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A SHARED HISTORY OF SPEED

SIR MALCOLM CAMPBELL AND DAYTONA

The affinity between Rolex and motorsport began in the 1930s when Sir Malcolm Campbell became a legend of speed, pushing the boundaries of innovation and engineering. 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Sir Malcolm Campbell setting his first World Land Speed Record of 235 km/h at Pendine Sands, Wales. He would then go on to break eight more, five of which were set at Daytona Beach, Florida – recognised as the birthplace of speed. 

In 1933, Sir Malcolm reached 438 km/h behind the wheel of his legendary car, Bluebird, at Daytona, with a Rolex Oyster on his wrist. Sir Malcolm’s quest for the ultimate performance matched his demand for precision, as he relayed in a telegram to Rolex: “Rolex watch worn during the record attempt and still going splendidly notwithstanding rough usage received.” This newfound relationship laid the foundation for Rolex’s long-term endorsement of motorsport around the world.

In March 1935, at the age of 50 years, Sir Malcolm set what would be the fastest speed on the mythical shores of Daytona, contending 445.5 km/h, before going on to break the 483 km/h barrier at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, later that year. Continuously challenging the limits of human endeavour, Sir Malcolm became Rolex’s first motorsport Testimonee, paving the way for the next generation of racing talent to strive for excellence.

Since the 1930s, Rolex’s enduring affiliation with the world of high-intensity racing has thrived, embodied by the Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. This iconic timepiece stands as a tribute to the unwavering determination exemplified by pioneers such as Sir Malcolm, and is awarded to those who triumph at the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA. With an unwavering commitment tracing back to the inception of endurance racing at Daytona, Rolex formalised its long-standing partnership with the twice-around-the-clock race in 1992, when the Swiss watchmaker became the event’s title sponsor. From Saturday 27, to Sunday 28 January, the 2024 Rolex 24 At DAYTONA marked the start of Rolex’s support for the international motor racing season, representing yet another milestone in this extraordinary legacy.

LAST WORD

This year, the prestigious Daytona International Speedway celebrated its 65th anniversary as a sanctuary for endurance racing supporters and watch aficionados alike. Reflecting on a milestone year for the sport, Rolex Testimonee and endurance racing legend Tom Kristensen says: “The future of sports car racing has never been better – coming off the back of the 24 Hours of Le Mans centenary in 2023 and now celebrating 65 years of racing at Daytona International Speedway this past January.”

Report & Images by ROLEX

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