Rolex Daytona Ref. 16520 With Fake ‘Beyer’ Print

On November 27, 2018, Phillips Hong Kong auctioned an unusual Rolex Daytona Ref. 16520 from 1991 (N-series) with rare ‘Beyer’ double signed dial. According to the auction house some eight pieces are known to exist. Beyer, the oldest clock and watch shop in Switzerland, had a special relationship with Rolex, Patek Philippe and many other brands. Located in my home town Zurich at the world famous Bahnhofstrasse, Beyer was the natural choice when I bought my first expensive watch back in late 1999, a Breitling Navitimer Fighters (A13330). In early 2021, I started having doubts about Zenith Daytonas with ‘Beyer’ dials and so I reached out to the folks at Beyer to ask whether those double signed dials were real. Beyer’s answer was unequivocal...

Rolex Daytona Ref. 16520, N470188, retailed by Beyer

The N-series of Ref. 16520 was the fifths series after R, L, E and X. The watch itself is nothing out of the ordinary, except for the dial. Regular pieces go for around USD 30k. With the double signed ‘Beyer’ dial, however, the watch in question fetched around USD 100k, more than tripple the price of a regular N-series.

Auction link: Rolex Daytona Ref. 16520, retailed by Beyer (Phillips)

Rolex Daytona Ref. 16520, N470188, retailed by “Beyer” (Photo: Phillips)

Interstingly, the same watch was sold in May 2021 at Phillips Perpetual, Phillips’ watch boutique in London.

Direct link: Rolex Daytona Ref. 16520, retailed by Beyer (Phillips Perpetual)

The ‘Beyer’ signature is similar to the ones found on double signed Patek Philippe watches (e.g. Ref. 3450) retailed by Beyer in the 1970/80s but has more pronounced serifs.

Comparison “Beyer” signature (Photos: Phillips)

In early 2021, after watching an old Hodinkee ‘Talking Watches’ episode with Beyer boss René Beyer, I started having doubts about “newer” Rolex watches featuring ‘Beyer’ dials. None of the post 1950s Rolex watches Mr. Beyer inherited from his father and grandfather were double signed, not even a personal gift from Hans Wilsdorf to grandfather Theodor to commemorate 25 years of close relationship. In contrast, special pieces made by Patek Philippe for Beyer always had the ‘Beyer’ signature. Instead of breaking my head and start collecting data, I simply reached out to Beyer Chronometrie AG via email and asked if a Rolex Daytona Ref. 16520 with case number N470188 had been sold in their shop and whether the dial featuring the ‘Beyer’ signature was correct or not. The head of Beyer’s vintage department answered swiftly:

“Ich kann bestätigen, dass wir eine Rolex Daytona in Edelstahl mit der Referenz und der Seriennummer verkauft haben, aber ganz sicher nicht mit unserer Signatur auf dem Zifferblatt. Die ist woanders mal «ergänzt» worden.”

Translation: I can confirm that we sold a stainless steel Rolex Daytona with the reference and serial number, but certainly not with our signature on the dial. It has been “added” somewhere else.

Download: Screenshot email (JPG)

There is no ambiguity in Beyer’s answer. This is an open-and-shut case. You see a ‘Beyer’ signature on a post 1950s Rolex, you are almost certainly looking at just another Italian “masterpiece”. ‘Beyer’ signatures dispappeared from Rolex dials by the 1950s at the latest (more likely by the 1940s).


Beyer is still in business today. It is incomprehensible why Phillips did not reach out to Beyer to make sure the ‘Beyer’ Daytona was legit. It would have been a natural step in the process of vetting the watch. Sure, the watch came with Beyer stamped papers but lots of Rolex watches do and in 99.99% of the cases, there is no ‘Beyer’ signature. The existence of a ‘Beyer’ print should have been a reason to investigate further. Anyway, I remember looking at the watch in 2018 and there was no reason for me to be suspicious. After all, it was offered by the great Aurel Bacs and sanctioned by his advisory board consisting of top scholars like John Goldberger et all. How green I was back then.

Thank you for your interest.


  • “It is incomprehensible why Phillips did not reach out to Beyer to make sure the ‘Beyer’ Daytona was legit.” Because Phillips *knew* it wasn’t legit. Greed trumps all in this business.


  • Got to love the straightforward way of communication you got from ‘ze Germans’.


  • A very interesting article. A quick google search shows three post 1950s Rolex watches with Beyer dials offered on various selling platforms….


  • My advice is simple but im afraid very depressing, if you are a watch collector, do not pay high prices at auction houses for your watches, either buy brand new or if vintage, only from someone who has full provenance of the watch from when it was bought new (ideally from the original owner), anything else has to be classed as risky.


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