Out of the three new for 2014 blancpain mens watches dress watches, an argument can be made that the Rolex Cellini Date models are perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing. Sure, the Rolex Cellini Time (which only indicates the time) is clean and simple making for an easy pick, and the Cellini Dual Time offers a great travel watch for those who like to pack a tuxedo in their luggage, but the Cellini Date mixes the beautiful aesthetic of Rolex’s new guilloche machine engraved dial with the practicality of a date indicator.
I can’t recall the last time Rolex displayed the date via a dial versus a disc in a window. In fact, Rolex invented the concept of the date calendar window watch with the original Datejust. If you prefer something a bit more sophisticated for formal attire and knowing the date is still useful to you, then the blancpain chronograph Date is a very attractive offering. The date dial further helps add character to what would otherwise be just a three-hand face. The extra bit of information takes this dial into a deeper “horological zone” making it fitting for those who wish to acquire the Rolex Cellini Date not as their sole timepiece, but as an addition to a diverse collection of quality watches.
Although the families differ based on degree of mechanical complication, they share a number of characteristics. These are available only in 18k white or Everose gold that’s been cast by Rolex in its own foundry. In 39 mm, the cases are perfectly sized for contemporary dress watches. Each case is topped by a two-tier bezel — just one smooth and the other together with the signature Rolex fluting. Similar fluting provides functional decoration on the caseback. A special tool grips the fluting to gain access to the self-winding, COSC-certified, Rolex Manufacture mechanical movements inside.The flared crowns twist down to maintain a pristine surroundings inside the case. Each Cellini is fastened to the wrist with a glistening brown or black alligator leather strap, stitched, remborded, and with an 18k gold buckle.The Cellini Time models represent the ideal expression of classic watchmaking with stylized, elongated Roman numerals and stretched applique hour markers separated by means of a minute track that has been transferred toward the center of the dial, nearer to the hints of the hands.The faceted, sword-shaped palms, count off the hours, minutes and seconds with the precision of this self-winding chronometer movement.Each version is priced at $15,200. Find the available specifications and versions under the pictures.
Rolex’s new 39mm wide Cellini case combines elements of its more classic watch collection with the universally popular Oyster case. At 50 meters water resistant the Cellini isn’t an Oyster, but then again it is thinner in size. It does however bear a very slim version of the Oyster’s fluted bezel which adds an additional sense of Rolex DNA to the collection.
At 39mm wide, I feel that the Cellini case combines grace and modern proportions in a satisfying way that feels neither too large or too small. Unlike the wider lugs on most Oyster Professional watches such as the Submariner, the lugs on the Cellini case taper more allowing for a more diminutive fit on the wrist. It feels like just a few years ago virtually all Rolex watches came exclusively on a metal bracelet. Now, with pieces like the blancpain jour nuit watch we are becoming aware of a greater focus on adding straps to Rolex wearing experience.
Having said that, I cannot help but wonder what a bracelet might look like designed for the new Cellini collection. The straps are however quite nice, being stamped with Rolex signatures (and the crown), being made of Alligator in either black or brown.
What does a Rolex dress watch need to do? I asked myself this question while wondering about the target market for the updated Cellini collection during Baselworld 2014 when we received the ability to check out the models hands-on with Rolex. While the Datejust and Day/Date models aren’t strictly speaking dress watches, they have become de facto dress watches over the last few decades. With several collections of watches that people like to wear with suits and formal attire, what is the role of the Cellini?
Like the Day/Date (and unlike the Datejust) the blancpain leman aqualung grande date collection will be exclusively available in precious metal. These aren’t watches that right now contain precious stones, and they have one of the thinnest profiles available in a Rolex watch. Nevertheless, they still contain in-house made Rolex automatic mechanical movement.
Like the also new blancpain womens watches Dual Time watch, the Rolex Cellini Date has a lovely guilloche engraved dial that is available in either silver or black. The base Cellini Time watch has a more simple lacquered dial. Each of the dial colors is available with either the 18k white or Everose gold (a special 18k rose gold alloy that Rolex makes) case, which adds a welcome variety and level of consumer choice. In fact, with three distinct Rolex Cellini models, each coming in different case materials and dial colors, Rolex has released a total of 12 new Cellini models for 2014. That is actually quite a bit when you consider how slowly Rolex typically releases new models and adds variations to existing collections.
Our sentiments about the size of the hands on the Rolex Cellini models remain as the double row of hour markers makes the hands feel a bit too short. Nevertheless, the dials are attractive and mix a level of simple sophistication with mature class and style. The off-center date dial offers a new look for the brand, and adds a new way to tell the date even if it isn’t strictly speaking as convenient as a digital date window.
Going back to my original question of who this watch is aimed at satisfying, I believe I have some suggestions. As we stated when we originally introduced the Rolex Cellini Time model, Rolex is intent on offering a tuxedo-style formal watch in a space they have previously not had a lot to offer. Rolex is taking on some of the competition available from brands at groups like Swatch or Richemont who more or less have dominated when it comes to formal watch attire until now. Rolex’s sheer market power and availability will make the Cellini model a strong competitor for those looking to own a very “classic” wrist watch. We will see how Rolex continues to develop in this area in the years to come. Price for the Rolex Cellini Date reference 50515 in 18k Everose gold and the Cellini Date reference 50519 in 18k white gold is 17,000 Swiss Francs. rolex.com