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I finally saw & wore the new Rolex Prince...

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  • I finally saw & wore the new Rolex Prince...

    I finally had occasion to visit the Rolex AD in my town to bestow holiday greeting upon a chap I know who seels watches there. He could only spare a few minutes before a scheduled appointment, but he graciously brought forth the shop's only Cellini Prince (after nearly two years of waiting, they've procured but one) and allowed me to examine it. There are four models of the Prince line and two are in white metal. The one I was able to behold today is the 2nd type shown below in these borrowed photos:

    It is a bold and heavy watch. There are a few things I really liked, a few I did not like, but mainly, I'd have to say I'm impressed.

    The things I like are the fine execution of the case and dial and movement, especially the guilloché. It all looks very well done and up to the quality standards of Rolex and other makers of fine precious metal watches. In fact, the only things I disapprove of are design choices...the quality is certainly top-notch. The movement winds as smoothly as any I've ever wound, and it started right up after only a few turns of the crown. The case was very nicely constructed and polished and no flaws were visible. It feels hefty and solid. You get a lot of watch for your $14,400 MSRP, IMO.

    Elements I didn't like include:
    • Bracelet-clasp-like closure for the leather straps. It's a precision butterfly type of clasp, but too bulky and not elegant (or inconspicuous) enough for me. See photo below.
    • Thinnish, ordinary-looking black croc straps. With such a massive gold watch, I would have expected shinier and somewhat padded straps. Were I to acquire one of these watches, the first thing I'd do is replace the straps. I had no issue with their construction or quality--they just didn't seem well matched to the piece.
    • Too small a window for the fine, finely decorated movement. I'm a movement aficionado and find it disconcerting to only see 60-80% of this new wonder from Rolex. Perhaps in their first foray into display backs Rolex wanted to do something out of the ordinary. But they did that with the movement & dial...they should stick to a 100% disclosure rear window. I feel like something is being hidden from me intentionally, and I don't like it.
    • Black lacquered hands lack je ne sais quoi. The hands on the example I viewed (different from those pictured in the first photo) are bold and black and painted/lacquered but have no bevels or presence. They are as black holes of anti-style in the presence of such a lavishly decorated dial.
    I'd love to have the time to examine and compare 3 or 4 of these models, but that's not likely to happen. This particular shop does a fair Rolex business and it's taken so long to get one, I doubt they'll ever have all four for more than a day. I'll have to ask my friend there to alert me if a pair or more arrive at one time.

    My feelings about this watch are that it's long overdue for Rolex to combine fine horology (albeit time-only) with their illustrious past and a sense of style. I expect that in years to come these first Prince models will become very desirable among collectors. It does not seem that Rolex is making many of them, and the first examples of such a departure from the norm will likely become collectors' items. But is it a $14,000+ watch? I cannot say. I recommend anyone who is curious to check one out in the metal/flesh. It's an impressive line and with so many versions available, one of them is likely to suit most watch aficionados.

    I hope you've enjoyed this mini-review. I'll try to take some photos the next time I have the opportunity to handle a Cellini Prince.

    Last edited by Watch Carefully; 12-23-2006, 04:14 PM. Reason: added photos
    Time is Money, except on Dark Side of the Moon

  • #2
    thanks for posting your impressions. I hate to admit it, but I like the new Prince line. I also hate to admit that I like this new Breitling even more....
    "most things are NOS for a reason"


    • #3
      Yes.. the Breitling..

      does more for me than the rollie, allot more