New Rolex Daytona revealed for 24 Hours of Le Mans race centenary – what you need to know New Rolex Daytona revealed for 24 Hours of Le Mans race centenary – what you need to know

New Rolex Daytona revealed for 24 Hours of Le Mans race centenary – what you need to know

Zach Blass
  • New 18K white gold Rolex Daytona with special visual cues celebrates 100 years of 24 Hours of Le Mans race
  • Uses a new 4132 calibre exclusive to the model that features a 24-hour counter rather than the standard 12-hour counter
  • US$51,400 and not announced as a limited edition

Rolex is typically viewed as the unfaltering sombre king of the watch industry. You can trust that each year they will unveil incremental updates to their iconic collections, working to the common expression don’t fix what is not broken. Therefore, they never really reinvent the wheel. Nor due they typically display a wild side. But, this past Watches & Wonders it became very clear that Rolex does know how to party when they want to – with celebration bubbles gracing the dial of an Oyster Perpetual, a jigsaw puzzle Day-Date that used emojis rather than display the day and date, and a Daytona watch with an exhibition caseback for the first time. Today, while seemingly not all that different, Rolex celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race with a new Daytona configuration that incorporates both new visual and technical nods in honour of the race’s centenary.

Rolex Daytona 24 Hours of Lemans 2023

The 40mm white-gold case is executed in the same new 2023 format, with a ceramic insert bordered by a perimeter of metal. But, this black Cerachrom insert features a special and subtle nod to the centenary with a red ceramic inlay for the “100” numeral on the tachymetre bezel. When you look at the chronograph counters, you will also find something Rolex rarely ever does: vintage-inspired nods. The dial is quite evocative of Paul Newman era Daytona watches, like the ref. 6239. You have a black “reverse-panda” dial, red “Daytona” text bordering the 6′ counter, and the typeface used on the counters harkens back to references like the 6239 as well with a modern twist. Looking closer at the elapsed hours counter, however, you will realise the novelty of the watch is not just visual but technical as well. The Rolex Daytona features a 12-hour elapsed hours counter as standard, but here we have a 24-hour counter in honour of the 24 Hour of Le Mans race.

This is due to the fact there is a new calibre 4132 inside the watch, and this new calibre is desired by Rolex to be “exclusive” to this model – making this already special edition even more special. Also worthy of note is the fact this 24 Hours of Le Mans edition of the Daytona is the second Daytona to ever leave the factory with an exhibition caseback. The first, of course, was the 60th anniversary platinum Daytona unveiled at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023, and now the second is this 24 Hours of Le Mans white gold model (which makes it the first gold Daytona to use an exhibition caseback).

My initial impression is that this is the best Daytona model in the catalogue today, and will likely become the most sought after in the current catalogue. Sure, it’s a special configuration that will likely be rarer – although not limited. But, purely speaking on visual grounds with no consideration of aftermarket value, its rare inclusion of vintage-inspired cues, along with the subtle visual and technical nods to the 24 Hour of Le Mans, make it the most handsome Daytona in my book.

Rolex Daytona 24 Hours of Le Mans 2023 pricing and availability:

Rolex Daytona 24 Hours of Lemans 2023

Enquiries regarding this new Rolex Daytona configuration can be made at your local authorised dealer. Price: US$51,400

Brand Rolex
Model Cosmograph Daytona
Case Dimensions 40mm (D) x 11.9mm (T)
Case Material 18K white gold
Water Resistance 100 metres (screw-down crown)
Dial Black with silver registers
Crystal(s) Sapphire crystal and exhibition caseback
Strap White gold Oyster bracelet
Movement Calibre 4132, in-house, automatic, Superlative Chronometer
Power Reserve 72 hours
Functions Chronograph, hours, minutes, small running seconds
Availability Enquire at your local AD
Price US$ 51,400