Two GOATs convened at NASCAR’s Ally 400 over the weekend: Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, wearing what is arguably the greatest watch of all time, a rose-gold Rolex Cosmograph Daytona.
Jordan is wearing a particularly dazzling version of what is ostensibly one of Rolex’s sport models, but this reference is a far cry from the watch’s rugged roots: the case is made out of 18-carat rose gold and there are diamonds in place of the typical hour markers. The rose-gold and black dial combination is a Jordan favorite—gold and black is a combination that appears on many of his signature sneakers. The watch has long been a staple in the Rolex catalog, but it’s having a particularly show-off 2023, and landing on Jordan’s wrist is yet another bucket for the Daytona.
Since its inception in 1963, the Rolex Daytona has found its way onto some of the most famous wrists of our time, through the endorsement of Paul Newman to Eric Claption to Jay-Z and Ed Sheeran (with Jordan even donning the hallowed 6241 Paul Newman dial).
This year Rolex revitalized the Daytona to mark its 60th anniversary. The brand’s stated intention was to rebalance the dial so the watch features slimmed-down hour markers and thinner subdial rings. The engine inside (known as the 4131 movement) is now visible for the first time ever on the platinum version of the Daytona.
But Rolex didn’t just leave Daytona fans lusting over the new 2023 icon, however. Instead, they added another model into the mix, launching the novel Le Mans edition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the annual 24 hour race. The watch comes in 18-carat white gold, but the most exciting bits are the little touches: the number ‘100’ in red ceramic and a chronograph (stopwatch feature) that now tops out at 24 hours. It wouldn’t be surprising if this new Panda dial was on Jordan’s wrist before long.
Jordan already has multiple Daytonas his collection, showcasing the Platona reference in (you guessed it) platinum with an ice blue dial and as well as the reference actor Paul Newman wore that’s now known simply by his name. A version of that watch, of course, sold for $17.8 million in 2017, briefly holding the record for most expensive watch ever.
While Jordan’s hoop days may be over, he’s setting watch collecting records off the court now. From Rolex alone he’s got Sky Dwellers, GMTs, and Day Dates, but he’s renowned for thinking further afield when it comes to what’s on his wrist. The NBA Hall of Fame star is usually out and about on the race tracks or courtside with a custom Urwerk or two on his wrist, a spage-age Roger Dubuis, Ulysse Nardin, or the super-classic A. Lange & Söhne. So when Jordan decides to induct a new watch into his collection, it’s important to take note.
Jordan might’ve hung up his 23 jersey over a decade ago now, but greatness always follows greatness. Sure enough, the Rolex Daytona belongs on the wrist of the world’s greatest basketballer.