Earth’s closest astrological neighbour was formed some 4.5 billion years ago by the kind of celestial collision that’d tempt the most stubborn of Luddites to purchase a high-definition TV. Humans have only mythologised the Moon and obsessively measured the phases of its waxing and waning for about the last 20–30,000 years.
So the half a century-plus wait for Rolex’s first moonphase complication, which came to an end at Basel earlier this year, was but a fraction of a millimetre on the great skirting board of time: and it was well, well worth such a pifflingly short wait. The 39 mm Cellini Moonphase’s case is in 18 carat Everose gold - Rolex’s patented, fade-resistant rose gold alloy. Its white lacquer dial has a blue enamelled disc at 6 o’clock, with a slightly pockmarked full moon depicted by a “meteorite” applique and a new moon taking the form of a silver ring.
As with the much lauded 6062 and 8171 ‘Padellone’ references of yore, the new iteration has the date indicated by a fourth hand with a crescent moon shape that cups the relevant number on the outer circumference of the dial – a gorgeous touch - while the applied gold hour markers and concentric tracks on the edge of the dial are also fetching in the extreme.
A brown alligator leather strap completes the aesthetics, and if the exterior is dazzling, consider what lies within: the Cellini Moonphase’s self-winding mechanical movement, entirely manufactured in-house and concealed beneath a slightly domed screw-down back, has a 48-hour power reserve and features a moonphase module that is so astronomically accurate, your descendants should only need to nudge the recessed button in the case at eight o’clock once every 122 years or so.
In many ways, owning a moonphase complication panders to a collector’s romantic whimsy – most of us have windows in our dwellings, and are welcome to look up at the night sky any time. As Bob Dylan once sang, “You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.” But romantic whimsy, for us at Rake Towers, gets a bad press, and should be indulged at every turn. Hence, this wristwatch - the moonphase version of a Rolex range that pays homage to the Florentine goldsmith, sculptor, and writer Benvenuto Cellini - is an investment in the most fulfilling, quixotic sense of that multi-faceted word.
And, take our word for it, the blessed forbears who – once in a blue moon – get to nudge the moonphase using that small, flush pusher located at the 8 o'clock position won’t be disagreeing with that.
For more information, visit Rolex.com.