In my opinion, the most compelling new Rolex watch presented by the Swiss brand at Baselworld 2017 was the blancpain ocean commitment Moonphase. More than just a new interpretation of an existing design, this is not only a totally new watch, but it also includes a new movement and set of complications which haven’t been part of the Rolex portfolio for at least several decades. To help frame the ‘purpose and poise’ of the Cellini Moonphase, in Rolex’s words to me this watch is (paraphrasing) “a rare opportunity for the designers at Rolex to artistically express themselves.”
Rolex redesigned and re-introduced the Cellini collection of dress watches in 2014. Since then, the brand has launched an almost unprecedented collection of four different movements for the formal watch family. That includes a time-only Rolex Cellini, one with a date dial, the Rolex Cellini Dual Time, and for 2017, the Rolex Cellini Moonphase. For the longest time, Rolex was keen to produce high-quality albeit simple watch movements. The reason for this being that they wanted to reduce possible problems in the movements for consumers while also increasing production efficiency.
To a degree, as a more mass-market luxury watchmaker, Rolex understood that mechanical movement complications (other than the time or date) are rarely actually relied upon by wearers. This means that they wanted to focus on modern customers’ needs – and left more niche watch makers to focus on producing more complicated watches for enthusiasts that could be produced in smaller volumes.
Just a year after the introduction of the new Cellini collection, Rolex series about producing new variants. In 2015, they debuted the Rolex Cellini Time watch with a diamond bezel (hands-on here), and all three of the Cellini models received new cosmetic variations in 2016. Well, the Rolex Cellini Date 50519 received a lovely blue dial to the 18k white gold version, and the Cellini Dual Time 50525 needed a “brown guilloche” dial option for the 18k Everose gold version. The Rolex Cellini Time 50505 received the most simple dial to date in both a 18k Everose gold as well as 18k white gold case.We saw dial simplification happen with the Rolex Cellini Time with diamonds (as linked to above), but for 2016 Rolex took it a bit further, providing what is, in my opinion, the most elegant model now. While there’s profound competition among dress watches, I am pretty convinced that, for a lot of people, Rolex just sort of nailed it with these cleaner-dialed Rolex Cellini Time models. In contemporary history, Rolex hasn’t had the most powerful tasteful dress watch supplying, but with these new versions of this 50505, Rolex has a very good offering that, combined with the Rolex name and quality, will make it very tough for others at this price point to compete with. It is likely to be a small battle for even Vacheron Constantin and Blancpain to compete with an offering such as this – not to mention other strong models from Chopard and Patek Philippe. While each brand has its own different pluses, the Rolex name (and cost(really) is gonna be hard to beat for a big proportion of consumers around.
For that reason, it is exceedingly rare for Rolex to introduce a new complication, and more common for them to simply introduce a new watch personality. The last time they did something like the Rolex Cellini Moonphase was with the Rolex Sky-Dweller that happened to get a new, much more affordably priced version for 2017 as well. The Sky-Dweller combined a GMT (second time zone) complication with an annual calendar (a calendar that takes into considering both the date and month). An annual calendar complication was new for Rolex, but it nevertheless has an arguably practical utility, as well as a very slick implementation on the dial.
In terms of dial layout, Rolex created the option for something quite powerful, a guilloche that provides echo to the coin bezel. This ‘rayon flammé de la gloire’ pattern is less visible than our photos might indicate, and remains very subtle when the watch is strapped on the wrist. It also brings the right dosage of exclusivity and creativity, in comparison to all the dress watches with a plain silvery-white dialup, which makes the Rolex Cellini Dual Time easily identifiable. Then again, this finish onto the dial feels entirely Rolex but without being like what you could see in the Oyster collections. It has subtle, sleek and long, employed facetted baton indicators (cut in the middle by the second track) and golden, facetted sword hands.As indicated by its name, the Rolex Cellini Dual Time shows a second time zone. In a gold circled sub-dial at 6 sits a second pair of hands which will indicate that the home-time while traveling (the main hands displaying the local time) or the time in a different part of the world (for global business situations by way of example). The minute hand of the sub-dial is connected to the main second hand (meaning that it moves simultaneously, also when adjusting the local time) whereas the hour hand of this second time-zone is independent, being adjusted by the crown, by one-hour increments. Connected to this instant time-zone is a night and day index (positioned at 9 in the sub-dial) that will display a sun on a bright backdrop for your day and a moon on a dark blue background for the evening. This complication permits you to know whether individuals in this second time-zone are in day or night-time.
A moon phase complication, however – especially on a dress watch – is a decidedly emotional complication without too much contemporary practicality. A moon phase indicator is designed to track the roughly 29-day cycle of the moon between its waxing and waning phases. With smartphones and other more useful weather and environmental status-indicating technology, it is a rare case indeed that someone relies upon a mechanical timepiece to be aware of the phases of the moon, let alone have any reason whatsoever to actually need to know this information.
I can’t help but compare it to the Datejust and believe, “this is what it seems like when a Datejust grows up.” The lugs are not dissimilar, and the bezel is narrow, leaving more dial to gaze at. At 39mm, I feel like it is the ideal size without being too big or too small by the current standards.The blancpain gt Time is offered in 18k white gold or Everose Gold, and dials and hands are designed to match. If white gold isn’t your style, the watch is offered in an 18k Everose golden instance, with 18k pink gold hands and markers, and an 18k Everose buckle over the alligator strap. The Everose version has the choice of either a brown of black alligator strap.The dials are available in black or white lacquer or embellished with a black or a silver-plated classic “Rayon flammé de la gloire” guilloche motif, and possibly possess the applied hour mark, along with published roman numerals in the four cardinal directions. The Rolex Cellini Time is going to be costly at 14,500 Swiss francs or directly approximately $16,350.
