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Rolex Sky-Dweller

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Rolex SKY-DWELLER 42mm 18K Everose Gold Watch 2016 Rolex SKY-DWELLER 42mm 18K Everose Gold Watch 2016 US 6 2015 $34,999

Rolex Sky-Dweller: On Top of the World

Protected by 14 patents, the Sky-Dweller is one of Rolex's most complex watches. This timepiece unites user comfort and technical ingenuity and features an annual calendar and a second time zone.

Highlights

  • High-quality chronometer: in-house caliber 9001
  • Second time zone, date display, and annual calendar
  • Easily control the watch's functions with the fluted Ring Command bezel
  • High-quality materials: yellow, white, or Everose gold (rose gold)
  • 42-mm men's version

Technical Finesse in the Sky

Timepieces from Rolex are world famous for their reliability, robustness, and precision. Models such as the Submariner, one of the first diving watches, only have select extra features like a date display and a rotating bezel. The Sky-Dweller, however, is completely different. This watch, with its 42-mm gold case, features an annual calendar and date display, as well as a second time zone. Therefore, it's considered to be one of Rolex's most complex timepieces.
The Sky-Dweller is the first Rolex to have an annual calendar. Right on time at each month's end, the date changes to the next day. You only have to manually correct the date after the 28th or 29th of February. The months are displayed in connection with the twelve-hour markers. Small apertures above the Roman numerals represent each month, and the aperture corresponding to the current month is colored in. For example, when it's July, the aperture above the Roman numeral seven will be filled in. As a tribute to the astronomical phenomenon called the Saros, Rolex named its annual calendar Saros.
A unique 24-hour disc displays the second time zone or home time. A red triangle below the 12-hour marker indicates what time it is in another part of the world. Thanks to the 24-hour disc, it's easy to distinguish night from day. The disc is fully visible and slightly raised from the dial. The minute and hour hands also contribute to the watch's readability. The first third of each hand is skeletonized, thereby making it possible to view the fixed red second time zone triangle at all times. The hands also contain luminous material so that you can read the watch easily at night.

Buying a Rolex Sky-Dweller

Are you looking for a mechanical watch with an annual calendar as well as GMT function? Then the Rolex Sky-Dweller is the watch for you. You only have to correct the date once a year, at the end of February. Conventional day and date displays have to be corrected five times a year (after every month with 30 days). The 24-hour disc displays the current time in a second time zone. The designers gave the watch the typical Rolex look. The sporty, 18-karat gold Oyster case receives an elegant touch thanks to its fluted Ring Command bezel and Roman numerals on the dial. You have the choice between white, yellow, and Everose gold. Pre-owned models in excellent condition are available for around 20,000 euros. New watches with leather straps cost around 23,000 euros. If you prefer a link bracelet, you should plan to spend around 30,000 euros.
A less expensive option with a second time zone, but without a calendar, is the GMT-Master from Rolex. It was originally developed for commercial airline pilots in the 1950s, but it has since become one of the most beloved collector's watches. Its characteristic features include a fourth hand and a bicolor rotating 24-hour bezel. The hands and bezel correspond with each other and indicate the time in the second time zone. Pre-owned stainless steel models are available for around 5,000 euros. Vintage models from the 1950s are especially coveted and thus rather rare. You can expect to pay over 40,000 euros for one of these watches. Whether it's a GMT-Master or a Sky-Dweller, both Rolex models are perfect for pilots and frequent travelers who want to keep an eye on what time it is somewhere far away.

