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100th Anniversary of Le Mans: Rolex Anniversary Daytona 

100th Anniversary of Le Mans: Rolex Anniversary Daytona 


Just last weekend, the centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race took place in northwest France. To celebrate this special anniversary, Rolex, which has been timing this event since 2001, is releasing a new Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona model with the reference 126529LN. At Watches & Wonders in Geneva two months ago, the brand unveiled five new 60th anniversary models of the Cosmograph Dayton, which was first introduced in 1963, with visual and technical revisions. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona is a white gold model and integrates two innovations – a 24-hour-counter and the newly developed calibre 4132.

Credit © Stephan Cooper / Rolex

White gold Oyster case

In 1926, Rolex developed and patented the world’s first water-resistant case for a wristwatch. To this day, Rolex is known for its use of this case type. As its name already suggests, this year’s model has an Oyster case and consists of 18-carat white gold. It measures 40 mm in diameter and 12.2 mm in height.

Credit © JVA / Rolex

Bezel with tachymetric scale – A hallmark 

The trademark of the Daytona series is the bezel with a tachymetric scale, which already featured on the original model from the 1960s. The new Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona has a black Cerachrom bezel. In true Rolex style, high-tech ceramic makes up the bezel in a monobloc construction. Thus, the bezel is scratch- and corrosion-resistant. A thin layer of platinum, applied through the PVD (Physical Vapour Disposition) process, covers the recessed numerals, graduations, and inscriptions on the tachymetric scale. Only the number 100, which refers to the special occasion of this edition, incorporates red ceramic instead of platinum.

Credit © JVA / Rolex

Deep insights 

Scratch-resistant and anti-reflective sapphire crystal protects the sensitive movement on the front and back of the case. As a result, the sapphire crystal, framed by fluted metal, makes up the fully visible caseback and offers deep insights into the mechanisms of the ornate movement. The entire caseback has been firmly screwed down with a special key, and only authorized watchmakers can open it. In addition to the sealed caseback, the pushers and the 18-carat white gold triplock winding crown can also be screwed down. The latter possesses a triple sealing system and additional protection against water is provided by cams in the middle section. All these elements ensure that the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona is completely waterproof up to a depth of 100 m.

Credit © JVA / Rolex

Playing with contrasts – The dial

Contrasts make colour concepts appear both refined and compelling. On the dial of the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, these colour contrasts are established through the reverse panda dial. In comparison to the conventional panda dial, which visually resembles its namesake, this one distinguishes itself through its black colour and white subdials.

Credit © JVA / Rolex

Reverse Panda Dial 

This timepiece has a bright black dial with a radial cut pattern. The unnumbered indices and the hour, minute, and second hands have an 18-karat white gold setting. While the second hand is shaped like an arrow, a black lacquer line runs through the hour and minute hands (except for the hands on the subdials). For accurate readability in unfavourable light conditions, Chromalight, which glows blue in the dark, covers the indices and the hands.

Credit © JVA / Rolex

Contrasting with the black dial are the two subdials and the small seconds, coloured in white. The counters allow the wearer to measure time intervals and determine average speeds. Here, too, the design strongly references Rolex connection to car racing and the history of the Daytona models, as they were originally developed and adapted to the needs of racing drivers. The Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona dial features a 30-minute-counter at three o’clock. At the position above 6 o’clock, the small seconds are displayed. By means of a stop-second time can be set precisely. However, this model’s novelty lies in its 24-hour-counter at 9 o’clock. Instead of the usual 12 hours, the chronograph measures the hours – in accordance with the 24-hour race at Le Mans – in a 24-hour format.

Credit © Stephan Cooper / Rolex

New Calibre 4132

At the beginning of the year, Rolex presented a new calibre to mark the 60th anniversary of the Daytona. Now comes another innovation: calibre 4132. Rolex specially created it for the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. It is a further development of the recently introduced calibre 4131, making it possible to measure 24 hours instead of the usual 12.

Credit © JVA / Rolex

Patented efficiency

A perpetual rotor drives the automatic movement, which oscillates at a frequency of 4 Hz. For greater durability of the movement and more accurate timekeeping, the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona features several Rolex patented elements. The proprietary Chronergy escapement, for example, is made of a nickel-phosphorus alloy and thus has a high energetic efficiency. Furthermore, a patented Paraflex anti-shock system increases the shock resistance of the movement by holding the oscillator. The blue Parachrom hairspring, made of a paramagnetic alloy, also contributes to the resistance to shocks and high-temperature fluctuations. Furthermore, it has a Rolex end curve that guarantees a regular rate in all positions.

Credit © JVA / Rolex

In order to establish a drive for the chronograph’s 24-hour hand at half the rotation speed of the gear train, an additional reduction system was added. The epicycloidal gear consists of seven components and is patented. In addition, the number of components was reduced for greater reliability of the chronograph.

Aesthetic design

The transparent caseback allows a closer look at the individual components of the calibre 4132. On the bridges, there are finishes in the form of the Rolex Côtes de Genève. As a variation of the traditional Côtes de Genève pattern, it features a delicate polished line between the individual stripes. Besides the polished decorations, golden elements add to the aesthetics of this Daytona edition: the open-worked oscillating weight is made of 18-carat yellow gold with an optimised ball bearing, and the four fine-adjusting Microstella-nuts are also gold.

Credit © JVA / Rolex

Meeting the highest standards

Moreover, this movement does not only carry the COSC-certification but Rolex’s in-house “superlative chronometer” credentials with an international five-year guarantee. This means that Rolex has set its own additional precision standards that its movements must meet in tests. For example, the accuracy, measured after the casing, is at -2/+2 seconds per day. The power reserve lasts for up to 72 hours.

Credit © Adam Warner / Rolex

Strap, price, and availability

Matching the case, the Oyster bracelet with its three-piece links is made of 18-carat white gold. While the central links and flanks are polished, the outer segments are satin-finished. Rolex-developed and patented ceramic inserts in the strap elements ensure greater durability. Thanks to an Easylink extension, the strap can also be extended by approximately 5 mm. A folding Oysterlock safety clasp prevents the bracelet from accidentally opening. Price on request.

Credit © JVA / Rolex


MODEL Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona
CASE MATERIAL 18-carat white gold Oyster-case with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, black Cerachrom bezel with tachymetric scale
DIMENSIONS Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 12.2 mm
DIAL Black dial with white subdials, indices, hour, minute, and second hands with a 18-karat white gold setting, Chromalight
STRAP/BRACELET 18-carat white gold Oyster-bracelet with three-piece solid links, folding Oysterlock safety clasp, Easylink extension
FUNCTIONS Hours, minutes, seconds, small seconds, 30-minute-counter, 24-hour-counter
PRICE On request