Style / World of Watches (WOW)

Watch this Moon: Rolex Cellini Moonphase 2017

Rolex stole the show from its own Sea-Dweller with the Cellini Moonphase, a reference that might be making waves for years to come

Aug 22, 2017 | By Staff Writer


Despite the literally thousands of new watches on show at BaselWorld, only some are truly newsworthy. These are the pieces that you will see online first because they objectively deserve attention. While we think all the watches in our brief report this year are indeed newsworthy, not all are created equal. Take this watch, the Rolex Cellini Moonphase, which on the face of it seems to be merely beautifully proportioned but actually represents a milestone for the brand. Of course, anytime Rolex hawks a new complication is an occasion to pay attention; the last time Rolex did this was the Sky-Dweller in 2012.

Watch this Moon: Rolex Cellini Moonphase 2017

Believe it or not, the last time Rolex had a moon phase watch was more than 70 years ago. The brand-that-wears-the-crown hasn’t waited this long just because it needed to make the best and most reliable moon phase indicator in the world. A proper explanation will have to await more space than this report allows. The simple answer to why the moon phase indicator appears in a Cellini rather than any of the Oyster Perpetuals is that Rolex means for the Cellini to be a dress watch with moon phase rather than a tool watch.

Cellini Moonphase

Accurate to day in 122 years, the moon phase complication here is no slouch; to be clear, that means that after 122 years, it will only be a day off. This is in fact the standard to which any respectable moon phase complication is held. Adjusting the moon phase indicator is via a recessed pusher at 8 o’clock. The indication itself sits at 6 o’clock, providing a counterbalance to the brand name and logo, where the dual time indicator resides in the Cellini Dual Time models. Unusually, the display uses an arrow at the top of the subdial to indicate the phases of the moon; the disc of the subdial turns, the indicator doesn’t move. This configuration makes it a little less intuitive to read as to the untrained eye it always looks like it is both the full moon and the new moon at the same time. How one feels about this is entirely subjective of course because here one is arguably looking at a more accurate representation of the moon’s circuit around the earth.

Cellini Moonphase


On the more romantic side though, the subdial itself is a thing of beauty, not only in its proportions but in Rolex’s decision to render the full moon via a meteorite applique while showing the new moon as a silver outline, both rendered on a turning blue enamel disc. The date display here adds to the romance; a blued central hand with a crescent moon at its tip points out the date on a chapter ring on the outermost edge of the dial. Seldom has a crescent moon shown quite so much cheek in a wristwatch.

Ticking away behind the solid caseback is the automatic calibre 3195, an in-house calibre with a similarly Rolex-developed moon phase module. A possibly significant detail with this model is that Rolex has dropped the word Cellini from the dial, a first for the collection.

Rolex Cellini Moonphase 2017 Price and Specs

Movement Self-winding calibre 3195 with date, moon phase module; 48-hour power reserve
Case 39mm in Everose gold; water-resistant to 50m
Strap Leather
Price S$35,980

Back to top