, reaching even the magnetic North Pole. He is also the first man to cross the North-West passage from West to East, always with the Vagabond II. Another exceptional expedition is the one that sees him and his wife exploring the previously uncharted wilderness of the west coast of Greenland, on board the small wooden sailboat Vagabound'elle.

His interest in the North Pole is not limited to the geological and ecological peculiarities of the region, but overflows into historical topics. He successfully reconstructs and navigates ancestral Viking routes.

Rolex has always been a keen sponsor of groundbreaking expeditions, whether they are to the top of the highest mountains, or to the depth of abyssal crevices. It is no surprise that the relationship between the manufacturer and Kurbiel goes back a long way. This watch purchased at a Rolex retailer in Paris, by Kurbiel, as shown on the guarantee and indicated on the case back, is linked to The Rolex Award For Enterprise (Prix Rolex à l'Esprit d'Entrepirise). The fact that it was worn by such a distinguished researcher and adventurer means that it most probably travelled to the furthest reaches of the globe. This greatly increases its appeal and historical importance.

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