Rolex’s Cellini collection takes its name from Italian goldsmith and sculptor, Benvenuto Cellini, and was chosen for a family of classic or dress watches designed to demonstrate a jeweler’s art and craftsmanship.
According to a well-placed source, who asked not to be named, this year the Cellini name will be retired; with Rolex’s more artisan watches given a new name: Vienna.
Watches bearing the Cellini name have always felt like a strange fit within Rolex’s portfolio, not least because the brand’s reputation is built and meticulously maintained on its output of indestructible tool watches.
Cellini watches date back to the 1960s, with examples over the decades coming in a dizzying range of styles, but almost always in precious metals, often decorated with diamonds or other gems, and occasionally with complications rarely found on a Rolex dial.
The current Rolex Cellini collection was introduced at Baselworld 2017, when Rolex unveiled the reference 50535 – a 39mm model in Everose pink gold, which features both a pointer date and a moonphase complication. It was the first time a moonphase had been found on a Rolex dial since the 1950s.
This moonphase model is among the few Rolex references that drops in value once it leaves a showroom. A retail price of $27,500 for the rose gold version can be bought on the secondary market today for closer to $20,000.
Very little is known about Rolex’s plans for Vienna watches.
WatchPro’s source merely said it is expected to be a dress watch, possibly a chronograph, made from gold and worn on a strap.
That would make the Vienna a natural replacement for Cellini, although it remains questionable whether Rolex is ever going to make a collection to rival Patek Philippe’s equivalent Calatrava family.
In a year when it is near certain Rolex will concentrate on an anniversary update to its Explorer II, a significant change to its classic watch portfolio will be an interesting sidebar story.