Baselworld 2017: Rolex's Pleasant Surprise

Last year Rolex made a big splash at Baselworld 2016. They did this by introducing a Daytona that most resembled the legendary design of the 60s since the 1960s. And since the Daytona is Rolex's most loved model, the splash was large.

This year, no splash. In fact, most of what was introduced was a disappointment (at least from a purist's point of view): the new Sea Dweller is bigger and thicker and with a cyclops, no thanks!

The new Dayton is now available in a Gold-Rubber combo (wtf?), no thanks!

But the Cellini, which is the usual focus of everyone's ire and annual disappointment was instead a pleasant surprise!

Rolex, for the first time in over 50 years has introduced as part of their Cellini line a moonphase watch!

The Cellini Moonphase displays the lunar cycle on its dial in a very nicely proportioned case that 39mm and made in 18 ct everose gold.

It has a white lacquered dial with a blue enameled disc at 6 o’clock. It shows the full moon and the new moon. It also displays the date around the circumference of the dial using a center hand with a crescent moon at its tip. The moonphase module is astronomically accurate for 122 years.

In other words, it's a serious departure *for Rolex*, and like we've made the case before, this is a direction I applaud. Because it's obvious Rolex is desperate to become a true luxury watch brand like a Patek, or Jaeger, or Vacheron, etc., but trying to do so by making a Gold Submariner is just plain dumb. The only way they can get to that status is by making watches like this new Cellini Moonphase and go from there.

Of course, subjectively speaking, at the mid-$20k price point this watch is set at, you have plenty of options and options that I would say are far superior, but at least the Cellini is now an option and one that should be taken seriously.