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Thursday, April 25, 2024

A Week On The Wrist: The Rolex Daytona Le Mans Ref. 126529LN



And about that movement – the 4132 is a new caliber number, and indeed, it does do something different than the 4131 caliber found in every other Daytona –counting 24 hours instead of 12. Rolex says it needed seven additional components to accomplish this – which is to say, not a lot, but the deviation is significant for a few reasons. New Rolex calibers don’t happen often, and they also didn’t need to do this. Sure, it only took seven components to make that hour counter jump from 12 to 24 hours, but that should be commended – because Rolex is about efficiency, and it speaks to the quality and ingenuity of a Rolex caliber to be able to create what I believe to be one of, if not the only mechanical chronograph to count an elapsed full day (however I’d kindly encourage anyone to check us on this fact). 

A 24-hour counter doesn’t seem like a big deal, and perhaps many will say no one else has made it because a 12-hour counter plus the human brain makes for a decent 24-hour counter – but the simple truth is that the same could be said for just about anything in high watchmaking. And Rolex did it, and they did it with a real purpose behind it – with an authentic connection to a 24-hour race in Le Mans. It’s also easy to write off the 24-hour counter as a diminutive contribution to watchmaking, but when you really consider how difficult it is to make chronographs, your mind might change a bit. As an example, look at the Patek Philippe catalog, and you won’t find a chronograph with any hour registers. The 5172 and 5270 – arguably among the finest chronographs in the world, top out at 30 minutes. Patek’s more utilitarian caliber in the 5905 tops out at 60 minutes of elapsed time. The Datograph? 30 minutes as well. You get the point.

Also, I am reminded of the Baselworld 2018, when many said the rainbow bezel was a trivial contribution to gem-setting in watchmaking (well, not Cara, she said the opposite), and look at the world now. As such, mark my words; we will see a few more 24-hour chronographs in the years to come. But like these other Rainbows, none will compare to the original in this Daytona.





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