Marking not just racing legend, this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans victors will also receive an extraordinary timepiece from Rolex, the brand’s highly sought-after Cosmograph Daytona.
As a testament to their partnership since 2001, the renowned Swiss watchmaker, Rolex, has masterfully crafted a distinct version of their iconic Cosmograph Daytona to honour the champions of the most prestigious endurance race event. A unique touch to this ultra-rare watch is an inscription on the case back commemorating the race’s centennial year.
Interestingly, the Le Mans race isn’t the only motor racing titan marking a significant milestone this year. Rolex’s Daytona, arguably the epitome of racing chronographs, celebrates its 60th anniversary. Despite a lukewarm reception at its 1963 launch, which coincided with Rolex becoming the official timing partner of Daytona Speedway, this triple register chronograph has ascended to an unparalleled status. Today, even the most established collectors often find the Daytona elusive. This surge in demand and value can be attributed in part to its association with late actor and racing enthusiast Paul Newman. A ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona once owned by the actor himself fetched a staggering price of nearly £14.5 million in 2017.
The Daytona model being gifted to the champions of this year’s Le Mans appears to be an adaptation of the current Oystersteel model. Debuted in 2016, this exquisite timepiece boasts a 40 mm case, a black Cerachrom ceramic bezel with an engraved tachymeter scale, a dial that matches the colour scheme, and an Oyster bracelet complemented by a folding Oysterlock safety clasp. What sets the commemorative piece apart from the commercial versions is its unique case back. Engraved with the current race logo and the inscription ‘Winner 2023’, this special Daytona is powered by the proprietary Cal. 4130 movement. It’s an impressively fitting reward for such an achievement.
Renowned nine-time Le Mans champion and Rolex Testimonee, Tom Kristensen, expressed his admiration for the iconic award. In his view, the Rolex Daytona offered this year will go beyond being a mere trophy. It will symbolically stand as a permanent imprint on racing history, its unique engraving adding a deeper level of significance. Kristensen further acknowledged that this distinctive watch embodies the narrative of an unforgettable race. He believes that emerging victorious from the 24 Hours of Le Mans remains the apex of racing triumphs, and that the world keenly anticipates the event scheduled for the coming week.
Rolex has yet to disclose the price of this special Le Mans Daytona. However, should you be fortunate enough to come across one, the standard Daytona is currently priced at £12,180. One can only speculate that these distinct timepieces, should they ever appear at auction, will command a markedly higher price.