Rolex and the 24 Hours at Daytona
With Rolex 24 at Daytona kicking off this weekend, we take a look back at what sparked the iconic relationship
Rolex, a watch making company known for its exquisite timepieces has always been the benchmark in premium time keeping. But the Swiss manufacturer has interests other than horology and has been a longstanding contributor to the world of motorsport. The involvement of the watchmaker in the high-octane world of motorsport dates back to 1933, when Sir Malcolm Campbell broke land speed records at Daytona Beach with a Rolex Oyster strapped around his wrist. After which, Rolex has been an active contributor to various different types of motorsports including Formula 1, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Goodwood Revival, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and other events like the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Rolex’s Motorsport journey begins with Sir Malcom Campbell, a British racing driver who had a penchant for speed. Campbell has been attributed with setting various speed records, on land and on water. In 1933, he achieved a record speed of 438kmph aboard his land speed record car, the ‘Bluebird’. The Bluebird was a 27-foot front engine land-speed car that in its final iteration was powered by an enormous 36.7-litre supercharged Rolls-Royce R V12 engine that put out 2268.5bhp of power. It was this very car with which he broke the land speed record in 1935 by crossing the 483kmph barrier at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
Rolex has been a supporter of endurance racing and has been the official timekeeper for the 24 Hours at Daytona since 1962. To commemorate its affiliation with the Daytona International Speedway and the Race, Rolex inscribed ‘Daytona’ to the dial of the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph. The watch was then called the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona and it has been awarded to the winner of the endurance race ever since. Rolex has further strengthened its relationship with the sport to an extent that it became its title sponsor in 1992 and it has been called the Rolex 24 at Daytona ever since.
The 59th Rolex 24 at Daytona kicks off on Saturday, January 30 and it will be the 30th year of the endurance race with Rolex as its title sponsor. We wish all the drivers the best of luck and may the best racer win that iconic Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona.