When you’re watch journalist, you always keep an eye out for watches. You spot special watches on the wrists of people whenever you’re out and about. Whether it’s a special vintage watch or just an affordable diver, you’re always stealing a glance at people’s wrists. Sometimes this even leads to an interesting conversation with a total stranger.
Some brands produce watches you can easily spot from a mile away and Rolex is one of them. The sport models with their clear and similar design are especially easy to recognize, even for people that are not as deeply involved in watches as we are. However, there are a few Rolex pieces that you don’t often spot in the wild.
Sky-Dweller with Extra Complications
The Rolex Sky-Dweller was introduced only a few years ago. Rumors about this model began shortly before Baselworld five years ago. Initial reactions were mixed and I still remember seeing the first product images while on our way to Basel. It’s not often that Rolex introduces a completely new watch, but when they do, they sure do it right (even when not every model fits everybody’s personal taste). The Rolex Sky-Dweller fits within the sporting models and features the typical case and Oyster bracelet design.
The Sky-Dweller stands out from other models thanks to unique complications which you normally don’t find in a Rolex. Rolex calls it “the elegant traveler’s watch,” as it comes with a second time zone. Apart from that, it also features an innovative annual calendar which only needs adjusting once a year when February becomes March.
The second time zone is displayed in an off-center ring in the dial. Just under the Rolex logo there is a small triangle serving as a reference point to read the time on a 24-hour scale. On the outside of the dial you will find small indicators which visually extend the hour markers. One of the twelve apertures will display in red showing the corresponding month, so if the red dot is at the 11 o’clock marker, it’s November.
The interesting thing is that all of the functions are operated by just one crown. Rolex added a function to the fluted bezel, renamed the Ring Command bezel, to make this possible. You can turn the bezel which will allow you to set the main time, second time zone, or date. Probably the main reason you don’t often see the Sky-Dweller is that until recently it has only been produced in precious metals. Solid gold Rolex watches have a hefty price tag, but everything changed when Rolex announced steel and gold-steel versions earlier this year at Baselworld. So, who knows – you may start to see the Sky-Dweller in the wild more often.
A Specialty Watch, the Yacht-Master II
Another Rolex featuring the Ring Command bezel is the Yacht-Master II. This specific model is less interesting for the masses seeing as its dedicated to yachting competitions; thus, you’re less likely to encounter it out and about. I had the pleasure to wear a solid gold one for a short period and must say I loved it, even though I’m usually not a fan of big watches. Its 44-mm diameter combined with the weight of the gold lets you know you are wearing this watch.
As I mentioned, the Yacht-Master is dedicated to sailing; it comes with a 10-minute countdown timer for the start of yachting races. You can program the countdown timer with the bezel and set it for 1 to 10 minutes, making it also useful for timing short periods in your daily life. The top chronograph button starts and stops the countdown timing, while with the lower pusher you can reset the timer. The crown controls the standard watch functions.
Biggest Kid on the Block
Just like the Yacht-Master, the Sea-Dweller Deepsea is a bulky specialty watch. Looking back, I remember having this watch on loan for a photoshoot and taking the chance to try it out. As mentioned, I am not a fan of big watches and for that reason the Deepsea didn’t get much wrist time. Somehow, I experienced it in a different way compared to the YM-II. Despite that, I do like the Deepsea, as it is amazingly well crafted.
The Rolex Deepsea also measures 44 mm in diameter and is quite thick, giving it an obvious presence on your wrist. Its thickness is due to the extreme pressure it can withstand. Being waterproof up to 3,900 meters, this watch was created as a specialty dive watch. Other than its unidirectional diving bezel, its only functions are displaying the time and date. It has the most basic functions you would want on a dive watch.
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