The Rolex Cellini collection may not have the same prominence as Rolex Oyster watches, yet it has been an integral part of Rolex’s history since the late 1920s. A counterpart to the brand’s famous tough waterproof stainless steel sports watches such as the Submariner, Daytona, and GMT-Master, the Rolex Cellini is one that is proudly none of those things. Rather, it is a collection of Rolex dress watches that adheres to the aesthetic codes of classical watchmaking — a tribute to tradition named after the Renaissance man Benvenuto Cellini.
Presented by Rolex in 1928, the Cellini Prince marked the first time that a wristwatch manufactured in significant quantities was given the chronometer certification, thus its could be considered the great-grandfather of all future Superlative Chronometer Official Certified Rolex watches. The distinguishing characteristics of the Cellini Prince were its Art Deco rectangular case and oversized seconds-counter subsidiary dial. The oversized seconds subdial prompted the Cellini Prince’s nickname, the “Doctor’s Watch” since the larger size made it easier for doctors to measure elapse times such as pulse rates. The Rolex Cellini Prince was eventually discontinued in the 1940s and revived again in 2005 with five brand new models. The Cellini Prince timepieces retained the iconic 45mm x 29mm rectangular case, as well as the seconds subdial, and is powered by the COSC certified manual-wound Rolex Caliber 7040 offering wearers a power-reserve of 72 hours.
In 2014, Rolex launched three new Cellini collections: Cellini Time, Cellini Date, and Cellini Dual Time. The trio of Rolex Cellini watches feature a 39mm round case exclusively crafted in 18k white, yellow, or Everose pink gold and are presented on leather straps. Some models within the Cellini collection also have the classic guilloche motif dial — a hallmark of traditional watchmaking. The Cellini Time is powered by the Rolex Caliber 3132 while the Cellini Date with its subsidiary dial indicating the date runs on the Rolex Caliber 3165. The Cellini Dual Time with two time zones and a moon day/night indication for the second time zone is equipped with the Rolex Caliber 3180. All three calibers are COSC certified automatic mechanical movements. Bearing all the telltale signs of classical luxury watchmaking, the Cellini is the gentleman’s ideal dress watch.
As they aren’t as famous as Rolex Oyster collections, pre-owned Rolex Cellini watches — from used Cellini Prince timepieces to secondhand Cellini Dual Time — can be found in the secondary market at great prices.