First introduced in 2012, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is the ultimate luxury watch for global travelers, and currently holds the title of being the most complicated Rolex watch currently available. While the GMT-Master collection was Rolex's original dual-time wristwatch developed specifically for pilots and airline crews, the Rolex Sky-Dweller reinterprets this highly useful feature set and adds an annual calendar complication that automatically adjusts for months with different numbers of days, and only requires adjustment once per year.
While many of Rolex's other highly functional watch models are purpose-built sports watches, the Rolex Sky-Dweller offers much of the same general aesthetic that has defined Rolex's classic watches for nearly a century.
The new Rolex Sky-Dweller models are not entirely new watches, but rather new additions to the existing line in either 18k yellow or Everose gold that feature the brand's exclusive Oysterflex bracelet. Over the years, all of the Sky-Dweller models with leather straps have been discontinued. However, the new models with Oysterflex bracelets seem to be the replacements for the leather strap models.
While Rolex offers the Sky-Dweller in both Yellow Rolesor and White Rolesor finishes, the Oysterflex models are exclusively offered in either solid 18k yellow or Everose gold. This is consistent with the rest of the various models fitted with Oysterflex bracelets, as this high-tech rubber strap is exclusively fitted to solid gold Rolex models. The new 2020 Rolex Sky-Dweller watches on Oysterflex bracelets are produced under the following references, and both are crafted from solid 18k gold.
The Sky-Dweller is one of Rolex’s more expensive collections, and as these new Oysterflex models are crafted from solid 18k gold, they are among the more expensive offerings in Rolex's catalog. The Oysterflex bracelet is an extremely desirable option within Rolex’s lineup, and many collectors speculate that these new Oysterflex Sky Dweller models will be the most coveted references in the collection due to their new sporty appearance. Like all Rolex watches, these Sky-Dweller models will likely retain their value quite well; however, some collectors are even predicting that second-hand prices may end up even exceeding brand-new retail prices once these models start reaching the secondary market.
Given that the Rolex Sky-Dweller was only released in 2012, the collection does not have nearly the same extensive history as many of Rolex's other watch collections that have been around for more than half a century. However, despite its relatively short history, the Rolex Sky-Dweller has quickly become one of Rolex's hottest models, and some models even sell for more than their original retail prices on the secondary market.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller first made an appearance at Baselworld 2012. It had been a while since a new model had been revealed by the brand. As always, the company remained silent on the topic until the silk curtain was lifted. Once revealed, the watch surprised many with its intricate design and highly technical offerings. Appearing visually similar to the Day Date, this model offered something special; an annual calendar and dual time telling capabilities.
Although its overall appearance may be somewhat similar to the classic design of Rolex’s other watch collections, the mechanism inside the Oyster case of the SkyDweller is a technological masterpiece that allows it to offer unparalleled functionality while retaining all the same sophistication of Rolex's more traditional and less complicated watches.
Originally the Rolex Sky-Dweller was only offered in solid gold, which put it outside the price range for many collectors. Five years after the release of the very first Sky-Dweller, Rolex added Rolesor models to the collection in 2017. Alongside a two-tone stainless steel and yellow gold model, Rolex also introduced a White Rolesor model crafted entirely from stainless steel and fitted with a white gold bezel. While the popularity of the Rolex Sky-Dweller was somewhat slow to start, the addition of two-tone and steel models to the collection significantly expanded its appeal and the collection is now one of Rolex's most famous, with certain models trading hands above their original retail prices on the secondary market.
Current 2023 retail prices for Rolex Sky-Dweller watches start at $15,650 for the stainless steel and white gold model and increases from there depending on the use of precious metals and the style of bracelet.
disc. = discontinued
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Due to the range of materials that are used for Sky-Dweller watches, prices can range dramatically, depending on the precious metals featured in their construction. All Sky-Dweller models - even the discontinued ones - are relatively modern timepieces and are powered by the same movement, regardless of the style of their dials, the metals used in their construction, or the type or strap/bracelet fitted to them.
Additionally, due to the widespread desirability and relatively small number of White Rolesor stainless steel Rolex Sky-Dweller watches currently in circulation, prices on the secondary market have increased above retail, with pre-owned examples selling for more than even the two-tone models. Furthermore, while the White Rolesor Rolex Sky-Dweller is offered with three different dial colors, the blue version sells for significantly more than both the white and black dial variants on the secondary market. Other than the color of the dial, all White Rolesor Sky-Dweller watches are virtually identical, emphasizing the importance of dials in terms of determining Rolex prices, even among contemporary watches.
