Ever wanted a Paul Newman Panda dial Rolex without the price tag? Turns out, your lusting might not have been in vain. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the fabled 24 Hours of Le Mans racing event, Rolex has unveiled a limited-edition Cosmograph Daytona that bears a striking resemblance to the pieces favoured by the iconic American actor. Importantly, however, this handy edition won’t set you back seven figures, with the new Cosmograph Daytona 24 Hours of Le Mans edition priced at just USD$51,400, provided you can get your hands on one.
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The new Rolex Daytona was fittingly unveiled at the 100th running of the event on Friday, giving motor racing fans an early glimpse at maison’s new toy. Loosely based on this year’s Watches & Wonder’s novelties, the Le Mans edition arrives in a stunning 18k white gold design, flawlessly contrasting the familiar reverse panda dial. Throw in the stunning ceramic tachymeter scale, alongside the bright and bold ‘100’ marker at 7 o’clock and you’ve got a recipe for a modern classic.
Speaking on the updated Cosmograph, Rolex revealed that it is powered by the exclusive calibre 4132 movement. This new addition effectively allows the hours of the chronograph function to be counted over twenty-four hours – a reference to the iconic race – instead of the model’s usual twelve.
“This movement incorporates the Chronergy escapement, Paraflex shock absorbers, and bridges decorated with Rolex Côtes de Genève,” Rolex said. “The cut-out oscillating weight in 18 ct yellow gold is fitted with an optimized ball bearing. Like all Rolex watches, this special version of the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.”
Now, it goes without saying, Rolex isn’t one to stray from the path. Over the past few decades, the much-loved Swiss watchmaker has leant heavily into nostalgia, churning out updated versions of its classic releases. So much so, the brand’s Watches & Wonder’s showing generally reads like a ‘Greatest Hits’ catalogue, however, Rolex has perpetually stopped short of releasing anything too Paul Newman-esque. And while the brand hasn’t directly named Newman as the inspiration behind the new timepiece, it would be a fitting nod.
An avid collector and motor racing fanatic, Newman was regularly spotted wearing a Rolex whilst behind the wheel, most notably at 1995 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Here, Newman’s team claimed a podium finish and a steel and yellow gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona in the process. While the win is arguably his greatest connection to the track, Newman also raced at the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing second, alongside co-drivers Rolf Stommelen and Dick Barbour.
Famously, Newman’s collection has been a hit with fans, particularly those with deep pockets. In 2017, a buyer paid a whopping $17.7 million price paid for a 1968 ref. 6239, while the Rolex Daytona 6263 Paul Newman Lemon Dial, known simply as The Legend, also hit the auction block recently.
Priced at USD$51,400, the new Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 24 Hours of Le Mans Edition will be a limited release, however, the brand hasn’t revealed availability just yet. One thing is for certain though – if the Oscar winner was still alive today, you can bet Newman would have been racing to the front of the queue.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 24 Hours of le Mans Edition
- Brand: Rolex
- Model: Daytona Cosmograph
- Reference: Ref/126529LN
- Calibre: Rolex 4132
- Diameter: 40mm
- Material: 18k white gold
- Water-Resistance: 100-metres
- Power Reserve: 72 hours
- Price: USD$51,400
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