Rolex Cellini: Unloved Yet Great

The Rolex Cellini received much less attention and sales than its steel-sports counterparts within the stalwart Rolex lineup. Despite the Cellini being a fantastic and interesting timepiece both inside and out, it does not fly off the shelves like the Rolex Pepsi-bezel GMT, for example.

Many watch enthusiasts and industry experts subscribe to the notion that the watch does not sell because it is a dress watch. However, this short and flippant response does not tell the complete story, and does not care to explain Rolex’s corporate grand strategy.

Jose Manuel [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Jose Manuel [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Rolex is part of the Hans-Willsdorf Foundation which operates as a charitable non-profit organization. Rolex is not facing the quarterly growth expectations, and does not need to take potentially transformative risk.

Brands like F.P. Journe have found resounding success through dress watches via calculated risk. Rolex is not willing to take the risk to design a watch that is unique. Therefore, it cannot compete with competitors in a segment of the watch industry that has many discerning enthusiast as opposed to simply affluent clients. For the risk taking, Rolex leaves that to Tudor instead.


Colin Carpenter