Rolex Cellini: The Classic Watch Collection
The Cellini is Rolex's most classic timepiece. Precious materials and guilloché dials underscore the watch's classically elegant character. Top models feature a dual time function or a moon phase display.
Classic Design Meets Modern Technology
Rolex has been crafting traditional dress watches in the Cellini collection since 1961. Details such as Roman numerals, guilloché dials, and tapered lancet hands characterize the look of this series, while precious metals like white or rose gold only add to the sense of luxury. These classic touches set the Cellini apart from sportier Oyster models like the Submariner or Daytona.
The current Cellini collection follows in the footsteps of the rectangular Cellini Prince. Rolex produced this timepiece from 2005 to 2015, and in that time, it enjoyed a fair amount of success. This manual watch's design pays homage to the Rolex Prince from 1928, which also had a rectangular case.
Round Cellini watches with automatic in-house calibers have been available since 2014. This includes models with a dual time function or a moon phase display. The Cellini Time is a particularly tidy watch that forgoes all the bells and whistles and instead simply displays the time using three hands.
The series is named after Italian goldsmith and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571), one of the European Renaissance's most important artists. The French word "renaissance" means "rebirth," a fitting theme for a collection meant to represent a fresh interpretation of traditional watchmaking. These timepieces combine classic elegance with modern technology and are truly state of the art.
5 Reasons to Buy a Rolex Cellini
- Classic dress watch collection, ideal for formal occasions
- Cases in 18-karat white or Everose gold, alligator leather straps
- Diamonds on the dial and bezel of certain models
- In-house caliber with a maximum deviation of 2 seconds per day
- Top models with a second time zone or moon phase display
Prices at a Glance: Rolex Cellini
|Model/Reference number||Price (approx.)||Material/Complication|
|Cellini Moonphase, 50535||24,500 USD||Everose gold, moon phase|
|Cellini Date, ref. 50519||17,000 USD||White gold, pointer date|
|Cellini Dual Time, 50525||17,000 USD||Everose gold, second time zone|
|Cellini Dual Time, 50529||17,000 USD||White gold, second time zone|
|Cellini Date, 50515||15,500 USD||Everose gold, pointer date|
|Cellini Time, 50505||13,500 USD||Everose gold|
|Cellini Time, 50509||13,500 USD||White gold|
How much does a Rolex Cellini cost?
You can buy a simple, never-worn Cellini Time with three hands in Everose gold (ref. 50505) for around 13,500 USD. Pre-owned watches are slightly less expensive at about 10,500 USD. As of 2020, this model has an official list price of 15,200 USD, meaning you can save nearly 2,000 USD by purchasing this timepiece on Chrono24. The Cellini Time is also available in white gold (ref. 50509) and demands similar prices.
For something a bit more luxurious, Rolex previously produced the Cellini with a diamond-studded bezel. The ref. 50705RBR pairs these stunning gems with an 18-karat Everose gold case and demands roughly 18,500 USD new – that's about 5,900 USD less than its initial retail price. Used models cost only marginally less.
Fans of blue dials and white gold should take a closer look at the Cellini Date ref. 50519 with a pointer date. This model changes hands for approximately 17,000 USD in mint condition and 13,000 USD pre-owned. The ref. 50515 in Everose gold is slightly more affordable with prices of between 12,500 and 15,500 USD. Rolex lists the Cellini Date ref. 50515 for 17,900 USD, meaning you can save over 2,000 USD by purchasing this timepiece online.
The Cellini Dual Time is the perfect dress watch for those who like to keep an eye on two time zones at once. It displays the second time zone on a subdial at 6 o'clock. This subdial also has a small window at 9 o'clock that lets you know if it's day or night in the other time zone. The rose gold edition bears the reference number 50525 and demands about 17,000 USD new and 13,500 USD used. You can find the same watch in white gold under the reference number 50529. This version costs roughly 17,000 USD in mint condition, while pre-owned models require an investment of 15,000 USD.
A Highlight Since 2017: The Cellini Moonphase
Introduced in 2017, the Rolex Cellini Moonphase is the Cellini collection's top model. It features a blue enamel moon phase indicator in the form of a disc-shaped display at 6 o'clock. The disc rotates at the same rate as the lunar cycle and displays the current moon phase with the help of an arrow above the subdial's 12 o'clock position. Rolex uses a small, circular piece of meteorite to represent the full moon and a silver-trimmed circle to represent the new moon. This moon phase display will remain accurate for 122 years. What's more, the Cellini Moonphase features a pointer date that indicates the date via a central hand and a scale around the edge of the dial.
These functions make this Rolex the Cellini collection's most complicated timepiece. The watch also bears a strong resemblance to the historic moon phase refs. 6062 and 8171 from the 1950s, which are extremely rare and highly coveted. Plan to spend at least 71,000 USD on a 6062 and 65,000 USD for the 8171. The Cellini Moonphase ref. 50535 is much more budget-friendly, with prices ranging from 22,000 to 25,000 USD. Its official list price sits at 26,750 USD.
Is the Rolex Cellini a good investment?
Most Rolexes make sound investments. Their stainless steel sports models have performed especially well in recent years. However, the gold watches of the Cellini collection tell a different story. While their prices have generally remained stable or even increased by several hundred dollars over the last few years, the performance of Cellini dress watches pales in comparison to that of their sporty stainless steel cousins. Furthermore, their market value is often well below their official list prices. As a result, the Cellini is best worn instead of leaving it in a safe in hopes it will appreciate. However, there's no telling what the future holds, and it's possible that the Cellini will evolve into a coveted collector's item one day.
