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Hot Watch – Rolex Daytona ‘Patrizzi’

The Rolex Daytona has to be one of the hottest watches over the past years with current models fetching over twice the Rolex RRP on the pre-owned market. 

Add to that quirks such as the Zenith movement run from the late 1980’s to the year 2000, the Patrizzi dial which we’re covering in this post & much rarer vintage models prices go up DRAMATICALLY!

A stainless steel Rolex Daytona really should be a key piece in every true watch collectors stock, you’ve only got to look at its track record to see how well they have done over the past decade or two. 

I can clearly remember around 10 years ago purchasing a stainless steel Daytona for approx £5,500 … Today this same model would easily be worth £15,000, not a bad return.

The Patrizzi mistake ..

A Patrizzi dial is a dial found in a Rolex Daytona from the mid 1990s. The steel Daytona ref 16520 come in either black or white dial variations. But its the black dial which is the winner here..

The steel Daytona black dial ref. 16520 made between 1994 and 1995 (S or W serial) used an organic varnish, called Zapon, to protect the Daytona’s face. 

Unrecognised at the time, the lacquer did not provide sufficient coverage and, over the years, the silver outer tracks on the iconic sub dials have oxidized, turning a definite brown color as they react with UV rays. Even more importantly to collectors, the changes do not stabilize and continue to take effect the older the watch gets. It means every one of the so-called Patrizzi dials is unique and, in the world of classic Rolex, unique equals expensive.

How did it get the name Patrizzi ?

The first person to recognise this quirk in the Daytona was Osvaldo Patrizzi, originally a watchmaker and restorer form Italy. He was appointed Expert of the Italian Association of Antique Horology Dealers and consultant for the Swiss Custom, so his opinion counted. 

He was the first person to recognise the colour changing phenomenon. In 2006 Patrizzi decided to sell off his Rolex collection, he had one of the mid 1990’s Daytonas among his inventory, it was then he discovered this discolouring effect on the dial. 

This watch was already a highly sought after model, but after Patrizzi’s discovery it brought to light each ‘Patrizzi’ dial Daytona would now be unique. 

This instantly attracted the attention of collectors and the first examples of the Patrizzi dial sold for double the estimate.. And the trend is still going strong! 

Thinking about buying a Patrizzi dial Daytona?

We’d highly recommend if your looking to by a rare piece like a Patrizzi dial to purchase from a trusted watch dealer, papers are also important. Papers increase the price dramatically, show a level of authenticity and make a watch so so much more saleable at a later date. 

Do some research online, watch dealers / collectors seem to all state 1994 – 1995 models (S & W serial) are known as true Patrizzi dials too stick to these. 1990’s Daytonas with their Zenith movements are great news anyway, but they sit under what you’d want to pay for a true Patrizzi.

Nice example Patrizzi dials are fetching with papers £35k – £50k, depending on source and watch specifics. Without papers you’d look to pay in the £20ks – although personally I wouldn’t want to purchase one without papers. 

Will they keep rising? The honest answer is … Who knows!? No-one truly has a crystal ball, but everyone does have their opinion. For years we’ve heard customers saying “surely prices cant keep rising” & “The bubble is going to burst” … This was at the same time i was buying steel Daytonas for £4,000 – £5,000. 

In our opinion pieces like the Patrizzi that are very limited and collectible will only go one way.. Up.