Bezel & Barrel REVIEWS, NEWS, AND INFO FOR WATCH ENTHUSIASTS

The Rolex That's Not Exactly a Rolex

You guessed Tudor, right? Well, technically, you’re right, but try again. We were talking about the Rolex-signed Cellini line. Rest assured, the Day-Date and Datejust are great luxury watches, and helped define the genre. But if the Day-Date is what the CEO is wearing in the boardroom during the day, the Cellini is what he reaches for as he’s dressing for the opera that evening.

The pieces carrying the Cellini name are a little more refined. There’s more curvature and refinement to the lugs. The case is a little thinner. The whole works slips beneath a bespoke shirt cuff a little more easily.

So where did this lesser-known, less talked about Rolex come from?

Two places, really. In 1928, Rolex debuted the Prince, a tank-shaped watch with two dials – one for hours and minutes. The other, a large sub-dial for running seconds. Because of this large seconds sub-dial, the watch quickly became known as “the doctor’s watch” (doctors, it seems, needed to know the exact passage of short bursts of time for reading the pulse rate of a patient).

In 1975, Rolex created an entire line of watches to honor and commemorate Italian Renaissance sculptor and goldsmith, Benvenuto Cellini. With names like the Danaos and the Cestello, the Cellini line differed considerably from Rolex’s main lines of Submariners, Daytonas, Presidents, and Datejusts. And unlike Rolex’s main lines, models have come and gone.

And, just to tie those two origin stories together, the Rolex Prince was brought into the Cellini lineup as the Cellini Rolex Prince. Besides the Prince, current models include the Cellini Time, the Cellini Date, and the Cellini Dual Time which features a second time indication in a 12 hour sub-dial, complete with day night indication, at six o’clock.

Rolex uses tried and true technology from their standard lines in the Cellini watches, including chronometer certified movements and water resistance elements (screw down crown and case back).

And of course, you’re not going to find a stainless steel case in the lot. They’re all gold – white, yellow, or Everose, depending on the model. And another interesting note – the Prince now features a display case back, the only one of its kind in the entire Rolex lineup.

So if you’re a Rolex fan, but you feel you need to up your elegance game beyond the mainstream Rolex fare, consider the Cellini.

 

-Ed Estlow

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