Rolex Celebrates One Century of Le Mans Racing With Specially Engraved Daytona Chronograph

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona 7 photos
Photo: Rolex
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph DaytonaRolex Testimonee Janson Button24 Hours of Le MasRolex Testimonee and Centenary Ambassador Tom Kristensen24 Hours of Le Mas24 Hours of Le Mas
24 Hours of Le Mans, the oldest and greatest endurance race on the planet, celebrates its centenary this year, an important moment in its history that deserves to be marked accordingly. Rolex, a brand that has supported the French twice-around-the-clock event as the Official Timepiece since 2001, has designed a unique version of its Cosmograph Daytona racing chronograph for the occasion.
There aren't many sporting events that can boast one hundred years of history, but the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race, which was first staged in 1923, is about to hit that milestone. This year's edition of the French classic is the hundredth and is set to take place in a few days, from Saturday, June 10, to Sunday, June 11, at Circuit de la Sarthe in north-west France.

Luxury watch manufacturer Rolex will be part of the special Le Mans celebration, marking the anniversary with a limited number of its Cosmograph Daytona racing chronograph boasting a commemorative case back that will be given to the winning drivers.

The exact watch model that will be awarded to the winners is the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, a chronograph with emblematic style and superlative performance. It is part of the Rolex Daytona series, which also marks its 60th anniversary this year. To put it in the spotlight, Rolex revisited the entire range, upgrading it with a redesigned case, an updated display, and a new chronograph movement.

The Oystersteel model that the "trophy" watch seems to be based on was introduced in 2016 and boasts a 40 mm case, accompanied by a black Cerachrom ceramic bezel with an engraved tachymeter scale. The difference between the watch version that anyone can buy and the commemorative iteration is the caseback, which is engraved with this year’s race logo and the phrase "Winner 2023."

Over the years, all major car manufacturers, regardless of whether they produce mainstream or sports models, have come to the flagship race of the FIA WEC World Endurance Championship to test their cars. The race has served as the ideal testing ground for some of these carmakers, and it also helped them boost their popularity, set speed records, or show off technological advancements.

Even after 100 years, the 24 Hours of Le Mans still commands plenty of interest from people all over the world, and this year, renowned manufacturers like Ferrari, Toyota, Porsche, Peugeot, and Cadillac will return to the prestigious race against time. A record-breaking crowd of 300,000 people is expected to enjoy the weekend of racing.

Rolex Testimonee Tom Kristensen, who holds the record for the most wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, takes on the role of ambassador for the centenary edition. He has declared that "For me, this year is all about the 24 Hours of Le Mans; there is so much anticipation as we build to this momentous event. [...] I'm proud to celebrate the legacy of the 24 Hours of Le Mans over the past 100 years and to reflect on the many evolutions and revolutions while looking forward to next week's race. For a racing driver, Rolex and Le Mans are the perfect match. Both have an extraordinary heritage, built and forged over a century."

A total of 186 drivers and 62 cars will compete this weekend, tackling the legendary 13.626 km (8.467 mi) track and trying to cover the greatest distance in 24 hours.

Another Rolex Testimonee, Jenson Button, who is also the 2009 F1 world champion, will compete this year as one of the drivers of the Garage 56 car.

"It will be an incredible challenge and a privilege to be at the 100th anniversary of Le Mans in such an unusual car alongside some of the greats of the sport. This race is all about time, so to be competing as part of the Rolex family this year will be particularly special," he said.

Rolex has been involved in motor sport since Sir Malcolm Campbell's World Land Speed Record successes in the 1930s. Its presence in the sport has grown steadily since then, the Swiss watchmaker acting as a supporter of endurance events such as the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the FIA World Endurance Championship, besides the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The unique engraving on the Rolex Daytona chronograph that will be given to the winners will serve as a forever reminder of this year's race, which promises to be unforgettable.
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About the author: Ancuta Iosub
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After spending a few years as a copy editor, Ancuta decided to put down the eraser and pick up the writer's pencil. Her favorites subjects are unusual car designs, travel trailers and everything related to the great outdoors.
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