Book Review of Rolex Daytona Story

Book Review of Rolex Daytona Story

Oct 02

stock photo from collectingwatches.com

When Osvaldo Patrizzi and Guido Mondani collaborate, you know it’s a special project.  When they collaborate to write on the topic of the legendary Rolex Daytona, it’s a project which demands the attention of the entire Rolex enthusiast community, and beyond.  With  ROLEX DAYTONA STORY, Patrizzi and Mondani who are arguably the two most well published and knowledgeable figures on the topic of Rolex watches have created a work which both honors and examines the Daytona with a reverence and attention to detail not previously seen. Guido Mondani writer and penultimate Rolex collector/enthusiast has written an impressive and exhaustive  body of work on the topic of Rolex  Osvaldo Patrizzi, founder of Antiquorum and has an impressive list of writing credentials in his own right, has seen more rare and coveted examples of Rolex watches than perhaps any other eyes will.  In short, Patrizzi and Mondani are the “dream team” brain trust a Rolex Daytona collector and enthusiast would want to create the ultimate reference guide about the beloved Rolex Daytona – and make no mistake that they have indeed created the ultimate reference guide.

Given the considerable photographic resources they each have at their disposal, they bring an unparalleled breadth and depth of incredible photography of some of the rarest, most pristine examples of vintage Rolex Daytona models ever assembled.  Perhaps the greatest strength and value of the volume is as a photo reference guide to those who would seek to obtain vintage Rolex Daytona watches.  With the cost of mistaking identity so high, vintage collectors (an elite cadre to be certain) crave photo details of actual, authentic watch dials, cases, bracelets, and movements from every angle – invaluable reference material.  Invaluable not only for distinguishing genuine from fake models, but also determining if genuine watches have had parts and components replaced incorrectly (“frankenwatches”).

Photo from ROLEX DAYTONA STORY

Photo from ROLEX DAYTONA STORY

The guide begins by examining some of the earliest known examples of the manually wound Rolex Cosmograph references which predate the “Daytona” designation, moving forward in Rolex Daytona history and includes some discussion of the most current Daytona references to date, including the ceramic bezel 116515 introduced at the 2012 Baselworld watch fair.  My personal interest and expertise as a Rolex Daytona enthusiast is for the models made since 2000 which have the in-house manufactured Rolex caliber 4130.  Most of Patrizzi and Mondani’s collective experience comes from their involvement in the vintage Rolex market – particularly for Patrizzi as the founder and former owner of the largest luxury watch auction house.  For the most part, the auction circuit is far more about rare, no longer manufactured watch models, and not watches which are in current production and can be obtained from an authorized Rolex dealer.  As such, relative to the impressive detail given to the vintage models, the coverage of the more contemporary examples is lacking.  Where the vintage sections of the book benefits from unique photographs of models which have sold at various auctions, examples of the more contemporary models are represented using largely stock photography from Rolex which are widely available.  Some significant, historically relevant details are also missing in the contemporary Daytona sections.  For instance, you won’t find any details on when the modern reference 1165xx Rolex Daytona models changed from “skinny hands” to “fat hands” (as I discuss in this article) or any mention that some of the Parachrom Bleu hairsprings found in the caliber 4130 are not in fact blue (as I discuss in this article).  I suspect it will only be after Rolex stops production of the reference 1165xx series Rolex Daytona that such details will become of interest to the auction crowd.

In terms of the production quality of the book, it’s first class and beyond reproach.  To underscore the unique importance of the volume, publisher Guido Mondani Editore includes a special cardboard “brief case” for ROLEX DAYTONA STORY:

It’s also published in “big book” size (31 X 41 cm) and is 280 pages in length, with the text appearing in both Italian and English.  The larger than usual size can make the book a bit unwieldy to thumb hold and thumb through, but enthusiasts appreciate the larger size which magnifies the details in the photographs they crave.

At the retail price of € 980,00 (roughly $1266.00 at current exchange rates) only an elite few enthusiasts and collectors will purchase this volume.  But I have either read or own every publication dedicated to the Rolex Daytona, and ROLEX DAYTONA STORY is far and away the best book every produced on the subject.  Congratulations to the both Osvaldo Patrizzi and Guido Mondani on this magnificent culmination of their collecting experience and efforts.  ROLEX DAYTONA STORY can be purchased directly from the publisher at collectingwatches.com by clicking here. 

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