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Rolex Sky-Dweller Setting Instructions

Paul Altieri

As a watch that features two time zones, a date display, and an annual calendar, the Sky-Dweller is one of the most complex timepieces in the modern Rolex catalog. Since the Rolex Sky-Dweller collection is fitted with ‘Saros’ (the name of its annual calendar complication) the watch’s date display automatically adjusts for the different numbers of days in each month and only requires resetting once per year – at the end of February.

Well, here we are; it’s now March 1st: time to reset the annual calendar on your Rolex Sky-Dweller!

Rolex Sky-Dweller

Sky-Dweller Key Features:

Case Size: 42mm

Materials: Yellow Gold, White Gold, Everose Gold, Yellow Rolesor, White Rolesor

Functions: Time w/ Running Seconds, Date Display, Annual Calendar, Second Timezone

Dial: Multiple Options Available

Bezel: Ring Command, 18k Gold, Fluted Style

Crystal: Sapphire (Flat w/ Cyclops Lens)

Movement: Rolex Caliber 9001

Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Feet

Strap/Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet, Leather Strap, Oysterflex Bracelet

Click here for our Ultimate Buying Guide on the Rolex Sky-Dweller.

How to Set Rolex Sky-Dweller White Gold 326989 Roman Dial

Just the Facts

First launched in 2012, the Sky-Dweller is easily the most complex watch in Rolex’s current catalog. Combining a dual timezone display with GMT functionality and an annual calendar complication, the Rolex Sky-Dweller was designed to be the perfect luxury travel watch intended for traveling business executives and the jet-setting crowd.

We have covered the Rolex Sky-Dweller extensively in previous articles, so if you are unfamiliar with the watch, read one of our other posts on it for more information regarding its design, its display layout, and how its fluted, ‘Ring Command’ bezel is not just for decorative purposes, but rather it is linked to the in-house Caliber 9001 movement within and is integral to the functionality of the watch.

Instead of discussing the watch itself, we are going to focus on the innovative Caliber 9001, its annual calendar complication, and what you need to do to get your Rolex Sky-Dweller displaying the correct information for the next twelve months.

Gold Rolex Sky-Dweller Setting Instructions Roman Dial Oyster Bracelet

Annual Calendar vs. Perpetual Calendar

While their names may be similar, an annual calendar complication is not the same thing as a perpetual calendar. Both mechanisms account for the different number of days in the months; however, only a perpetual calendar keeps track of leap years.

In theory, with a perpetual calendar, you will (almost) not need to ever reset the watch as long as it stays running. Now, this is somewhat unrealistic with a mechanical movement, since variations in timekeeping will require adjustments to be made from time to time; and if nothing else, regularly-scheduled maintenance will require the watch to come to a stop at some point or another; however, the concept of full-autonomy is there.

With an annual calendar watch, you will be required to reset it once per year, every year, no matter what. Considering a standard watch with a date requires its calendar to be reset and the end of September, April, June, November, and three times (twice if it is a leap year) at the end of February, the once-per-year schedule of the Sky-Dweller doesn’t seem that bad.

All of that being said, you do not reset the Sky-Dweller’s annual calendar at the beginning of the new year like one would expect; instead, you reset it on March 1st. Considering that an annual calendar keeps track of everything except leap years, this makes perfect sense; however, it is worth mentioning (and remembering) since it is the only day of the year that you will be required to adjust this Rolex watch.

Stainless Steel Rolex Sky-Dweller How to Set 326934 White Rolesor

How To Set Your Rolex Sky-Dweller

So, now that we’ve run through the basics, let’s get on to how to set the Rolex Sky-Dweller.


THE RING COMMAND BEZEL – used to select which function on the watch will be adjusted when the winding crown is rotated. The bezel has a total of 4 positions – 0 through 3, with 0 being all the way to the right, and 3 being when the bezel is turned all the way to the left.

  • POSITION 0 – you cannot change the time, date, month, nor the 24-hour GMT disc.
  • POSITION 1 – used for setting the month and date
  • POSITION 2 – used for setting the local time
  • POSITION 3 – used for setting the reference time

To Set The Month And Date

  1. Unscrew the winding crown and then pull it out to the first notch.
  2. Rotate the bezel to position 1.
  3. Set the month by turning the crown in either direction. Cycle through the dates and months until you reach the current month, which is indicated by a contrasting color in one of the 12 windows located around the circumference of the dial: January at 1 o’clock, February at 2 o’clock, etc. with December at 12 o’clock.
  4. Set the date of the current month by turning the crown in either direction until the correct date is displayed in the window.
  5. Return the bezel to position 0 by turning it clockwise as far as it will go.
  6. Push in and screw down the crown.

To Set The Local Time

  1. Setting the reference time (hour on the 24-hour disc and minutes shown by the center minute hand) also moves the hour hand that displays the local time. For this reason, the reference time must be set before setting the local time.
  2. Unscrew the winding crown and then pull it out to the first notch.
  3. Rotate the bezel to position 2.
  4. Set the local time (displayed by the jumping hour hand) by turning the crown in either direction. The 24-hour disc and the minute hand will not move. Only the hour hand moves in one-hour increments. The date changes when the hour hand passes midnight, only in the clockwise direction.
  5. Return the bezel to position 0 by turning it clockwise as far as it will go.
  6. Push in and screw down the crown.

To Set The Reference Time

  1. Unscrew the winding crown and then pull it out to the first notch.
  2. Rotate the bezel to position 3 by turning it counter-clockwise as far as it will go. The seconds hand will stop, allowing you to set the time to the precise second.
  3. Set the hour on the 24-hour disc and the minutes shown by the center minute hand by turning the crown in either direction.
  4. Return the bezel to position 0 by turning it clockwise as far as it will go.
  5. Push in and screw down the crown.

Lastly, always remember to always screw the winding crown back into the case after any adjustments to prevent water damage to the movement of your Rolex Sky-Dweller!

Rolex Sky-Dweller 326938 18k Yellow Gold

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, this Rolex-exclusive style of bezel is integral to the functionality of the watch. But more on that later.

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.

Rolex Sky-Dweller Setting Instructions 326139 White Gold Leather Strap

Reading the Rolex Sky-Dweller

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!

Rolex Sky-Dweller Setting Instructions 326934 Stainless Steel
Paul Altieri
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