Buying Tips

  • Men's watches with an annual calendar and second time zone
  • 18-karat gold watches for around 20,000 euros (pre-owned) or 30,000 (new)
  • Other Rolex alternatives: stainless steel GMT-Master for around 5,000 euros
  • Alternative from Blancpain: Villeret Quantième Annuel GMT for around 27,000 euros, a classic men's watch made of white or rose gold with an annual calendar and second time zone

Innovative User Comfort

A unique feature of the Sky-Dweller is its rotating, fluted Ring Command bezel. Turning the bezel controls the watch’s functions, similar to the Yacht-Master II, a regatta chronograph for professional sailors with a countdown function. The bezel functions in this way: After unscrewing and pulling out the crown, you turn the bezel left until it locks into place at 11 o'clock. Then, you can set the date by turning the crown in either direction. The month is set in the same way.
If you keep turning the bezel left to 10 o'clock, you can set the local time. The usual three hands for hours, minutes, and seconds display the local time. If you turn the crown, the hour hand jumps forward or backwards. The date can be set this way as well.
If you turn the bezel even further to nine o'clock, you can set the home time (the 24-hour disc) together with the hour and minute hands. Since the caliber 9001 has a balance stop, the second hand does not move in this position, making it possible to set the time to the exact second. While moving the bezel, the crown should remain pulled out; that way, you won't damage the caliber. You can wind the watch with the help of the crown in any of the bezel's three positions.

Operation via the Ring Command Bezel

  • To set the date and month: Pull out the crown and turn the bezel left to 11 o'clock
  • To set the local time: Pull out the crown and turn the bezel left to 10 o'clock
  • To set the second time zone: Pull out the crown and turn the bezel left to 9 o'clock

Sky-Dweller: Design and Materials

Rolex uses the well-known, reliable Oyster case for the Sky-Dweller model. Due to the caliber and its functions, this watch is one of Rolex's largest on offer with a total diameter of 42 mm. Since its introduction in 2012, the Sky-Dweller has been exclusively available in 18-karat gold, with a choice between yellow, white, or Everose. Everose is a special, in-house rose gold alloy introduced by Rolex in 2005. Like the other gold versions, it's cast in Rolex's own foundry. There's no missing this piece of gold on your wrist: At around 250 g, the Sky-Dweller is one of the heaviest Rolex watches.
For the band, you have the choice between a gold, three-piece link Oyster band and an alligator leather strap, available in brown or black. The Oyster bands feature a special clasp mechanism which allows you to lengthen the band by 5 mm. This is a practical feature for hot summer days when the wrist swells a few millimeters due to heat.
The Sky-Dweller's design is closer to Rolex's sporty-elegant Day-Date, which displays both the date at three o'clock and the day of the week written out at 12 o'clock. A fluted bezel and Roman numerals emphasize the watch's stylish look. The Sky-Dweller's unique bezel has another advantage: it's easier to grip and turn than a smooth, polished bezel. The yellow gold models feature Arabic numerals, giving them a sportier look. The white gold models are a bit more subtle, as they're not immediately recognizable as solid gold.

Precise In-House Caliber

Rolex has been known for their robust and precise movements for decades. Every caliber receives a certificate from the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) and undergoes an additional test from Rolex. The inscription Superlative Chronometer on the dial indicates the movement's high precision. The same goes for the Sky-Dweller, which is powered by caliber 9001. Rolex introduced this movement in 2012 with optimizations and additional functions which significantly set it apart from the standard caliber 3135. One improvement is a ball-bearing rotor, which is also found in the chronograph movement 4130. In comparison to plain bearing rotors, which are found in other Rolex movements, ball-bearing rotors are considered to be less susceptible to wear and tear. Like the 4130, the 9001 has a power reserve of 72 hours. Thus, you can take your watch off over the weekend and put it back on Monday morning without any problems.
Rolex watchmakers have also perfected the balance bridge. With the help of knurled screws, you can finely adjust the balance staff. The watch also features the typical Rolex Microstella nuts on its balance rim. Additionally, the movement has a blue Parachrom balance spring made from a non-magnetic zirconium-niobium alloy. The special Breguet spiral ensures a high level of accuracy, as does the precision index adjuster.
The movement is also protected from shock and jolts by Rolex's Paraflex shock system, which provides cushioning for the balance wheel as well as the escape wheel. Compared to the Incabloc shock protection system, this mechanism offers better protection against shocks and can more effectively put the balance staff back in the correct position.
Although the movement is hidden behind a screw-down case back, it's still decorated; a skeletonized, sunburst rotor and sunburst bridges, polished screw heads, and golden inscriptions all make this caliber an even more beautiful piece of art.