For Rolex, 2023 marks a series of significant anniversaries: from seventy years of the Giraglia sail yachting cup to one hundred years of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For sports and statistics enthusiasts 2023 has lots to offer. But apart from their anniversaries, the legendary motorsport event and one of the most exciting offshore races held in the Med have a lot in common, starting with the fact that in both, times are measured by Rolex. (Here all our posts about Rolex)
Rolex and Black Jack
The brand saw Black Jack 100 cross the line in Genoa in real time. Peter Harburg’s 100-foot yacht made its most significant effort in the 2023 season, leaving in its wake a fleet of 155 experienced competitors. At the finish Harburg said, “It was a fantastic race. After winning the Rolex Fastnet and the Rolex Sydney Hobart this was the one title I needed to complete the hat-trick, and I couldn’t be happier to be here. I’ve had Black Jack for five years now, and we’ve made some significant updates to the yacht – we’ve modified the stern, moved the mast forward, mounted new sails and lengthened the keel and rudder.
Along with most of the crew I’ve been sailing for more than 25 years, and we’re a very seasoned team, dating back to the first Black Jack, the 66-foot Reichel/Pugh I started with”. The 100-foot Australian craft took 26 hours, 13 minutes and 16 seconds to cover the 215 miles separating St. Tropez and Genoa.
It’s only a short step from the waters of the Mediterranean to the asphalt, from the markers of a yacht racing course to the motor racing circuit, and from the helm of a sail yacht to the wheel of a supercar, or rather a hypercar. Another notable contest took place a few days before Black Jack 100’s win, not just a run-of-the-mill competition but the queen of motorsport endurance races.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans
Around one thousand kilometres from the Cote d’Azur resort the curtain rose on the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. The centenary edition of the race, with timekeeping once again handled by Rolex, saw an all-Italian team mount the top step of the podium.
After 342 laps completed over the 24 hours of the race, the Ferrari 499P number 51 pulled off the Italian manufacturer’s first win here for fifty years. Antonio Giovinazzi, one of the contributors to this result, said of this historic success, “Winning the Le Mans is always special, doing it with Ferrari in the main category is even more so and we’re very proud of everything we’ve done with the team. I haven’t mounted a podium for years, I cried because there were many years of sacrifices and years of suffering behind the win, but in the end you just have to believe in yourself”.
The Giraglia and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the worlds of yacht racing and motorsports. They are both imbued with emotion and above all with values that for the Geneva-based brand are an inexhaustible source of inspiration. An unusual version of the Yacht-Master 42 evokes the sea and yacht racing. At the most recent Watches & Wonders show this collection, launched in 2019, featured for the first time a model with case and bracelet in RLX titanium, a robust, corrosion-resistant material that is also extremely light. This means a reduction in weight of a third compared to a similar watch in steel. A watch to wear during yacht races or for everyday use.
A Special Birthday for Rolex
2023 edition of the queen of motorsports was the setting for the launch of a commemorative edition of the famous Daytona chronograph. The Ref. 126529LN has a 40 mm white gold case. The tachymetric scale marked in Cerachrom on the black bezel features a number 100 filled in with red ceramic, a clear reference to the race centenary.
The “reverse panda” colour scheme of the dial recalls the look of several models that have shaped this chronograph’s history. Another homage to the famous endurance race is provided by the chronographic hour counter, which measures 24 hours rather than the traditional 12. This explains the decision to equip this model with the new in-house 4132 movement, a development of the calibre 4131. The special edition of the Daytona is completed by a three-link white gold Oyster bracelet.