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The Circuit's Clocks

The history of a very familiar part of the circuit.

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A year of preparation to do battle for a day, when winning is maybe decided within tenths of a second ... The race of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is related to the measurement of time! Yet looking back at history, the first official clock was seen in 1949!

1931 Until 1955 a clock was on top of the Dunlop bridge which was then at the beginning of the corner, so this Talbot approaching the eponymous corner would have seen it.  
1949 One of the most famous jewellers of Le Mans, Hardyau, produced the first official clock for  Rolex.  
1956 After the disaster of 1955, the pit buildings were rebuilt, and there was the first clock perpendicular to the pitlane which showed the green and red pitlane lights.  
1959 Dutray, another great jeweller of Le Mans produced a famous round clock, later it could be seen at the Alain Prost Karting track until an unscrupulous person stole it in the 80s.  
1974 Dutray, again, produced the first digital clock at the circuit, sponsored by Tissot.    
1976 A return to a classical style again by  Dutray, a round clock produced  in conjunction with Seiko.    
1988 Many clocks sponsored by Ferrari – but made by Cartier – appeared in the pit lane.  
1991 Rebuilding of the pitlane grandstand allows the building of a bridge spanning the pitlane, It has a huge central focus, including a clock, a tachometer, an anemometer, a thermometer and the pitlane lights. The clock, remote controlled and satellite enabled, has the colours of the Bodet company from Tours, specializing in displays at stations and airports.  
2001 The  Rolex company has a long history and their "crown" again overlooks the grid.  Gold, and double sided, it inexorably counts the passage of time for 250,000 pairs of eyes that scrutinize it each year.  


In 1951 the driver of this Talbot  could have seen this clock as he came past the Dunlop bridge, The round Dutray clock of 1959. The current Rolex clock tells the time but also much more....

To see more about Rolex at Le Mans please visit : www.rolex.com/magazine/sports-and-culture/motor-sports/the-24-hours-of-le-mans.html


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