Every year for the past 100 years, motorsport fans flock to the France Circuit de la Sarthe, along the outskirts of Le Mans, France, for the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. The legendary race was founded in 1923 and is currently the world’s oldest active endurance racing event that saw Ferrari AF Corse winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans Centenary trophy this past weekend. In honour of the 100th year of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rolex unveiled a special edition of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona as a fitting tribute to the centenary showcase.
An emblem of speed and the embodiment of the racing spirit, the Cosmograph Daytona needs no further introduction. It debuted on the asphalts in 1963 and was designed with a tachymeter bezel and high-performance chronograph to meet the needs of professional race drivers. While the Cosmograph Daytona was born for the races 60 years ago, it has since transcended race circuits and cemented its status as an icon in the world of horology.
After unveiling a revamped lineup of the Cosmograph Daytona at Watches & Wonders Geneva this year, slight tweaks to this special edition set it apart as a fitting tribute to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A subtle red-coloured numeral on the tachymetric scale highlighting the 100th year of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is perhaps the most telling. Fashioned from black ceramic, the Cerachrom bezel features recessed graduations, numerals and inscriptions coated with a thin layer of platinum, save for the number 100, which is filled with red ceramic. While that might not be the most obvious to those not in the know, the redesigned chronograph sub-registers leave clues for this special edition.
Eagle-eyed collectors and enthusiasts alike will be quick to note the vintage Cosmograph Daytona on the sub-register hashes. An even more minute detail is the 24-hour sub-register used to reflect the 24-hour race format of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. To achieve this, a patented mechanism comprising seven components was added to this year’s Calibre 4131 to form the Calibre 4132. While this is no longer a novelty, an open case back offers an unobstructed view of the movement and its decorations.
The Cosmograph Daytona is clad in an 18k white gold Oyster case and matching Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock folding safety clasp and an Easylink comfort extension link. Water resistance is rated to 100m, adequate to handle sporting conditions. And as with all Rolex watches, the Cosmograph Daytona carries the Superlative Chronometer certification guaranteeing a ± 2 seconds precision after casing.