It wasn’t the most complicated, nor was it the most gem-studded. But the new Rolex Cellini Moonphase was surely the most unexpected release from Baselworld 2017. The moon phase complication had been AWOL from the dials of Rolex timepieces for decades but makes its triumphant return this year in a brand new Cellini model. Here we delve into the nitty-gritty details of the Cellini Moonphase and share our thoughts on this most interesting release from Rolex.
The case, dial, hands
The Rolex Cellini Moonphase comes in a case that measures a diplomatic 39 mm in diameter, that is to say that it is not oversized but should still fit a larger wrist. The case, which is entirely polished, is crafted from Rolex’s proprietary 18-carat Everose gold, an alloy cast in the manufacturer’s own foundry. The watch has an elaborate double bezel – one domed and the second finely fluted – that is distinctive of Cellini timepieces. While the Cellini hasn’t got the depth rating of its sportier cousins in the Oyster Perpetual line, it still is water resistant up to 50 m thanks in part to its screw-down winding crown.
The real beauty of the Cellini Moonphase lies in its dial, which is unique in the modern Rolex collection. The white lacquered dial appears absolutely pristine and serves as a backdrop that heightens the visual impact of the other elements on the dial. One such element is the charming moonphase display. Housed within an aperture at 6 o’clock, the blue enamelled (yes, enamel) moonphase disc becomes the centre of attention on the dial. Instead of a moonphase disc set within a bosom-shaped frame (the most common style of moonphase display), the Rolex simply uses an unframed disc with an indicator at the top of the aperture. The moonphase is read via the indicator as the full moon, depicted by a meteorite applique, and new moon, depicted by a silver ring, rotate through the cycle. The Rolex novelty also displays the date around the circumference of the dial while the railroad-style minute scale cuts through the faceted hour indices. To distinguish between the time-telling and date functions on the dial, the crescent-tipped radial date hand is blued to contrast the gold hour, minute and second hands.
The Rolex Cellini Moonphase is powered by the in-house Calibre 3195 that is equipped with the manufacture’s paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring. The self-winding, mechanical movement has a power reserve of 48 hours while operating at a modern 4 Hz beat rate. The Calibre 3195 is not only Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC)-certified but also meets in-house Rolex standards (post-casing). It should therefore be no surprise that the movement is precise to within -2/+2 sec/day, earning the Cellini “Superlative Chronometer” certification. As with the other Cellini references, the movement is hidden behind a solid, screw-down case back.
A maverick Rolex
While the Cellini Moonphase may be the most unconventional Rolex to be unveiled in recent times, it will, most likely, still not be able to match the brand’s sports models in terms of popularity. However, with this release, Rolex may just have done enough to pull a different set of clientele to its boutique doors. A clientele that isn’t just after a Daytona with a new bezel, or the status that comes with owning a Rolex, but one that is increasingly curious of Rolex’s dabbling in and execution of the traditional dress watch. The price for the new Rolex Cellini Moonphase in 18k Everose gold is $26,750.
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