Yesterday, on January 29, 2017, the 55th edition of the Rolex 24 (aka 24 hours of Daytona) race took place, sponsored by, of course, Rolex. Part of what that means is that the winner get’s a special Rolex watch, so we were naturally interested to have a look at the watch itself.
After 659 laps over the course of 24 hours around the Daytona speedway in Florida, Ricky Taylor, driving the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R was the winner. Along with the bragging rights, the prestige of winning the race, and (obviously) the trophy, Taylor and his team (which includes Jeff Gordon) are also receiving a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona watch in two-tone steel and yellow gold with a white dial. This is clearly not just any Rolex Daytona, but is engraved on the back exclaiming it’s meant for the wrist of the driver who wins the grueling 24-hour race.
When discussing the win, Taylor specifically referenced the watch’s significance, saying, “After an intense race in tough conditions, it is such a relief to stand in Victory Lane as winners of ‘The Rolex.’ We take part in this race with the dream of winning the 24-hour marathon but also of one day putting a Rolex Daytona on our wrists. It really is the ultimate reward in motorsport and a reminder of our success. I’m very proud to be added to the accomplished list of Rolex 24 At Daytona winners.”
It looks like Taylor got the ref. 116503 Rolex Daytona which is the two-tone steel and 18k yellow gold model. Rolex slightly updated the Daytona line last year by introducing a cerachrome ceramic bezel model, but I don’t think anyone is going to complain about getting the gold bezel here. Specific Daytona models given to the winning team vary year to year. What they share in common, however, is the satisfyingly pithy engraved case back with the race’s logo, the year, and the word “Winner.”
The 24 Hours of Daytona is a physically and likely emotionally taxing race, and the glory of victory is guaranteed to go from an ephemeral feeling to a wrist-trophy. If you have the money but still need some marathon driving practice, you can buy a Rolex Daytona ref. 116503 for $16,900. rolex.com