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Archive for day August 8th, 2013

The Rolex Daytona and the Zenith El Primero caliber 400
by admin


After having trusted on the hand winding Valjoux 72 (and several variations) movement to drive the Daytona, Rolex in 1987 decided to start using a Zenith movement instead of the Valjoux.
The El Primero calibre 400 movement was first put on the market by Zenith in 1969 and, after a period of several years, was back again in 1986. Most important feature of the calibre 400 was that with 36,000 vph it was a rapidly ticking movement (normally movements had 18,000, 21,600 or 28,800 vph). The frequency of 5 Hz made the movement more accurate.

The Zenith calibre 400 was the only chronograph movement with automatic winding that passed all the high Rolex standards for a movement. But that did not mean that Rolex just bought the movements from Zenith and put them in the case.
The following adjustments were made by Rolex before using the movement:

- a new escapement with a much bigger, free moving balance and a balance coil with a Breguet overcoil; a by Rolex preferred and more expensive configuration that leads to higher accuracy
- 36,000 vph was brought back to 28,800 vph; this lowers the need for maintenance
- removing the date function from the movement

In total about 80% of the movement was modulated by Rolex before it was good enough to drive the Daytona. The Rolex calibre 4030 was born.


The Daytona with this calibre was the ref 16520. Ref 16520 differed from the former generation Daytona’s in that it had sapphire glass and some esthetic changes. Under influence of the other sports watches from Rolex, for instance the Submariner, the case diameter had grown from 37 to 40 mm. The surface of the dials were now lacquered and shiny versus matte (black) or metallic (silver). The dial had metal hour indexes inlaid with radiant material. The sub dials had a thin scale with an opposite colour and around this a metal rim.

Rolex has produced the ref 16520 from 1987 until 2000. From 2000 onwards the Daytona had a fully inhouse manufactured movement.
During the period 1987-2000 there are six periodes in which small changes were made to the Daytona:

- 1987(late)-1988: ‘floating’ Cosmograph; ‘Cosmograph’ printed in the middle of the dial
- 1989-1990(early): 4 lines; ‘officially certified’ not printed on the dial
-1990(early)-1993(early): ‘inverted’ 6; the number ’6′ on the sub dial at 6 o’clock is inverted and looks like a ’9′

The complete story of the production of the Daytona ref 16520 between 1987 and 2000:



Pic.: 1988

DayZe:89:detail wp


Pic.: 1989


Pic.: 1991


Pic.: 1992


Pic.: 1995


Pic.: 1999

Jaap Bakker

August 8th




The Milgauss: a missed opportunity
by admin


Pic.: Rolex Milgauss ref 6541

In 1958 Rolex started with the production of the Milgauss. Most important feature of this watch was that it could withstand magnetic radiation. Certain groups of professionals who had to deal with this radiation benefitted from this watch that kept it’s accuracy.

Most important facts of the ref 6541 were:

- case diameter: 38 mm
- caliber 1066M
- bracelet: Oyster ref 6636
- material: stainless steel
- crown: Oyster twinlock ref 21
- hands: Dauphine
- at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock steel triangles with facet
- seconds hand: lightning bolt
- anti-magnetic: up to 1000 Gauss

Ref 6541 was also produced with a black, rotating bezel divided in 60 units.

From the 1960s until the 1980s Rolex produced the Milgauss ref 1019, the successor of the ref 6541.


Pic.: Rolex Milgauss ref. 1019

The most important features of the ref 1019 were:

- case diameter: 37 mm

-       kaliber 1580 (rhodium-plated, 26 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, monometallic balance adjusted to 5 positions and temperature, shock absorber, white metal Breguet balance spring, Microstella regulating screws)

-       bracelet: Oyster

-       material: stainless steel

-       soft iron gilt metal anti-magnetic protecting cap forming a Faraday cage

-       dial: black over soft iron dial with luminous steel baton indexes, outer minute/seconds divisions, ‘milgauss’ in red

Rolex also made a special version of the ref 1019 for the CERN in Geneva. This watch had a Rolex USA jubilee bracelet and engraved in the inner site of the caseback was III.67, meaning that it was made in the third quarter of 1967.


Pic.: Rolex Milgauss CERN ref. 1019

The initial tragedy of this Rolex model with all it’s interesting specifications was that it turned out to be practically unsellable in the 1960s and 1970s. In the Netherlands in the 70s they were offered for 1600 to 1900 guilders but even with this reduction in price they still kept collecting dust in the safes of the dealers.

