The Rolex Daytona reference 126529LN, celebrating 100 years of Le Mans in style


The Rolex Daytona reference 126529LN, celebrating 100 years of Le Mans in style


The surprise release looks set to be the hottest Daytona of 2023.
This year was already shaping up to be an excellent year for the Rolex Daytona, which was a hero of their Watches & Wonders release slate, and the release of the Rolex Daytona Reference 126529LN, a white gold model with some special details, may just be the cherry on the cake.

Version of the Cosmograph Daytona created in honour of the 24 Hours of Le Mans centenary

So why are we getting a new Rolex outside the brand’s typically predictable release schedule? Le Mans. The 100th anniversary of the iconic 24 hours of Le Mans race has just taken place, and Rolex — a brand with deep ties in the world of motorsports, has seen fit to pay tribute.

The Oyster case of the Cosmograph Daytona created in honour of the 24 Hours of Le Mans centenary is fitted with a transparent case back in sapphire

As for the watch, well, it takes as its base the updated models we saw a few months ago for the 60th anniversary of the prestigious model, with an updated case profile and reworked dial with smaller hour markers and narrower registers, lending the watch a more vintage air. These changes are relatively subtle, but the updates made to honour the French endurance race are a little more striking.

On the tachymetric scale, the number “100” is in red ceramic in reference to the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans

First of all, the reverse panda dial configuration, which, when paired with the black Cerachrom bezel, is a clear nod to coveted vintage pieces. This is the first time in the current catalogue that we’ve seen this particular combination of dial and bezel, which is in and of itself enough to rocket this model to the top of everyone’s most-wanted list, on top of that, the ‘100’ markers on the glossy Cerachrom bezel is picked out in red, to mark the centenary. But more importantly than this, it’s a likely nod to a famous figure in both the history of Le Mans and Rolex — the one and only Paul Newman, who raced in the 1979 Le Mans.

The chronograph hour counter features a 24-hour display instead of the model’s usual 12-hour format

A less obvious change — but one that speaks to the heart of this piece — is on the chronograph hour register. Your typical Daytona tracks up to 12 hours of elapsed time; this one (naturally) can handle 24. This thematic update has required a tweaking of the movement, which sees this watch use a variation of the new calibre 4131 called the 4132. And, in case knowing that this uncommon movement is in reference 126529LN wasn’t enough, you can see it too, through the exhibition caseback — which makes this model and the top-tier platinum model the only exhibition back Daytonas ever made.

Calibre 4132 is exclusive to the version of the Cosmograph Daytona created to celebrate the 24 House of Le Mans centenary

Close-up of the inside of calibre 4132, which contains a gear reduction system enabling the hours of the chronograph function to be used over 24 hours

This surprising new Daytona will already be a hot ticket item, but the addition of unusual and unique design elements elevates this king of chronographs to a whole other level.

Tech Specs

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona reference 126529LN

Movement: Rolex Calibre 4132, automatic, 72 hours of power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph with 24-hour register
Case: White gold, 40mm, water-resistant to 100M
Dial: Black
Strap: white gold Oyster bracelet
Price: USD 51,400