A few days ago I was driving down to the Southwest of France and saw a sign indicating I was about to pass the city of Le Mans. It got me thinking about the newest version of the Daytona Rolex released a couple of weeks ago, in celebration of the iconic race’s 100th anniversary. This new Daytona, ref. 126529LN, unofficially pays tribute to the famous Paul Newman Daytona. However, as the experts point out, the 126529LN is not an homage to the Paul Newman per se, but a brand new model in its own right. (This will hopefully make sense in a little bit.) This is due to the fact that the Daytona Le Mans comes with a few unique tricks up its sleeve.
What Makes the Daytona Le Mans Special
First of all, Rolex announced the Le Mans model ref. 126529LN during the French race 100th edition, making it an even more special announcement. The Daytona 126529LN was indeed created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the race and the brand incorporated a lot of novelties into this new model. First, it brought back the Reverse Panda dial configuration, meaning white sub-registers set against a black dial, which Rolex made famous several decades ago. (A dial configuration imitated many times over by other brands.) To note is the fact that the original Paul Newman Daytona had a classic panda dial—black sub-registers on a white/cream dial.
Visually, the 126529LN displays a few of the novelties Rolex introduced to the steel Daytona’s announced earlier this year at Watches & Wonders. Notably, the see-through case-back—something Rolex had never done before—and the steel ring set between the sapphire crystal and the fixed ceramic bezel. The Le Mans version also comes with a unique detail in the fact that the “100” is painted red on the tachymeter scale. Furthermore, the sub-dials come with layouts that are reminiscent of the Paul Newman version: an alternation of Arabic numbers and square markers attached to the dial by a black line. (The sub-registers on the regular Daytona models have a different layout.)
Mechanically, the Daytona 126529LN is different too. It is equipped with a new movement, the 4132, a variant of the recently released 4131. What makes it special is the 24-hour totalizer instead of the classic 12-hour totalizer. Lastly, the case of the 126529LN is made of white gold while Daytona’s are traditionally offered in stainless steel or yellow gold cases.
Thoughts on the Daytona Le Mans 126529LN
Besides the fact that steel Daytona’s are already difficult to buy, this new version will probably be impossible to. Retailing for $51,400, the 126529LN is rather unique in the choice of the movement and the addition of visual details which, on the one end, pay tribute to the 100th anniversary celebration of the race, and on the other end, nod to the famous Paul Newman version which Rolex never re-issued. In its press release, the Swiss brand indicates that it was inspired by iconic past models, without ever mentioning the Paul Newman Daytona. After all, Rolex opted for a reverse panda dial, not the classic panda configuration, perhaps limiting its connection to the one worn by the bad stylish actor and race car driver.Featured image: www.gearpatrol.com