The Swiss watchmaker, which has been a Le Mans partner since 2001, has created a unique version of the Cosmograph Daytona that will be presented to the winners of endurance racing’s biggest event. The ultra-exclusive timepiece features an engraved case back celebrating the race’s 100th anniversary.
Le Mans isn’t the only racing icon celebrating an important anniversary this year. The Daytona, arguably the most famous racing chronograph, is turning 60. It wasn’t an immediate success following its 1963 launch—which was the same year Rolex became Daytona Speedway’s official timing partner—but the triple register chronograph is now the kind of sold-out smash hit that even well-connected collectors struggle to acquire. That will happen when a watch is so closely associated with someone like the late actor and racing aficionado Paul Newman, whose personal “Paul Newman” Daytona sold for nearly $18 million in 2017.
The version of the Daytona that will be presented to this year’s Le Mans winners looks to be based on the current Oystersteel iteration. Introduced in 2016, the timepiece has a 40 mm case, a black Cerachrom ceramic bezel with an engraved tachymeter scale, a color-matching dial and an Oyster bracelet with a folding Oysterlock safety clasp. What separates the commemorative example, which is powered by an in-house Cal. 4130 movement, from one you can actually buy is a caseback engraved with this year’s race logo and the phrase “Winner 2023.” Not bad, as far as victory perks go.
“Being awarded a Rolex Daytona will be an even more incredible moment this year; it will forever tell the story of this unforgettable race and seeing the unique engraving on the watch will give it extra meaning,” nine-time Le Mans winner and Rolex Testimonee Tom Kristensen said in a statement. “To triumph at the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the ultimate and the whole world will be watching next week.”
Rolex didn’t say how much the special Le Mans Daytona costs, but the standard version of the watch—should you be so lucky as to find one—currently retails for $15,100. We imagine examples of this version will sell for a lot more than that should any of them ever go up for auction.