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Rolex Cellini Time: Return Of The Crown’s Dress Watch

Rolex Cellini Time: Return Of The Crown's Dress Watch Hands-On

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.

Rolex Cellini Time: Return Of The Crown's Dress Watch Hands-On

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.

Rolex Cellini Time: Return Of The Crown's Dress Watch Hands-On

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.

Rolex Cellini Time: Return Of The Crown's Dress Watch Hands-On

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.

About the Author

An electronics product evangelist in the US, Victor Marks has loved watches, cars and guitars for years. Mechanical over quartz, manual over automatic, the finer things are made with attention to detail.
What do you think?
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  • hautejalapeno

    A very average looking watch. I’m not surprised celling doesn’t take centre stage for rolex. This looks like a $2000 watch at most. Why in the name of God are the minute markers there? Also it’s doesn’t particularly look slim or elegant to me. There’s a dozen dress watches that I would pick. Perhaps it looks better in the flesh

    • Jonathan Shepard

      The white gold is totally gorgeous. The dial is done in the same fashion as the new Patek worldtime, delicate. Even the clasp on the strap is stunning and well-thought out.

  • trj66

    Boring beyond belief…

  • MikeinFrankfurt

    Better than in the past…the case (lugs), caseback and crown are a huge step in the right direction.  Would like to see more exciting dials.  The Cellini script looks cheesy to me.

    I thought I’d stand in wonder yesterday at the show when seeing these and I moved on pretty quickly…

  • Ulysses31

    An attractive watch.  Not soul-crushingly boring and uninspired like the Submariner.  Without even knowing the price, I bet I could get a more refined take on this style at a better price from another brand.  This is another one of those models that they are hoping will sell on the brand-name alone, and it probably will, especially those from the Middle and Far East who buy in to the “West is the best” philosophy.

  • rolexfan

    Why does ROLEX continue to make this grabage line of watches? 
    Same with TUDOR.  Another attempt to sell to the poorman.
    When you have a name like ROLEX, why come out with these crappy subnames
    like cellini and tudor??

  • I can’t lie, I like it. It is certainly nicer than the original Cellini iterations of yore. The price smells, but what can you expect from Rolex. They’ve got all the R&D to pay for.

  • Stuart Russell

    rolexfan I don’t mind strong opinions but it’s nice when these opinions are based on some fact rather than simple prejudice. It’s been many years since Tudor was formally owned by, and associated with, Rolex and, given the prices of the pieces within the Cellini range, you could hardly accuse Rolex of offering a lesser product here. 
    Many people, myself included, do not necessarily equate Rolex with haute horologie (as opposed to first-class brand marketing) and so consider the Cellini range to be a more interesting, discreet and characterful choice. Is it any surprise that Rolex exhibits at Baselworld and not SIHH?

  • GradyPhilpott

    Stuart Russell rolexfan  Rolex still “formally” owns and is “associated” with Tudor.  There doesn’t seem to much knowledge exhibited in the comment section.

  • DangerussArt

    Why so costly?  There’s not *that* much precious metal here, nor much of anything worth $16,3K

  • Emperius

    Hey guys.. every YouTube video embedded here comes up with this…

    “This video contains content from Rightster Entertainment. It is
    restricted from playback on certain sites.
    Watch on YouTube”

    I have to keep going to YouTube to watch videos.

  • Ulysses31

    Emperius Works fine for me.

  • Emperius Might be your firewall settings or the browser you use.

  • AnnaNuehm

    rolexfan Sorry, but are you trolling? Your comment makes no sense whatsoever. How is a beautiful $16k precious metal watch “poor man’s garbage”? And how is “Cellini” a “subname”? Following that logic, the Submariner, Datejust or Daytona aren’t real Rolexes, either, but “subnames”. Which is obviously not the case. All of these watches have the Rolex name and the crown on the dial.

  • marbstiu

    hautejalapeno  The Grand Seiko looks better

  • Zeitblom

    Well, it has one thing going for it — it doesn’t look like a Rolex. Of course you can get far better watches for less money, but if you *must* have a Rolex, this is the one.

  • DG Cayse

    Quite a lovely time piece.

    And a nice review & video.

  • Stuart Russell

    GradyPhilpott Stuart Russell I presume your cack-handed insult was missing the word ‘be’. I therefore wholeheartedly agree.

  • DeanAsh

    What “West is the best” philosophy? Stupid comment.

  • gfornell

    I have always liked rolex but never been compelled to actually pursue one because I feel at whatever price point that rolex has a watch, you can get something else mechanically superior for the same money. 

    This is just incredible though, especially compared to the extremely boring previous cellini models. Im not sure why but this design just works for me. But at 16k for the time only and whatever they will charge for the date/gmt models I think is just a little steep. That money is within spitting distance of a Patek Calatrava. I guess I would have to see it in person. But I don’t think that the movement and metals used will really justify the price. And for some reason that doesn’t stop me from wanting it.

  • Doug

    Why is everyone trolling on this watch? Can someone please point me in the direction of a precious metal dress watch with an in-house movement with a similar brand awareness to Rolex that isn’t a stupid price? Omega £8k plus, Grand Seiko £23k plus, Patek £18k plus, Audemars Piguet £12k plus?

    I thought to say Nomos but they’re even more at £10k plus,

    Seriously guys you see Rolex and straight away think its stupid, but look at what is comparable in quality and check out the price, I’d be surprised if anyone could point out a new watch made in 18ct gold with an in house movement for a “reasonable” price.