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ROLEX BLOG

How to Use The Rolex Sky-Dweller

May 4, 2018

BY Paul Altieri

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Launched just six years ago, the Sky-Dweller is, in fact, Rolex’s newest model. Furthermore, as a watch that includes two time zones and an annual calendar, it’s also one of Rolex’s most complex modern timepieces. If you’ve ever wondered how the watch actually works, read on for our handy guide on how to use the Sky-Dweller.

The Rolex Sky-Dweller is one of the crown jewels of an already impressive catalogue of timepieces

The Rolex Sky-Dweller is one of the crown jewels of an already impressive catalogue of timepieces

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The Design of the Rolex Sky-Dweller

Before we examine how to use the Rolex Sky-Dweller, let’s quickly run through the design. The Sky-Dweller sports a generous 42mm Oyster case, which is actually quite large for a Rolex watch. On that 42mm case sits the ubiquitous Rolex fluted bezel. However, on this particular model, the bezel is not just for decorative purposes but rather, it is integral to the functionality of the watch. But more on that later.

The Design of the Sky-Dweller is some of Rolexes best work.

The Design of the Sky-Dweller is some of Rolexes best work.

Initially, the Sky-Dweller was only available in three shades of gold, making it one of the most expensive Rolex watches to own. However, in 2017, Rolex unveiled more accessible models in two-tone steel and yellow gold, in addition to steel and white gold.

Reading the Rolex Sky-Dweller

Learnign how to use the Sky-Dweller can be tricky if you don't know what to look for

Learnign how to use the Sky-Dweller can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for

The dial of the Sky-Dweller features plenty of information arranged in a way that is vastly different to other Rolex watches. First, there are the center hour, minute, and seconds hands to indicate the local time. Then, there’s the off-centered 24-hour disc that indicates the second time zone. Then, there’s the date window at 3 o’clock. And finally, there’s also a month indicator displayed via apertures adjacent to the 12 hour markers. For instance, if it’s October, the box next to the 10 o’clock index will show a different color—often red—than the other boxes.

It’s important to note that the Sky-Dweller is an annual calendar. As a result, as long as the Sky-Dweller keeps running, the watch will continue to automatically keep the correct time, month, and date, without the need for manual adjusting except for once a year on March 1st. The fact that a mechanical watch can differentiate between 30 or 31 days in a month is a technical achievement that shouldn’t be taken for granted!

How to use the Sky-Dweller

So, now that we’ve run through the basics, let’s get to how to use the Sky-Dweller. The Rolex Sky-Dweller runs on the in-house Rolex Cal. 9001—an automatic movement that is highly complex yet user-friendly

The Ring Command Bezel

Revisiting the fluted bezel, on the Sky-Dweller it’s actually named the Ring Command Bezel since it is used to select which function to set. When the bezel is turned all the way to the right, it is in Position 0. One click to the left is Position 1. Another click to the left is Position 2. And a last click to the left is Position 3.

In Position 0

In this position, you cannot change the time, day, date, nor the 24-hour GMT.

In Position 1

One you rotate the bezel one position to the left from Position 0, you will be able to change the date.

To set the time, first unscrew the winding crown and pull it out to the first notch. Turn the bezel all the way counterclockwise to Bezel Position 3. Turn the winding crown in either direction and you’ll see the center hands and 24-hour disc move in unison. Let’s say your home time zone is Pacific Time and it’s currently 6 pm. Turn the crown until the center hands show 6 o’clock and the inverted triangle above the disc points to 18.

In Position 2

To set the date and month, turn the bezel to Bezel Position 2. Turn the winding crown in either direction and the date in the 3 o’clock window will change accordingly. Also note that if the date goes past either 30 or 31, the color of the month window will also change. Keep turning to reach the appropriate date and month.

Now let’s say you hop on a plane and travel to Eastern Time. Turn the bezel to Bezel Position 1. Turn the winding crown in either direction and you’ll see that the center hour hand jumps from hour to hour, independently from any other function. Since Eastern Time is three hours ahead of Pacific Time, set the hour three hours ahead. Turn the bezel back to Bezel Position 0 and screw the winding crown back into the case. Now the center hands should show 9 o’clock for local time (ET) and the 24-hour disc should point to 18 to indicate that it’s 6 pm back home.

Remember to always screw the winding crown back into the case after any adjustments to prevent water damage to the movement.

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