The Rolex-Sky-Dweller features a 42mm Oyster case, fitted with a sapphire crystal and a screw-down crown and caseback. Like most other Rolex watch models, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is waterproof up to 100 meters, despite not being a watch specifically designed for use underwater. This ample water resistance ensures that it will be able to survive whatever moisture you might encounter on a daily basis. While it may look like some of the other Rolex watch models, the Sky-Dweller features a highly complex, state-of-the-art movement that features both a dual time zone display and an annual calendar complication.
Displaying the date and month, plus two time zones simultaneously has the potential to create a rather cluttered visual presentation; however, the Rolex Sky-Dweller does an excellent job of maintaining an elegant and highly legible display. Local time is indicated by the traditional hours, minutes, and central seconds hands, while reference time appears as a 24-hour display on an off center rotating disc.
The date of the month is displayed by a numerical value in Rolex's usual location at 3 o'clock, while the month itself is indicated by 12 windows around the perimeter of the dial (corresponding with the 12 months of the year), with different colored rectangle appearing inside the window of the current given month.
Although the Rolex Sky-Dweller was originally only released in solid gold (all three colors), the collection has expanded to include both stainless steel and Rolesor (two-tone stainless steel and gold) models. Technically speaking, the stainless steel Rolex Sky-Dweller is actually a White Rolesor model, since its fluted Ring Command bezel is crafted from 18k white gold rather than stainless steel like the rest of the watch and bracelet. Additionally, while most Rolex Sky-Dweller watches are fitted with metal Oyster bracelets with latching folding clasps, there are certain solid gold Sky-Dweller models that can be found with black or brown alligator leather straps.
Despite having a relatively short history, the Rolex Sky-Dweller has been produced with a variety of different dials. Standard Sky-Dweller dial colors include black, white, blue, and champagne (gold); however other dial colors such as chocolate brown, silver, ivory, dark rhodium, and sundust have also made appearances on the Rolex Sky-Dweller, particularly on models crafted from Everose gold.
Additionally, certain dial colors are only available on certain Sky-Dweller models. The blue face only appears on the stainless steel Sky-Dweller, while chocolate brown dials are exclusively found on Everose pink gold models. Furthermore, while Rolex Sky-Dweller dials have been manufactured with Roman numerals, Arabic numerals, and classic stick-indexes for their hour markers, the brand has yet to release any iced out Sky-Dweller watches with diamond dials.
To control the various time and date components of the watch, this watch fashioned a unique bezel. While it may look like a traditional Rolex fluted bezel, the bezel on the Sky-Dweller is actually one of of Rolex’s Ring Command bezels. Like other fluted Rolex bezels, the bezel on the Sky-Dweller is constructed from 18k gold (yellow, white, or Everose); however it also has an important function to the operation of the watch. Rather than being strictly decorative like other fluted bezels, the rotatable fluted Ring Command bezel on the Rolex Sky-Dweller is linked directly to the internal movement, and turning it to different positions enables the wearer to set either the date, local time, or reference time on the watch.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller is one of the most popular watches in the world; however due to its relatively short history, virtually all references enjoy a considerable amount of popularity among today’s collectors. The Sky-Dweller is available in varying configurations such as: 18k white gold with a champagne dial, 18k yellow gold with a white sating dial, and Everose gold with a chocolate dial. Versions of the Rolex Sky-Dweller include the following references:
Inside, the watch is just as impressive. The Sky-Dweller is powered by Rolex's in-house Caliber 9001 movement, considered one of the most complex Rolex calibers yet. As usual, the caliber is COSC Certified, and offers 28,800 beats per hour. The interior of the component features a parachrom hairspring, paraflex shock absorbers, and a large variable inertia balance wheel.
Designed, developed, and manufactured entirely in-house by Rolex, the Caliber 9001 is protected by 7 patents and is one of the most complex movements ever created by the brand. Featuring 40 jewels, a blue Parachrom hairspring, and high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, the Caliber 9001 offers a 72-hour power reserve and is a Certified Swiss Chronometer, certified both by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) and Rolex's more-stringent, in-house testing process.
In addition to the time of day, the Caliber 9001 also features a second time zone display on an off-centre disc, and 'Saros' - an annual calendar with date and month display. While traditional calendar complications require resetting after every month that does not have 31 days, a dual calendar complication automatically adjusts for different numbers of days in each month, and only requires resetting once per year at the end of February.
Rolex had been implementing calendars into several of their model watches since the 1950s. The annual calendar is based on a mechanism called SAROS, named after the Greek term for the cycle of the earth, moon, and sun. Along with the traditional brands date calendar system, the line features an additional two gear ratios and four gear wheels. The annual calendar mechanism is centered on a fixed planetary gear wheel, representing the sun, at the center of the movement. A satellite wheel, representing the earth, engages the planetary gear each month, driven by the date disc.
