The Rolex Cellini Prince, A Closer Look

When people think about very early Rolex models, the Bubbleback and Oysterdate first come to mind. The timeless Oyster case has been a ubiquitous and iconic feature of Rolex watches, and remains so until today.

However, here’s something that not many people know: the first watch that put the Swiss brand on the map, some 90 years ago, was a rectangular dress watch. The Prince established Rolex as a maker of accurate timepieces.

Perhaps the most distinct of all Rolex watches, it made a comeback in 2005 and was discontinued in 2015, but you can still own one today. It could just be the most beloved dress piece in your watch box. Here’s a closer look at the Rolex Cellini Prince:

 

Cellini Prince Black Dial 18K White Gold 5443

 

The Doctor’s Watch

The Prince holds an important place in Rolex’s history. Launched in 1928, it embraces the spirit of the Art Deco movement with its clean lines and unique rectangular case.

Although it was created in the same decade that Rolex perfected the water-resistant Oyster case, the Rolex Prince was not meant for situations that needed robustness; instead, it was meant to accompany a gentleman and to finish off an exquisite formal ensemble.

 

The original Rolex Prince

 

It did, however, gain a solid fan base among a very select group due to its practicality. The Prince soon became recognized as ‘The Doctor’s Watch’ as its seconds sub-dial was a great tool in helping physicians time a patient’s pulse beats. Crafted exclusively in gold with a high-grade rectangular movement under its hood, it commanded a hefty price tag that only a select few could afford.

 

The original Rolex Prince’s chronometer grade shaped movement by Aegler

 

Aside from being one of the brand’s signature novelties, the Prince allowed Rolex to be recognized as an aspirational watchmaker – their watches were what people bought when they had finally ‘made it’. Even Al Capone reportedly wore one. The Prince’s run ended in 1940, along with the florid styling of the Art Deco era.

 


 

A New Prince for a New Age

In 2005, Rolex brought back the Prince, this time under the Cellini line – the brand’s dedicated collection of dress timepieces. An almost identical throwback to its 1920s kin, it became a rare and unorthodox beauty among a sea of tough Rolex sports watches.

 

Cellini Prince 18K Rose Gold Black Dial 5442

 

The unique rectangular case returned to the center stage, as well as the two-dial layout. The only apparent change is the increased case size of 47 x 28mm. Available in four configurations, two in white gold, and one each in yellow and Everose, the Rolex Cellini Prince has a modern construction fused with an Art Deco style.

 


 

Dial

On the dials, you will see a variety of intricate details that draw the eye. The yellow gold edition features printed markers, raised hands, and a Clous de Paris hobnail design that is often seen in Patek Philippe’s Calatrava; while one of the white gold examples comes with either concentric Godron Circulaire patterns or pave diamonds outside the figure-eight dial.

 

Cellini Prince Yellow Gold Champagne Dial 5440

 

The other two models in Everose and white gold boast a radiating sunlight motif widely known as Rayon Flammé de la Gloire – a type of guilloche pattern often used in the Cellini series. The former offers a high-contrast look while the latter sports red and white accents that add character to the otherwise monochromatic offering.

 


 

Case and Movement

Aside from watch faces, the cases also got a revamp by having elegant decorations. The yellow gold model has sunrise patterns carved into the sides of the arching case, while one of the white gold editions features smooth curves, sharp angles, and parallel grooves at the upper and bottom sides.

For the Everose version, the classic fluted bezel is recreated within the case, while the other white gold piece has a plain bezel and beefy lugs that make it a simple and staid choice.

 

Cellini Prince 18k White Gold Silver Dial 5441

 

Inside, the watch runs on the manual-wind Caliber 7040 – the only Rolex movement that is visible to wearers. Equipped with a COSC certification and a 70-hour power reserve, this shaped mechanism is fitted with pioneering innovations such as a Breguet overcoil, Microstella nuts in gold, and Paraflex shock absorbers. These features make the Caliber 7040 amagnetic and both shock and temperature resistant.

 

Caliber 7040

 


 

The Rolex Cellini Prince has ceased production since 2015. Due to their limited production runs, the four models are hard to come by, but you can make them yours today at SwissWatchExpo.com.

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