Rolex Cellini King Midas 3580

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Like the mythical King Midas, everything Gerald Genta touched turned to gold. Years prior to designing the Royal Oak and Nautilus, Genta came up with this aptly-named stunner for Rolex.In the 1960s, Rolex charged the young Gerald Genta to design a gold watch fit for kings. Taking inspiration from Athens’ Parthenon temple, Genta crafted an asymmetrical pentagon shaped case with a minimalist integrated bracelet. The King Midas name, referring to the mythological Greek king whose mere touch would turn objects into gold, was quite fitting: at the time of its release, the King Midas was the heaviest gold watch on the market and the most expensive watch in the Rolex line-up, costing nearly twice as much as a solid gold Day-Date!The unconventional design of the King Midas was a harbinger of Gerald Genta’s habit of taking design cues from objects and incorporating them into new watches. Indeed, when the watch is tilted on its side, with the crown facing up, the triangular tip resembles the roof of a Greek temple, while the grooves in the bracelet represent the columns.The King Midas was released in the late 1960s as a limited edition of around 800 watches, with the unique number of each watch engraved on the back. In the early 1970s, two subsequent limited runs of the King Midas were released as part of Rolex’ dressy Cellini line (ref. 3580 and 4315, respectively). Interestingly, the latter runs continued the numbering of the first series watches from the 1960s.This ref. 3580 dates back to 1972 and carries the unique case number 881. The watch is executed in a 27 mm wide 18k yellow-gold case with an 18k yellow-gold integrated bracelet and an uncommon double deployant clasp with the Rolex coronets attached to either side of the clasp. The asymmetrical case is unique in the Rolex lineup as the sawtooth winding crown for the manual movement is situated on the left-hand side instead of the traditional placement on the right. This is another nod to Greek mythology, as everything King Midas touched with his left hand turned to gold. Moreover, the words “King” and “Midas” are engraved in the side of the case on the left and right of the crown.The champagne dial is clutter free and features a simple applied logo and Rolex signature at the 12 o’clock position and the “Cellini” signature at the 6 o’clock position. The minimalist look of the dial is complemented by simple 18k yellow-gold hands.Usually, the reference number and serial number for Rolex watches are stamped between the lugs at the 12 and 6-hour position, respectively. The integrated bracelet on the 3580 makes this impossible, hence the numbers are lightly engraved on the bottom of the first link of the bracelet. You should know that two digits of the 7-digit serial number (the third and sixth digits) are a little difficult to read due to the shallow engraving.The ref. 3580 represents a historically important Rolex due to its limited production run and its connection to the legendary Gerald Genta. However, it’s still pretty affordable, which is crazy considering the astronomical retail price back in the day!

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