It’s fair to say the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is a watch with which Juan Pablo Montoya is rather familiar. “I probably have about seven or eight of them,” he comments. “I won the Rolex 24 three times, and it’s a watch that really relates to all of my racing.” The modern-era racing legend’s interest was clearly piqued, then, when the independent Swiss watch customisation boutique Artisans de Genève presented the idea to build a skeleton version of the classic chronograph.
We’ve been advocates of Artisans de Genève’s audaciously modified watches for some time, now – particularly its limited-edition tributes to iconic references and the ultra-cool Brooklyn-inspired Daytona it created with the legendary director Spike Lee. And Montoya’s Rolex is arguably the most impressive yet. Limited to just 50 pieces, ‘La Montoya’ is the first Daytona equipped with a skeleton dial, allowing an unobstructed view of the extensively modified movement below.
The movement itself was developed by Artisans de Genève’s talented watchmakers over two years in order to make it beautiful enough to ‘sing’ through the skeleton dial. Each movement is painstakingly rebuilt by hand over 100s of hours and is thus unique. Other special features include the tachymeter bezel machined from forged carbon, hand-painted custom sub-dial hands, and the Swiss Maison’s signature solid-gold movement rotor, visible through the exhibition caseback.
The thought of a skeleton Rolex Daytona might sound alarming at first, but the result is actually very impressive. The stunning execution and finishing of the movement coupled with the forged carbon bezel and coloured sub-registers lend the piece a thoroughly modern feel – one that nods to the Daytona’s future, while also honouring its illustrious past. And Juan Pablo Montoya is the perfect fit for this most daring of timepieces. We imagine his other Daytonas will be getting significantly less wrist time with this one in the winder.
Photos: Artisans de Genève