Therefore, when the right number of dates has passed, the wheel will turn to reveal the new month. An additional satellite wheel, representing the moon, is fitted with four fingers for the four 30-day months. At the end of each 30-day month, one of the satellite wheel’s fingers receives an extra impulse from the date-change mechanism, which causes the date to jump two days nearly instantly.
To know which months are 30 days and which are not, each month is indicated on a small rectangular aperture on the outside of the hour track. Thus, January is represented by the 1 o'clock mark, while June is represented by the 6 o'clock mark.
The other fascinating component is certainly its ability to tell time in two different locations. The local time is displayed by the dial and hands. The date component is connected to the local time. However, there is an off-centered rotating disc with numbers ranging from 1 to 24 above the 6 o'clock mark. This is used to tell time in a subsequent location. A small red arrow sits below the 12 o’clock mark, pointing to the time in the secondary location.
The annual calendar complication on the Sky-Dweller will automatically adjust the date display to account for months with different days; however it will require re-setting once per year at the end of February. Additionally, due to the high degree of functionality provided by the Caliber 9001 movement inside the Rolex Sky-Dweller, setting the watch involves more than simply adjusting the hands to show the correct time. For complete instructions on how to set the Rolex Sky-Dweller, check out our Rolex Sky-Dweller Setting Instructions page.
Many high-profile individuals wear Rolex watches, and as the ultimate watch for the modern world traveler, it is a natural choice for many top A-list celebrities who spend significant amounts of time on the road. Larger, more luxurious, and more feature-rich than the vast majority of its siblings in the Rolex catalog, the Sky-Dweller is a perfect fit for those who want the classic Rolex aesthetic but all the functionality of a multi-time zone travelers watch.
The following list of celebrities have already been spotted wearing Rolex Sky-Dweller watches; however, the list keeps growing as more individuals become aware of the day-to-day practicality of this complex Rolex watch.
At 42mm in diameter, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is the biggest dress reference in the brand's portfolio. With larger wristwatches trending, the Sky-Dweller has enjoyed its own success among collectors who seek a bold and contemporary timepiece backed by the quality of the Rolex brand.
Powering the Sky-Dweller is one of Rolex's most complex movements yet, the Caliber 9001. In addition to offering traditional hour, minute, and seconds, the Cal. 9001 also features a secondary timezone displayed via a 24-hour disc at the center of the dial, a jump date mechanism, and an annual calendar complication with the month displayed above each of the twelve hour markers. As functional as this watch is, it also oozes sophistication and high-style.
The series includes Yellow Rolesor, White Rolesor, yellow gold, and Everose gold metal options. Just last year, in 2020, the Oysterflex bracelet was added to the Rolex Sky-Dweller lineup, further bolstering its popularity among collectors. Trending models include the ref. 326934 in White Rolesor, and the ref. 326938 in full 18k yellow gold.
Like all Rolex watches both modern and vintage, the Sky-Dweller makes a great investment, and the stainless steel and white gold (White Rolesor) model actually sells for more than its original retail price on the pre-owned market. As Rolex's most advanced and complex watch, the Sky-Dweller remains very desirable among collectors, both at retail and on the pre-owned market. Additionally, the White Rolesor version with the blue dial is considered to be one of the most desirable timepieces in the world, and trades hands for significantly more than its original retail price on the secondary market.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller is capable of simultaneously displaying two timezones, and features an annual calendar complication that adjusts for months with 30 and 31 days and only requires resetting once per year at the end of February. With GMT functionality and an annual calendar named SAROS, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is the ultimate luxury travel watch.
Although the Rolex Sky-Dweller is generally more expensive than other Rolex models, it is the most complex model that is currently offered in Rolex's catalog. Every Sky-Dweller watch features 18k gold in its construction - even the stainless steel model features an 18k white gold fluted bezel. Between its highly-advanced movement, premium construction, and legendary brand history, the Sky-Dweller is definitely worth the investment.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller displays a secondary timezone on its off-centered rotating 24-hour disc, while the time in the current time zone is displayed on the traditional centrally-mounted hands. The date of the month is displayed through a window in the dial at the 3 o'clock location, while the month is displayed by a series of windows located along the periphery of the dial. Additionally, to facilitate the setting process of this technologically advanced Rolex watch, the Sky-Dweller features a Ring Command Bezel, which links the other bezel to the internal movement to unlock additional setting modes without having additional crown positions.
Available with both jubilee and oyster bracelet options, the Sky-Dweller is a nice choice for collectors. Shop the plethora of dial colors, metal types, and model numbers below.