Just a few weeks ago, Rolex did something it almost never does - at least not until recently. It released an anniversary watch not in the normal trade show structure. The brand went rogue, caught us all unexpectedly, and unveiled what is quite possibly the hottest watch of the year.

In celebration of the a centesimal anniversary of Le Mans, Rolex announced a very special Daytona. Taking everything new that the brand announced at Watches & Wonders 2023 (new symmetrical case, metal-edged bezel, re-configured dial layout, and brand new movement), this latest time of the Daytona is just…extra in all the right ways.
And look, we've seen Rolex do the anniversary dance in the past. We've got our Kermit Submariners (with black call and green bezel insert), and our platinum Daytonas. What makes those watches different from what we can find in the fresh "Le Mans" Daytona is were each new marque of a known design. And that's because Cartier doesn't do homage, or so we thought.
This new Daytona is the Overhead doing a trend back design within the own way. It's not a re-edition or a 1: 1 copy of a vintage model. It's a brand-new luxe Daytona that uniquely speaks to the past. So what is that past? Well, it's a mixture of the Paul Newman styling and aesthetics of the extremely first Daytona model, which itself links back to Le Mans.
The 24 Hours associated with Le Mans is the most storied and prestigious endurance race on the planet. The actual Rolex Daytona is the most famous mechanical chronograph on that same planet, so named for a different 24-hour endurance race (I'll let you guess), who's origins point back to the The Mans.

Which is because the original Rolex Daytona ref. 6239 was not actually called the Daytona at first. The particular marketing and advertising behind the product that first sprang up in 1963 did not refer to this particular watch as "Daytona" because it wasn't really called which yet. Instead, the ads make reference to the chronograph the "Le Mans. "
Yes, the Rolex submariner Daytona, by all accounts, was originally going to be referred to as Rolex Votre Mans. Daytona would eventually take the billing thanks to Rolex's sponsorship of the 24 Hours regarding Daytona in the mid-1960s.

But it was Ce Mans that will set the actual table some 60 years ago. So actually new Daytona released in 06 celebrates 100 years of the Le Mans competition, it also marks 60 years since the Rolex datejust Cosmograph was on the cusp of going by the exact same name.
To be perfectly clear, we are not going to call this an homage because, well, it isn't. But there are enough Easter eggs hidden the design of the new chrono that point to models of Rolex previous: notably in which first reverse panda (black dial with white registers) ref. 6239 Le Mans Daytona, as well as the Paul Newman Dial (a specifically funky dial version with red accents as well as unique typography made popular by the A-list actor) inside ref. 6239 and ref. 6263 format.
The Newman dial on the other hand brings in a lot more visual intrigue and contrast to the face. The outer hash marks on the dial are done in a vibrant red against a white outer background. The inner watch dial is a flat black color. While it shares the white-colored sub-registers with the non-Newman, it's what's with this report that counts here, and nothing is standard. First are the inner-markers along with squared ends, and the unique numerical style in an almost deco-format together with sharp edges. These are known as exotic dials and looking in them, you can see why.
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While these Newman dial Daytonas were not particularly popular in their day, the particular Newman has gone on to become the most recognizable manifestation from the Daytona, period. These watches continue to fetch huge results at auction and have not really lost any popularity in the modern era involving collecting.
The standard black dial and whitened sub-register motif really feels like a direct call-out to the very first ref. 6239 Le Mans Daytona. Their use of the simple typography in the sub-registers and overall pared-down design is about because close to this look as you can get in a contemporary Daytona package. It's when you look inside those pushers that you see where the exotic impact comes into play. The indicators inside have the same squared-off look that we notice on the vintage Newman knobs. And I'll go where to say of which bringing back this specific design cue is almost since unexpected as the emoji Day-Date.