Rolex launched the first Cellini self-winding models last year. We test one of them, the Rolex Cellini Time, in this feature, the cover story for our September-October 2015 issue.
Rolex’s Cellini collection of gold dress watches is far less well known than its famed Oyster series. One factor may be that Cellini models have only been available with manual-wind movements. That changed last year, when Rolex launched three Cellini automatics: a time-only model, a date model and a two- time-zone model. (Click here for our full report on the collection from Baselworld 2014.)
We tested the time-only watch, called, simply, the Cellini Time. It’s equipped with Rolex’s in-house Caliber 3132, also used in the Rolex Explorer, and known for being extremely sturdy and accurate. The watch has the appeal of a well-cared-for classic from the 1950s. Although it is not intended to have a vintage look, it incorporates several design elements that echo Rolex’s past, including a curved, polished case with downward sloping lugs, a narrow bezel with fluted ring, a domed and polished caseback and a glossy, varnished strap with narrow, flat- pronged buckle. The dial, too, has a classic mien, with its sword- shaped hands and applied faceted markers. The minutes track and the elongated Roman numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock give it a distinctive look. The watch’s 39-mm diameter is appropriate for today’s tastes.
The hands contrast enough with the dial to make reading the time quick and easy, assuming there is sufficient light, since luminous coating has been omitted in favor of elegant design. The absence of a date display enhances the watch’s look of elegance and makes operation simpler, as does the fluted crown. It is surprising that the crown is of the screw-down type, more likely to be found on a sports watch than on an elegant dress model, but the screw-down feature does provide added protection and water resistance.