The Rolex Cellini
The most Oyster-like of the Cellinis.
Rolex Cellini: Rolex is not just about the Oyster models.
When it comes to Rolex, imagination runs wild towards the various Oyster models; the Deepsea 126660, the Sea-Dweller 126600 and this year the GMT Master II “Pepsi” 126710 BLRO too. There are also the stainless steel Daytona and the gold Daytona, or even the stainless steel Sky-Dweller. Very few people seem to be familiar instead with the Cellini collection, the real embodiment of the term “understatement” according to Rolex.
The same way it happens in the music world, where classic style is constantly evolving into a specialized market for a selected audience, even in the world of watch-making, the formal and balanced rules of classicism are slowly and steadily attracting a clientele who expects nothing else than perfection. This is the exact concept that Rolex, with their new Cellini collection, have perfectly understood and interpreted.
A tribute to Italy and Benvenuto Cellini
The entire know how that the manufacturer has acquired in over 100 years of history is elegantly summarized in this new collection and is taken to places that are usually not that apt for an Yacht-Master 40mm or a Yacht-Master II, like a gala evening or the opening night at La Scala in Milan. The three versions of the Rolex Cellini (Rolex Cellini Time, Rolex Cellini Date and Rolex Cellini Dual Time) exceptionally mirror the manufacturer’s spirit that is made of a balanced design, details and exclusivity.
The collection’s name is a tribute to an Italian artist, Benvenuto Cellini, who was born in Florence in 1500 during the so-called Mannerism, when artistic style went hand in hand with the dream of exploring new horizons without losing sight of the perfect harmony of things.
Three in-house calibers that power a time only version and two complicated timepieces: a Pointer Date and a GMT
Precious materials like 18-carat-Everose gold (a Rolex patented alloy) and 18-carat-white gold host Rolex’s automatic in-house built calibers that guarantee up to 48 hours of power-reserve and a blue paramagnetic Parachrom balance spring. The Rolex Cellini Time is equipped with the 3132 caliber, the brand opted for the 3165 caliber for their Rolex Cellini Date watch with date and for the 3180 caliber for their Rolex Cellini Dual Time with GMT function.
All of the above-mentioned movements boast a precision rate that equals +/- 2 seconds per day that is also guaranteed by the certification for Superlative Chronometers (on the entire timepiece), a concept that was re-defined by Rolex in 2015. The watches are guaranteed up to 5 years and, thanks to the winding crown and the screwed case back, all timepieces are water proof up to 50 metres.
The dial of these Rolex Cellini watches measures 39mm, it is perfectly symmetric except on the Rolex Cellini Date – a typical touch of Mannerism – where, artistically speaking, the "Pointer Date" shifts part of its weight to the right sector of the timepiece.
The double convex and fluted bezel perfectly matches the winding crown and the sunray-pattern that stems out of the centre of the dial and fills its entire surface (the technical name of this motif is “Rayon flammé de la gloire” and is not present on the Rolex Cellini Time).
Its style ideally resembles the design of a Datejust 41's fluted bezel. The straight lugs sustain the alligator skin strap with a pin buckle, with Rolex logo, that is made of the same material as the case.
With their new Cellini collection, Rolex reiterates their concept of classic timepiece that is based on balance and harmony by adding some new characteristics that have made the Oyster collection recognizable and that make the Cellini series better identifiable among the many classic three-counters and “slightly” complicated watches that exist in the market.
The Rolex Cellini is among the least sought-after Rolex watches, yet it proved Rolex was a trend-setter in the seventies.
If you talk to most Rolex collectors and early adopters alike, you'll find out that a Rolex Cellini barely fills their wishlist. It doesn't give justice to a collection that placed Rolex among the luxury watch trend-setters, from a technical and stylistic point of view, in the past. From a design perspective, the Rolex Cellini's history was subject to never-ending changes over the course of the years: today Rolex produces watches that exclusively feature a round case, yet the Rolex Cellini reveals Rolex was a trend-setting brand.
We can't forget the unmistakable Rolex Cellini King Midas (photo credit: Bob's Watches), designed by Gérald Genta, it seems, or the Rolex Cellini Prince, a tribute to the art-deco Rolex watches from the early 1930s. The first one showcased an asymmetrical-shaped case paired to different bracelet options, including an integrated bracelet or an alligator strap or a Cellini marked symmetrical one: they were both equipped with the ultra-flat Rolex 650 mechanical movement. More recently instead, before the Rolex Cellini eventually turned to be a cushion-shaped and a round shaped watch then, Rolex introduced the Rolex Cellini Prince, whose splendid hand-wound Rolex caliber 7040 is fully visible through the case-back.
Rolex Cellini Pricing and options.
There is a touch of originality that is typical of Mannerism; the non-centered date located at 3 o’clock on the Rolex Cellini Date. Rolex, with this new collection, want to make everybody aware of their presence in a territory that is usually Jaeger-LeCoultre’s and Vacheron Constantin’s dominion, by using the best strategy that entails retailing their timepieces at a starting price of 14,150 euro.
In 1928, the Rolex Cellini Prince – the first Rolex Cellini – was equipped with a see-through back case (like the recent 5441/1), something that sounds and looks like a taboo for the current Rolex watches but that we would like to see again. Considering the fact that Rolex’s calibers are all in-house built and that this one of the most appreciated characteristics when it comes to this particular type of watch, maybe this particular feature could be coupled with a folding clasp that would make this timepiece even more in fashion and versatile.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Matteo Bulla @Horbiter®