Until now, if you were looking for a dress watch manufactured by Rolex, you had two options: the Day-Date, that however sits in the Oyster collection (thus more a casual than a proper dress watch) or the Cellini Prince, a square-shaped timepiece that never had a huge success (although we love it). This was true until 2014, when the “Crown” introduced their own vision of a round, classical dress watch, the new Cellini collection. And this time, it seems that Rolex has everything right: nice design, elegant feeling, complicated (but not too complicated) movements, superb execution and justified price… It’s time for us to have a closer look at the dress watch from Rolex, in its most complicated edition, the Rolex Cellini Dual Time, Everose Gold Ref. 50525.
In the conservative world of dress watches, it seems that originality is scarce. An issue that you’ve probably already spotted yourself: most dress watches are all very similar in their design and display. Whatever the brand, most have this “Calatrava” style, meaning round cases, polished, with a chamfered bezel and straight lugs and usually a bright dial with 2 or 3 hands and baton applied indexes. Sounds familiar, right? The strength of the 2014 Rolex Cellini collection is that it is 100% Rolex however with the extra elegance required by this type of watches – that some call dress watches or Tuxedo watches – and without being too Rolex, meaning it is not another Oyster watch. The Rolex Cellini is all about details, whether they refer to the DNA of Rolex or whether they add a ‘dressy’ look.
The main aspects that change it all, are the bezel and the overall shape of the case. The Rolex Cellini Dual Time ref. 50525 features a case made of 18k Everose gold (Rolex own pink gold, a specific alloy that keeps its pink color longer than ‘normal’ pink gold). It also exists in 18 white gold. The overall shape of the case is quite Rolex, however with certain details that make it rather different – and of course, more elegant. It’s like changing just one ingredient in a recipe. Same with the Rolex Cellini Dual Time ref. 50525. The main recipe of a Rolex is here but an ingredient (called classical elegance) has been added.
The central part of the case is faithful to Rolex traditions, with straight casebands and integrated lugs. However, lugs are here rather short, slimmer and more curved, making the case of the Rolex Cellini Dual Time ref. 50525 less bulky, softer, smoother. The second detail that reminds of Rolex without immediately catching the attention, is the bezel. The new Rolex Cellini features a double-stepped bezel with a coin profile and a bombé shape on the top. Thus it reminds for instance the bezel of a DateJust or a Day-Date (with their fluted profile) but with something more restrained, more discreet and classier.
The Rolex Cellini Dual Time, design-wise, feels like being a Rolex with something superior in terms of class. The same feeling appears once on the wrist. Neither the Cellini is an extra-slim or super small watch but it wears superbly. The 39mm is right in the middle between too small dress watches and large sports timepieces and the 10mm / 11mm profile makes it a watch with the right presence on the wrist. Due to a domed caseback (that is notched and screwed, like on other Rolex watch), the Cellini feels very smooth on the wrist (the domed caseback somehow reminds of antique bubble-back watches by Rolex).
In terms of dial design, Rolex made the choice for something quite strong, a guilloche that gives echo to the coin bezel. This ‘rayon flammé de la gloire’ pattern is less visible than our photos might suggest, and remains very subtle once the watch is strapped on the wrist. It also brings the right dosage of exclusivity and originality, compared to all the dress watches with a plain silvery-white dial, making the Rolex Cellini Dual Time easily recognizable. Then again, this finish on the dial feels totally Rolex but without being similar to what you can find in the Oyster collections. It features subtle, sleek and long, applied facetted baton indexes (cut in the middle by the minute track) and gold, facetted sword hands.
As indicated by its name, the Rolex Cellini Dual Time displays a second time zone. In a gold circled sub-dial at 6 sits a second pair of hands that will indicate the home-time while traveling (the main hands displaying the local time) or the time in another part of the world (for international business situations for example). The minute hand of this sub-dial is linked to the main minute hand (meaning that it rotates simultaneously, also when adjusting the local time) while the hour hand of this second time-zone is independent, being adjusted by the crown, by one-hour increments. Linked to this second time-zone is a day and night indicator (positioned at 9 in the sub-dial) that will display a sun on a bright background for the day and a moon on a dark blue background for the night. This complication allows you to know whether people in this second time-zone are in day or night-time.
Inside the Rolex Cellini Dual Time, Everose Gold Ref. 50525 ticks a pure Rolex engine, based on the famous Calibre 3132 (that is also featured in the Explorer 1 or the new Oyster Perpetual 39mm Ref. 114300). What does it means? Simply that you’ll enjoy one of the most reliable and precise movements of the industry, a movement that will last for decades and that will be efficient in every situation. This entirely in-house self-winding engine is of course COSC certified (Rolex even announces -2/+2 sec/day), ticks at 28,800 vph and features the proprietary blue Parachrom hairspring, with antimagnetic properties. The power reserve is 48 hours.
Of course, don’t expect some Haute-Horlogerie details here. This is clearly not the point of Rolex, that is known for its strong focus on daily usability, reliability, durability and precision (and the movement isn’t visible anyway). The movement of the Rolex Cellini Dual Time Ref. 50525 is like the rest of this watch: sharp, extremely well executed and feeling super-qualitative when worn.
The new Rolex Cellini is a success for a simple reason: it’s the vision of a dress watch by Rolex that collectors were expecting. It has the DNA of the brand but executed with more subtlety, more discretion and a more luxurious feel. The link with the rest of the collection can’t be denied and the Rolex DNA is clearly recognizable. However, it also has some interesting details that makes this watch a changer: a slim fluted bezel, a domed caseback, a slimmer case and this superb pattern on the dial. Overall, we could even find a bit of vintage feel here (something that is not usual for Rolex).
In terms of price-positioning, Rolex also strikes hard, with a retail price of 16,950 Euros for this Rolex Cellini Dual Time Ref. 50525. Don’t forget that it’s a solid gold watch, with a quite complicated and well finished dial and with a movement that displays more that just the time – competition in the high-end dress watch category usually starts around 20,000 Euros, a Day-Date 36mm in Everose gold on leather is priced at 20,500 Euros, while the Cellini Time (the simple 3-hand edition) is priced at 13,250 Euros. It seems that Rolex found the magical formula with this new Cellini collection.