March 30, 2014
by Victor Marks
When we think about Rolex, we think about sport models like Submariner, or dress models like the Datejust and Day-Date, but it’s important to remember that Rolex has a range of luxury dress watches in its Cellini collection.
At Baselworld 2014, Rolex has just announced three new Cellini models, which were hinted at earlier this week. The Rolex Cellini comes in new sizes, with new cases, and even some new movements for Rolex.
The Rolex Cellini Time, announced today, is a very elegant expression of the traditional 3 handed watch, equipped with center seconds, minutes, and hour hands. The Cellini collection also includes the Cellini Date (with the date) and the Cellini Dual Time, with a two time zone complication and day/night indicator. In this article I will focus exclusively on the Cellini Time – which is the most basic and traditional of three models.
Traditionally, Cellini models share very little with their Rolex sport and dress watch brethren. They use different cases, dials, and handsets. However, as we read the specifications, innovations pioneered for the 3135 movement have made their way back into the calibre used in the 2014 Cellini range. Notably, it’s a self-winding movement with a Blue Parachrom hairspring with Breguet overcoil, beating at 28,800 beats/hour (4Hz), equipped with 31 rubies.
With the new models comes an increase in size, to 39mm. The new models are all equipped with a double bezel, fluted and then domed. The crown is a tapered fluted affair that screws down to the case, helping it attain its 50 meter water resistant rating although these Cellini models – as they have historically done – are among the few Rolex watches without an Oyster-style case. The caseback is a domed back with flutes that recalls some of the models from Rolex’s history. The lugs have more in common with those of a Datejust than they do with a Cellini Cestello or Cellini Prince. It’s not wrong to say that this new collection feels like Rolex is referencing the very best of their history in these elegant timepieces, and further attempting to present to the consumer a dress watch for tuxedo or very formal occasions.
This collection really resonates with me. I’m a fan of vintage pieces and the history behind them. The Rolex Cellini Time feels like it was created by a manufacture that understands their history and approaches it with reverence. Interestingly, the minute track is not at the edge of the dial, but instead it bisects the hour markers. I’m not sure that I’m a fan of the dial markers being split by the minute track. If the markers weren’t so long, or the minute track as far in from the edges as it is, the hands might be too short. As implemented, the minute hand reaches the minute track and the hour hand reaches the hour markers and it feels well-proportioned.
Everything about this watch is elegance, classic lines, and almost has a sense of nobility. I can’t help but compare it to the Datejust and think, “this is what it looks like when a Datejust grows up.” The lugs aren’t dissimilar, and the bezel is narrow, leaving more dial to gaze at. At 39mm, I feel like it’s the perfect size without being too large or too small by today’s standards.
The Rolex Cellini Time is available in 18k white gold or Everose Gold, and dials and hands are made to match. For example, if you had an 18k white gold Cellini Time, it would come equipped with either a white or black dial with 18k white gold markers and 18k white gold hands. The alligator strap is finished with a matching 18k white gold buckle. If white gold isn’t your style, the watch is available in an 18k Everose gold case, with 18k pink gold hands and markers, and an 18k Everose buckle on the alligator strap. The Everose version has the option of either a brown of black alligator strap.
The dials are available in white or black lacquer or embellished with a black or a silver-plated classic “Rayon flammé de la gloire” guilloche motif, and both have the applied hour markers, along with printed roman numerals in the four cardinal directions. Straps are black alligator or brown alligator, depending on which case material you choose. The Rolex Cellini Time will be priced at 14,500 Swiss francs or right around $16,350. rolex.com