In 2013 the Milgauss turns out to be in a totally different ballpark! Because they were so hard to sell the Milgauss now is a very rare watch and everybody understands what this does to the price. In a recent search I found one for $ 29.000 and in Holland expect to pay at least 20.000 Euros for a Milgauss.

There is a whole bunch of people now that lie awake at night wondering why they didn’t buy a couple of Milgauss’s in the good old days:
a missed opportunity!

With thanks to Wilfred Muhring, Shop Director Schaap en Citroen Utrecht

Jaap Bakker

August 8th


The CEO of Rolex: Gian Riccardo Marini
by admin


On May the 3th 2011 the Italian Gian Riccardo Marini was appointed worldwide CEO of Rolex. The former head of Rolex Italy replaced the long time sitting chief Bruno Meier.

In 1932 Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf decided to distribute his watches in Italy through Italian dealer Franco Locatelli. In 1947 Locatelli started the business ROMALO together with Ronchi, the first Rolex dealer in Milan, and Renato Marini.
The sons of Renato Marini, Gian Riccardo and Giancarlo, became involved with the firm in the seventies. Soon Gian Riccardo became the commercial director of the business. In 1980 ROMALO started with it’s first service centre which quickly became an important international institute for the training of Rolex dealers. It took until 1993 before ROMALO became a recognised part of Rolex Italy SpA.

Gian Riccardo Marini is responsible for the important brand combinations with sailing and golf and the creation of limited editions for these sports. When Marini talks about the uniqueness of a Rolex watch he uses this quote: “an object of passion and luxury, but also an important personal investment”. The whole marketing has made Rolex to be one of the most solid luxury brands in the world.

After Marini became professionally involved with sailing the sport turned out to be love at first site for him. In an interview in Yacht Online he was asked if he could explain why luxury brands in general and watch manufacturers especially are more and more interested in sponsoring sailing. He gave the following answer:

“I can’t really say why any other company is interested in the sector. But what is certain is that we were at the forefront in that regard: Rolex was the first watch brand in the world to launch an advertising campaign built around the sea and that was in 1926. Our watches were also the first official timepieces for the America’s Cup. The power of teamwork, cutting-edge technologies, toughness, resistance, man as protagonist: they’re all the values our company recognised in sailing and that’s why we chose it as our preferred sponsorship sport. Now, of course, everyone has gotten in on the act with testimonials, etc. but maybe that’s just because there’s very little spirit of initiative when it comes to looking for new avenues of communication.”

The latest big deal Marini closed is 10 year sponsor contract worth $ 350 million for being the worldwide partner and official timekeeper of the Formula 1. Important reason for closing the deal was the threath of competing watch brand Omega taking over the leading position. According to a report of Digital Luxury Group (DLG) in april 2013 the gap between Rolex and Omega has become smaller over the years, from 8,4% in 2009 to 2% in 2012.
The following picture shows Marini and Formula 1′s big boss Bernie Ecclestone.


To celebrate this deal Rolex produced a very interesting, strictly limited Daytona. The full name of this Rolex is:

Rolex Daytona FORMULA 1 Limited Edition BREVET+ PVD DLC



Brevet is a Swiss company that, according to their website, does the following:

‘About BREVET +

BREVETPLUS specialises in customising and re-designing High End wristwatches at our customers request. BREVETPLUS is proud to be the first company to introduce ADLC ( AMPHOROUS DIAMOND LASER LIKE COATING ), DLC and PVD Coatings.

BREVETPLUS is an independent company providing customisation to original brands. We are not affiliated to any watch manufacturer and operate independently and in an unofficial capacity. BREVET + primarily focuses on achieving unique designs and concepts through its research and development. Our aim is to deliver an irreplaceable watch to our client.

Brevetplus are to watches what Zagato is to Cars.’

These are the most important facts about the Daytona BREVET+:

BLACK ROLEX DAYTONA Formula 1 Limited Edition


BREVET + Limited Edition – Customised Rolex Daytona Formula 1 Limited Edition
Launch Date: March 2013


BLACK AMPHOROUS Diamond Like Carbon matte coating
44 jewels movement
Sapphire crystal
Individual case back engraved (xx-13)
Water proof 100m/300ft
Comes with fitted box
2 years in house BREVET+ warranty for a mechanical failure.

Price: 23.141 euro
This watch is also available in stainless steel at: £14750.

Watches are supplied with or without BREVETPLUS INSCRIPTION on the dials.

Jaap Bakker

August 8th