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INTRODUCING: The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Le Mans Anniversary Edition

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Le Mans Anniversary Edition.

Celebrating the high endurance race’s 100th anniversary, Rolex has developed an exclusive timepiece based on the original watch’s design.

We’re about halfway through the annual 24 Hours of Le Mans race, which has been particularly challenging this year. Several hours in, drivers encountered heavy rain, leading to several tough moments on the road. But more importantly, this is the competition’s centenary, and it has been a grand experience so far, with fireworks, Ferrari’s surprise performance, and LeBron James flagging off the race.  

Celebrating the opening of the 24 Hours of Le Mans' 100th anniversary last night.
Celebrating the opening of the 24 Hours of Le Mans’ 100th anniversary last night.

More unexpected was the announcement in the middle of the night that Rolex launched a special edition of the Cosmograph Daytona, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The watchmaker has been an official partner of the race since the turn of this century, and this year, winners of the race will receive the 2023 Daytona Le Mans Anniversary Edition, which features, for the very first time, a Cerachrom bezel on a braceleted version of the watch. Past models have only seen Cerachrom bezels on a Daytona with an Oysterflex strap.  

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona 2023 Le Mans Anniversary Edition features a Cerachrom bezel on a braceleted version of the watch.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph 2023 Daytona  Le Mans Anniversary Edition features a Cerachrom bezel on a braceleted version of the watch. The number ’100’ on the tachymeter scale is in red ceramic to commemorate this date. . 

Developed by Rolex and made from high-tech ceramic that can come in many colours, the Cerachrom here is black, diamond polished, and engraved elements filled with a tachymeter scale. The Le Mans Anniversary edition also has a ‘100’ in red ceramic, a first for the brand to commemorate this important date.  

The calibre 4132, exclusive to this watch, can be seen through the exhibition caseback of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona 24 Hours of Le Mans Anniversary Edition.
The Calibre 4132, exclusive to this watch, can be seen through the exhibition caseback of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona 24 Hours of Le Mans Anniversary Edition.

In addition, an exclusive version of the Calibre 4131 has been developed just for this watch, which now has a 24-hour totaliser instead of a 12-hour one, signifying the challenges drivers face in this race. The new calibre is numbered 4132 and features the same Chronergy escapement, Paraflex shock absorbers and finishing, including Rolex Côtes de Genève. The self-winding movement features a yellow gold oscillating weight that sits on ball bearings and has a Superlative Chronometer certification, which means it’s accurate to +/-2 seconds a day. The word ‘Daytona’ is inked on the rotor.  

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Le Mans Anniversary Edition.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Le Mans Anniversary Edition.

The watch is housed in white gold and comes with an exhibition caseback, the first gold Rolex Daytona model equipped with a see-through back. Earlier at Watches and Wonders Geneva this year, Rolex announced its first exhibition casebacks on the Perpetual 1908 and platinum Daytona models.  

The counters on the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Le Mans Anniversary Edition are reminiscent of the Ref. 6241
The counters on the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Le Mans Anniversary Edition are reminiscent of the Ref. 6241 “Paul Newman” Daytona models.

The design of this model also harks back to the models that are best known today as Paul Newmans. The Ref. 624x models were created by Rolex around the late 1960s and feature chronograph counters with the same markings as this model. The ‘panda’ and ‘reverse panda’ dials which were iconic of Newman Daytonas, also became popularised around this time. Remarkably, Rolex has decided to commemorate the legendary actor and racecar driver’s Daytona watch in a modern way; this is as much a break from looking ahead as we can expect from Rolex.  

Update: The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona Le Mans Anniversary Edition is priced at CHF49,000. We certainly recommend you race to the nearest Rolex retailer and find a way to get on this particular watch’s waiting list; it’s definitely a collectable.  

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.