Prices for Vintage Watches
The Cellini collection is also a treasure trove for fans of vintage watches. With decades of history to look back on, the selection of pre-owned watches is vast and offers something for every taste. Take the Rolex King Midas ref. 9630, for example. Named after the Greek mythological figure whose touch turned everything into gold, this wristwatch is available in solid white or yellow gold. The elegant timepiece's most notable feature is its flat, polygonal case with a crown on the left-hand side. Rolex outfitted the King Midas with the caliber 650 from Rayville Blancpain.
The King Midas' design allegedly comes from the pen of none other than famed watch designer Gérald Genta. Genta is perhaps best known for his work on several industry icons, including the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. The Rolex's unique aesthetic found a fan in Elvis Presley, who could frequently be spotted wearing this model. If you'd like to join the club of King Midas owners and enjoy the look of the ref. 9630 in particular, you should be prepared to spend about 10,500 USD.
The Rolex Cellini Danaos also takes its name from a mythical Greek king – known in English as Danaus – but is much newer than the King Midas. Danaos watches fall under the "neo-vintage" umbrella, which refers to timepieces from the early 2000s. Their flat cushion-shaped cases call to mind vintage Rolexes with bubble back cases from the 1930s. You can purchase a Rolex Cellini Danaos ref. 4243 in rose or white gold for about 6,100 USD. These watches measure 38 mm across, making them a fantastic option for men and women alike. The 33-mm ref. 4233 is better suited to smaller wrists and costs roughly 4,500 USD. The Cellini Danaos Lady ref. 6229 is even more delicate at 24.5 mm. Its price sits around 3,200 USD.
About the Cellini's Design
The current Cellini collection distinguishes itself from other Rolex lines with its streamlined, delicate look. The case is 39 mm in diameter, a size suitable for almost every wrist, and it is available in either 18-karat white or Everose gold. Rolex produces Everose gold, the company's proprietary rose gold alloy, in their foundry alongside other gold alloys. Thanks to downward sloping lugs and bent spring bars, there is only a small space between the case and strap. Cellini watches come on a black or brown stitched, remborded alligator leather strap with an 18-karat gold pin buckle.
The unusual bezel construction uses two individual rings, one domed and the other delicately fluted. The silver, brown, blue, rose gold, or black dials are either varnished or engraved with a guilloché pattern. Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal protects the display from the elements. Along with applied indices and lancet hands, the watch features elongated Roman numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock and "Cellini" written in cursive script above the 6 o'clock position. You'll also find index-only models without numerals. Neither the indices nor the hands feature any luminous material. Thanks to the screw-down crown and case back, the watch is water-resistant to 50 m (5 bar, 164 ft). Most dress watches can only withstand pressures of 3 bar (30 m, 98 ft), meaning they are only protected against splashes of water.
From Simple to Complicated: Time, Date, Dual Time, and Moonphase
In the standard version of the Cellini Time, Rolex keeps it simple. The streamlined, three-hand watch rejects any additional functions so that you can focus on the time. If you'd prefer to have a date display, the Cellini Date is the right watch for you. This version shows the date on a subdial at 3 o'clock.
The Cellini Dual Time is ideal for frequent travelers. It has a subdial at 6 o'clock with two hands that display the time in a second time zone. A day/night display sits within the subdial at 9 o'clock. When the sun is shining, it shows a sun; at night, a moon. Rolex offers an alternative timepiece with GMT-function in form of the GMT-Master II, which belongs to the Oyster collection. Finally, fans of astronomy should enjoy the Cellini Moonphase.
Which calibers power the Rolex Cellini?
The same in-house movement that powers the Explorer and Oyster Perpetual models ticks away inside the Cellini Time. The automatic Rolex caliber 3132 without a date display has a power reserve of 48 hours and winds the hairspring bidirectionally. Its balance wheel oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. Thanks to its stop-seconds mechanism, you can set the time to the exact second.
The balance wheel's blue hairspring is made of a niobium-zirconium alloy and, therefore, is unaffected by magnetic fields. Furthermore, it's more resistant to shocks than regular hairsprings. Rolex named this innovative component "Parachrom Bleu." The oscillator can "breathe" more freely thanks to the special hairspring, whose outermost coil is raised and bent in towards the center (Breguet overcoil). This construction neutralizes the effects of gravity and results in higher accuracy. The position of the balance wheel, kept stable and precise thanks to the traversing balance bridge, also increases the movement's accuracy. This differs from conventional movements, which have a so-called balance cock that stores the oscillation system and is considered less stable.
Rolex has the accuracy of all its in-house calibers certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). The 3132 is regulated via Rolex's Microstella system with Microstella nuts located on the balance wheel. Standard movements are usually regulated via a regulator, which lengthens or shortens the hairspring. Paraflex shock protection, another Rolex innovation, protects the movement against shocks and extreme conditions. The caliber has a diameter of 28.5 mm and is 5.37 mm thick.
Calibers 3165, 3180, and 3195
The Cellini with a pointer date utilizes the modified caliber 3165. Then there's the Cellini Dual Time, which gets its power from the in-house movement 3180 with a dual time zone function. The year 2017 saw the release of the caliber 3195, which ticks away inside the Cellini Moonphase. This movement features a pointer date in addition to its moon phase indicator. In terms of power reserve and accuracy, these three movements are all comparable to the caliber 3132 found in the Cellini Time.
Similar to Rolex's sports watches, each Cellini features a solid metal case back polished to a nice sheen. Even though you can't see them, Rolex decorates many of their movement components. For example, the winding rotor has a sunburst pattern, the screw heads are all polished, and the bridges are beaded. Automatic Rolex movements are some of the best movements on the market today.