When the Rolex Cellini replica watches range was relaunched by Rolex in 2014, the General Manager of Rolex Australia, Patrick Boutellier, chose a line of poetry to announce the news: “The sleeping Prince has been awoken,” he said, or words to that effect, as Felix and I pored over the new range, not quite sure what to think.
We were certainly intrigued by these classic, luxurious faces amongst other more colourful offerings, such as the white gold ‘Pepsi’ GMT-Master II and the new Milgauss. The light embroidery of poetry and classicism in Patrick’s description somehow attached itself to the watch in that moment, and the more I’ve learned about it, the more this type of fairytale mystery fits. But how would it wear? What would I wear it with? What else would I learn about this seemingly simple design on the wrist? I found out by wearing it for a week.
My first impression was… Rolex’s mots classic fake watches, tuned to utter perfection. The Cellini represents a design from another time, and as we mentioned in the first video review of the Cellini Date, is often pitched against the three-handed heavyweights, being the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony and the Patek Philippe Calatrava. It deserves to be mentioned in this company, and this model is, for me, the pick of the wider Cellini range. Some of the font elements of the previous model didn’t age too well. Those stretched Roman numerals for example. This iteration gets absolutely everything right, especially the new cleaner, even more classic dial.
Once I put it on, it felt… like no other Rolex I’ve worn, thanks in large part to its extremely slim case profile. It’s among the slimmest in the catalogue, and thanks to those tapered lugs it sits very close to the wrist. The polished ‘bubble back’ caseback gives it a more cushiony wrist-feel to my GMT-Master II, which is a watch I wear most days. It’s extremely comfortable.
Looks-wise… it really surprised me. The Cellini name in the Rolex alligator leather strap fake watches for men catalogue until 2014 has been synonymous with the Cellini Prince, which is a rectangular model, reprised most recently in 2015, that forgoes practically all of the Rolex details – fluted bezels and casebacks, crowns, recognisable bracelets and the like – and even added some details, in the form of a clear caseback.
But where the Cellini Prince was not afraid to eschew its family traits, or go rogue every now and again (a clear caseback, on a Rolex, as well as a hand-wound movement?), this Cellini, which actually is not a Prince by name technically speaking, is basically that handsome guy out of Shrek. Clearly cut from the family cloth, and almost annoyingly perfect to look at.