By far the most interesting detail on the Rolex Cellini Moonphase watch dial is the moon phase indicator disc itself. This is a decidedly “non-mass-produced” object made using an enameling technique as well as having a moon disc produced from a piece of meteorite. Those familiar with moon phase indicators will immediately see that Rolex’s interpretation of the moon phase complication is unique. Rolex explained that they wanted their moon phase indicating watch to be a bit different from others out there.


Accurate to 122 years when initially set, the moon phase indicator uses an indicator arrow below the hands and the disc itself turns. Typically, there would be a frame over the disc to help offer a more visual indication of the moon’s shape in the sky. Here, however, there is a solid meteorite moon opposite a totally dark moon. The disc moves in one direction, and the idea, I believe, is that both discs represent the moon as the disc makes a full rotation.

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From a visual perspective, this offers a less “precise” way of viewing the phases of the moon but is nevertheless attractive on the dial. I believe the takeaway message is clear in that Rolex wanted to do something different, wanted the dial of the watch to be beautiful, and also appreciated that the complication itself would be of only limited utility to the wearers. Thus, for all intents and purposes, the moon phase complication is an “emotional animation” on the dial of very nice watch from a brand that, for the most part, is dedicated to the production of very practical movements (even if the exteriors of Rolex timepieces are often more playful).


It is difficult to draw conclusions about what this means for the Rolex brand which, for the most part, is seen as the most self-assured and stable of all the luxury watch brands. Rolex seems to have extremely well-planned ideas, and nicely curated designs. With that said, Rolex certainly engages in their share of experimentation and error-correcting. My point is that while the Rolex Cellini Moonphase is a lovely and very well-made watch, it eschews at least some of the typical “codes” which many people consider being the rules that define a modern Rolex watch. At the least, the 50535 Rolex Cellini Moonphase is Rolex in full experimentation mode – and I suppose there is nothing wrong with that.


The 39mm-wide Rolex Cellini case is not an Oyster, but it still has a screw-down crown and is water-resistant to 50m. Over the dial is a double-domed, AR-coated sapphire crystal. Inside the watch is an in-house-made “Superlative Chronometer Certified” Rolex automatic caliber 3195 movement with 48 hours of power reserve operating at 4Hz. Complications include the time, moon phase, and a pointer-style date which uses a blued steel (also something you don’t see every day at today’s Rolex) hand. This latter element is another item (like the moon phase disc) that is not likely produced in high quantities.

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The white lacquer dial is attractive and true to the modern Rolex Cellini watch family. It presents visual interest and all the symmetrical harmony you’d expect from a dress watch. This is a beautiful dress watch in an extremely traditional manner.


While I like the 50535 Rolex Cellini Moonphase quite a bit, I recognize that this is a Rolex timepiece that is looking to the past as opposed to looking at the future. Yes, you can argue that Rolex is playing with new movements and technologies (such as the production of an enamel disc as well as the flame-blued steel hand), but they are doing it in a package that, from a thematic standpoint, is almost unrecognizable for the brand. What you might see are people going from other brands back to Rolex for a watch like this, as opposed to Rolex selling to mostly existing customers. It is difficult to predict the market success of the Rolex Cellini Moonphase or who its customers will be. Nevertheless, this is a truly attractive and certainly rare timepiece from a brand like Rolex. Price for the 18k Everose gold Rolex Cellini Moonphase reference 50525 is 25,500 CHF.

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