Officially released back in 2012, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is considered to be the ‘baby’ of the Rolex collection and an immediate favourite with collectors and enthusiasts alike. The combination of incredible sporty aesthetics along with new movement and functionality, make this a watch that is so different from the other Rolex models. The model was released at Baselworld, and undoubted caused much hype surrounding Rolex. The Swiss watch manufacture described the watch as the ‘ultimate luxury sports watch’, and although this is true in some sense, I believe the manufacture would be right in calling it the ‘ultimate luxury travel watch’. The watch was originally only available in either yellow gold, white gold and rose gold, however Rolex introduced the new bi-metal (a combination of steel and gold) models at this years Baselworld – much to the surprise of many people.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller is the perfect companion for those times where you are constantly travelling – featuring a second timezone display via the inner ring of the dial. The watch also features an ingenious annual calendar display around the outer edge of the dial. The annual calendar is displayed through a series of apertures above each designated number (12 hours – 12 months), and date is displayed at the conventional 3 o’clock position under the trademark Rolex cyclops.
The second timezone feature has drawn many comparisons to that of the Rolex Yacht-Master II chronograph function. The red arrow below the 12 o’clock position indicates the hour of the set time zone in 24-hour scale. According to Rolex, the best way to utilise the second timezone is to manually set the timezone to the home time. That way, when you are travelling abroad, you can set the main time display differently and always easily tell the time where home is. One of the major advantages of this second timezone display is the legibility and easy use of the function, something that was intended by Rolex.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller is the very first annual calendar from Rolex, and stems from a mechanism designed by Rolex called SAROS. The mechanism, named after the Greek term for the 18-month cycle of 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 wheel and another smaller satellite wheel engaging the larger satellite wheel. In essence, the movement is a micro accurate replica of the rotation of the earth and moon around the sun and used to give an accurate reading for the exact date. The SAROS mechanism employed by Rolex is yet another example of the sheer mechanical excellence that ensure Rolex is the top of the watch industry.
As a new model, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is fitted with a new mechanical movement powering several new and traditional functions. The Rolex calibre 9001 is a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex, and is said to be the most complex calibre movement developed by Rolex. The movement alone includes seven patents. The movement is in charge of powering the incredible SAROS mechanism, as well as a date display, annual calendar, second timezone and conventional hours, minutes and seconds. The movement holds a power reserve of 72 hours and is said to be the most robust movement in the industry.
For all those that don’t know the Sky-Dweller, the bezel is also very interesting and an entirely new mechanism designed and produced by Rolex. The bezel here is named the Ring Command bezel and is an easy mechanism used to change the local time, second timezone and date, just by turning the bezel 45 degrees either side of manual and then winding the crown. The patented Ring Command bezel includes 60 individual components, all of which come seamlessly together to create a method to change the time and date easily. With the look of the fluted bezel – taken inspiration from the Rolex Day-Date & Datejust – you would not believe such a mechanism existed. In the end, the mechanism epitomises Rolex as a brand – understated, ingenious and innovative.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller is available in all golds and a combination of steel and gold, along with a number of dial variations, to give a lot of choice for customers and collectors. In this review, I have the full Everose gold example with the Chocolate dial, and I have to say that this certainly has to be up there with one of my favourite watches. The watch is elegant in it’s own right, whilst also being very quietly bold. All Rolex Sky-Dweller models measure in at 42mm in diameter and complete with the monobloc middle case, with a screw-down caseback and winding crown. The watch is waterproof to 100m and also features the scratch proof sapphire crystal with Cyclops date glass and the incredibly comfortable Everose gold Oyster bracelet with folding Oysterclasp.
In every sense, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is an incredible watch. However, instead of relying on the beautiful looks of the watch, which is undeniable, the sheer innovation and mastery employed in developing the movement with its’ many functions is quite remarkable. Something which really does stand out is the SAROS mechanism, which through a series of cogs and wheels, is an accurate replica of the earth and moon orbiting the sun. The new Ring Command bezel is also a fantastic new feature allowing the wearer to easily set the time, second timezone and date all in the flick of the wrist. A truly special watch that is amongst the best in the industry.