One of the most complicated watches ever to appear in their catalog, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is also the brand’s newest model. As a result of its relatively short history, many aren’t as familiar with the Sky-Dweller as other Rolex classics like the Submariner, Daytona, or Datejust. If you’ve ever wondered what is the Rolex Sky-Dweller, then read on to find out.
Rolex Sky-Dweller History & Design
It is not often that Rolex introduces entirely new models; most of the company’s catalog is comprised of watches that have been around since the mid-20th Century. However in 2012, Rolex unveiled a completely new watch model in the form of the Sky-Dweller.
The Sky-Dweller sports a 42mm Oyster case (water-resistant to 100 meters) topped with a fluted bezel and sapphire crystal. The earliest iterations of the Rolex Sky-Dweller were exclusively offered in solid 18k gold – yellow, white, or Everose gold. In 2017, Rolex added a two-tone stainless steel and yellow gold (Yellow Rolesor) Sky-Dweller and a stainless steel with white gold fluted bezel (White Rolesor) model into the mix. Every Sky-Dweller version is available with an Oyster bracelet and the three gold editions can also be found with the option of a black or brown alligator leather strap.
At first glance, the Rolex Sky-Dweller looks somewhat like a variation of the Datejust or Day-Date, but in a larger format. However, upon closer inspection of the dial, we quickly see that this Rolex dress watch is far more complicated.
The Sky-Dweller dial includes dual time displays, a date window, and a month indicator. The center hands of the Rolex Sky-Dweller indicate local time while the 24-hour off-center disc serves to display a secondary time zone via the red arrow. Adjacent to the 12-hour markers are 12 small rectangular windows, which turn into another color depending on the current month (1 o’clock = January, 2 o’clock + February, 3 o’clock = March, etc). At 3 o’clock is the familiar Rolex date window, complete with the customary Cyclops magnification lens affixed to the exterior of the sapphire crystal.
In addition to all the complications, the Sky-Dweller is also an annual calendar watch – the first of its kind from Rolex. As a result, the Rolex Sky-Dweller, if kept wound, will keep track of two time zones, the date, and the month accurately and without adjustment for an entire year. As its name implies, an annual calendar watch only needs adjusting once a year, on March 1st. For information on how to adjust this highly-advanced Rolex watch, check out our Rolex Sky-Dweller setting instructions page.
Rolex Sky-Dweller Caliber 9001
To create the Sky-Dweller, Rolex developed the entirely new Caliber 9001. Like all modern Rolex movements, Caliber 9001 is an automatic COSC-certified movement, designed and built entirely in-house. Operating at 28,800 beats per hour, Caliber 9001 supplies the Rolex Sky-Dweller with a 72-hour power reserve.
An intriguing aspect of the Rolex Sky-Dweller and Caliber 9001 movement is how the rotating fluted bezel comes into play. Rather than being just a decorative element, the Sky-Dweller’s bezel (dubbed Ring Command) is how the wearer selects which function to set. Depending on the position of the bezel, the wearer can set the month and date, reference time, and local time – all by just rotating the winding crown.
Combining classic good looks and practical functionality, the aptly named Rolex Sky-Dweller is the ultimate luxury watch for global travelers. For more information on the most complicated watch in the Rolex catalog, watch our YouTube video on the history of the Rolex Sky-Dweller right here.