01.02.2017 - Rolex

An In-Depth Look At The Rolex Sky-Dweller: A Combination Of Beauty And Mastery

The Rolex Sky-Dweller has quickly become a favourite among collectors, enthusiasts and followers, but considering the short history of this watch, is this down to sheer looks or something more? We examine the rise of the Sky-Dweller and some interesting information about this iconic watch.

Released at Baselworld 2012, Rolex had undoubtedly caused a media and internet frenzy by confirming they were releasing a new sports watch and had registered the name ‘Sky-Dweller’ weeks before unveiling. The watch had a brand new design, based on a combination of the Day-Date and Datejust with the fluted bezel, meaning that fans were witnessing Rolex creating history and investing in the future.

Many consider the Rolex Sky-Dweller to be the ultimate travel watch, and not the sports watch Rolex had promised. Instead, the Sky-Dweller is the perfect piece for any globetrotter, with the watch equipped with a second time zone via the inner rotating disc and the very first Rolex annual calendar. The annual calendar display the month with a colour coordinated aperture above the associated hour (12 hours – 12 months), and the date is displayed at the 3 o’clock position under the trademark Rolex Cyclops window.

Rolex Sky-Dweller Chocolate Dial (2)

One feature that has drawn many comparisons to the Rolex Yacht-Master II, is the off-centered rotating disc allowing to read a second time zone. The red arrow below the 12 o’clock position indicated the hour of the set time zone in 24-hour scale. It is said the best way to utilize the second time zone is to set it to the home time. Then when you travel you can set the main time differently whilst always being able to tell the time where home is. As far as two-timezone watches go, this is one of the easiest to read, and to a certain extent that was the point of the Sky-Dweller.

The Sky-Dweller is the very first annual calendar from Rolex and is based on a mechanism called SAROS. The mechanism, named after the Greek term for the 18 year cycle between the sun, earth and moon, is designed around a fixed planetary gear wheel at the center of the movement, a satellite wheel engaging the planetary gear and another satellite wheel engaging the main satellite wheel. In essence, the mechanism is a micro replica of the rotation of the earth and moon around the sun in order to get an accurate reading for the exact date.

The bezel is also completely fascinating and entirely new from Rolex. The bezel is called a Ring Command bezel and it allows the wearer to set the local time, date and reference time, by turning the bezel to certain position and manually winding the crown. This patented ring control bezel consists of 60 individual components, the heart of which is a double cam and levels that engage the various gear trains inside the movement. With the look of the fluted bezel, few would have any idea the true power of the Ring Command bezel, and this arguably sums up the Sky-Dweller so well – understatedly ingenious.

Rolex Sky-Dweller Chocolate Dial (3)

With a brand new series comes a brand new Rolex movement, and Rolex certainly didn’t fall short here. The Caliber 9001 movement is said to be one of the most complex Rolex caliber movements to date and includes seven patents on the movement alone. The movement is COSC certified and has a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour, a Parachrom hairspring, Paraflex shock absorbers, and large variable inertia balance wheel. On top of the incredible SAROS annual calendar system and Ring Command system, the movement holds a power reserve of 72 hours and is said to be amongst the most robust movement in the industry.

Rolex Sky-Dweller Chocolate Dial (4)

The Sky-Dweller is undoubtedly a beautiful watch, and with several different case, dial and strap variations, it really is a case of beauty is in the eye of the beholder. All variations are sized at 42mm and complete with a screw-down caseback, a 100m water resistant Oyster case and scratch resistant crystal with Cyclops date glass. The Sky-Dweller model is available in Rolex’s 18CT Everose Gold, 18CT White Gold & 18CT Yellow Gold with a full gold or leather bracelet combination. The dials combinations vary on the case material, but include the favourites; Chocolate dial, Sundust dial, Champagne dial, Ivory dial and a Black dial.

As you can imagine prices vary dependent on the case material and the bracelet material, but the full 18CT Everose and Chocolate dial watch is retailed at £35,850, and the full 18CT White Gold & 18CT Yellow Gold Sky-Dwellers priced at £35,850 and £33,950 respectively. This is the price you pay for just a little bit of ingenuity and history on your wrist.