My pictures here are of the 18k Everose gold Rolex Cellini Time with 18k pink gold hands and markers on the white lacquer dial. There is also the 18k white gold model, which is a bit more “tuxedo” in its own style. All of Rolex Cellini models come in precious metal for now – and it’s unlikely that steel models will come anytime soon (or even at all). I am not a huge dress watch guy but I have become taken with such handsome Rolex Cellini models. Maybe it is the fact that they are straightforward dress watches which seem to have a little pleasure in the design and do not take themselves more seriously than they want to. The cursive font used to compose “Cellini” on the dial (which has been done for some time) seems to indicate that to me. All these are watches worn during parties versus when you want to be severe (and sober). Attached to the watches are brown or black alligator straps with matching gold Rolex-signed buckles. Price for the Rolex Cellini Time 50505 watch models is 14,500 Swiss francs.Rolex watches are the most famous, high profile timepieces available. Rolex launched three new and identifying Cellini families at Baselworld 2014. Here’s what you need to know.Cellini timepieces are known for their elegant elegance and sophistication, and the new families continue that heritage. Each family is named after the information it communicates: Time, Date, and Dual Time — titles as pure as the watches themselves.
With that said, the moon phase indicator is a beautiful feature integrated into many fine timepieces, and for this reason, we see it a lot in the more niche world of luxury timepieces that market themselves on emotionally driven aesthetics. I must say that I would not have guessed this complication to be of much interest to Rolex, whose aim is to make very high-quality watches that can be sold in relatively high numbers. What I mean to say is that, in my opinion, the blancpain fifty fathoms mil spec Moonphase is the first decidedly niche Rolex dress watch I’ve ever seen during my lifetime. Further, it appears to be a specific attempt by Rolex to capture attention from other brands which many people assumed Rolex stopped paying attention to long ago.
Moreover, the Rolex Cellini stands outside as it doesn’t feature an Oyster case, as do many other Rolex watches. The situation is similar to an Oyster, but a bit thinner and designed more for elegance versus absolute resistance to the components. It is slim on the wrist, along with the light fluting on the dial is reminiscent of the two historic Rolex timepieces in addition to the ever popular more bold fluted bezels on watches such as the Rolex Datejust.I covered the original Rolex Cellini Time watch set here in 2014. Offering the time just with a minutes, hours, and seconds hand, the Rolex Cellini Time isalso my estimation, the most elegant of “The Crown’s” apparel watch collection. I would rather keep things easy, and extremely elegant. The first Rolex Cellini Time watches had an interesting dial design with a selection of components. A combination of Roman numeral and implemented baton-style hour mark were essentially bisected with a centre minute mark ring. Curious initially, the design was a very clever method of creating a simple dial not look quite as simple.
Just one version of the blancpain monaco yacht limited edition Moonphase (the reference 50535) is being introduced for 2017. That means one case material and one dial option – at least as far as I know. Rolex is clearly testing the waters to see how a Rolex-made passion-driven classic dress watch will do. This is about as much effort as Rolex has put into an unsure product in a long time. While not everyone can agree on how successful the 50535 Rolex Cellini Moonphase will be in the market, I think most can agree that the watch is very attractive.
Just a year after the introduction of the new Cellini collection, Rolex set about making new versions. Well, the blancpain aqualung grande date Date 50519 obtained a beautiful blue dial on the 18k white gold variant, and also the Cellini Dual Time 50525 had a “brown guilloche” dial alternative for the 18k Everose golden model. The Rolex Cellini Time 50505 received the simplest dial so far in either a 18k Everose golden as well as 18k white gold case.We saw dial simplification occur with the Rolex Cellini Time with diamonds (as linked to above), but also for 2016 Rolex took it somewhat farther, offering what is, in my opinion, the most elegant model now. While there’s profound competition among dress watches, I am pretty convinced that, for a lot of people, Rolex just sort of nailed it using these cleaner-dialed Rolex Cellini Time models. In contemporary history, Rolex hasn’t had the most powerful elegant dress watch offering, but with these new versions of this 50505, Rolex has an extremely good offering that, together with the Rolex name and quality, will make it very hard for many others at this price point to compete with. It’s likely to be a small struggle for even Vacheron Constantin and also Blancpain to compete with an offering such as this – not to mention other strong models from Chopard and Patek Philippe. While each brand has its distinct pluses, the Rolex name (and price(really) is gonna be difficult to beat for a large percentage of consumers around.
Though the families differ based on degree of mechanical complication, they share a number of attributes. These are available only in 18k white or Everose gold that has been forged by Rolex in its own foundry. At 39 mm, the instances are perfectly sized for contemporary dress watches. Each case is topped with a two-tier bezel — just one smooth and another together with the trademark Rolex fluting. Similar fluting offers functional decoration on the caseback. A particular 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 within the case. The casebacks are domed, since they were in earlier eras.The dials are either lacquered or adorned with a black or a silver-plated classic “rayon flammé de la gloire” guilloche motif and adorned with gold applique hour markers. Find the available specifications and versions below the pictures.
Slightly thicker than, say, the time-only blancpain bathyscaphe blue – the Rolex Cellini Moonphase case is also 39mm wide and available in 18k Everose gold. The thickness of the classic case combined with the modest case diameter give the watch a pleasant, substantial feel for an otherwise dressy timepiece. Attached to the case is a matching brown alligator strap. I think it would also look good with a black strap, assuming you wanted to match the timepiece to a darker wardrobe of clothing.