Rolex Sky-Dweller: At Home Around the Globe
With an annual calendar and second time zone, the Sky-Dweller is one of Rolex's most complicated watches. Models are constantly increasing in value, making them a worthwhile investment for frequent travelers, investors, and collectors.
A Technical Masterpiece With 14 Patents
The Rolex Sky-Dweller is an impressive 42-mm watch with annual calendar and dual-time functions. Along with the Yacht-Master II regatta chronograph, this timepiece is one of Rolex's most complicated models. Protected by a total of 14 patents, the Sky-Dweller is a perfect example of the Genevan watch manufacturer's ingenuity.
The in-house caliber 9001 ticks away inside the Sky-Dweller. This movement has a 72-hour power reserve and comes with Superlative Chronometer certification. However, what makes the caliber 9001 truly special is its Ring Command bezel, which you can use to control the watch's many functions. The annual calendar only requires manual correction once a year at the end of February.
The Sky-Dweller displays the additional time zone using an unconventional 24-hour disc in the middle of the dial. Many people set this feature to their home time and adjust the central hands to the local time when traveling.
All Sky-Dweller models have appreciated in value at a remarkable rate over the past 20 years (as of May 2022). Topping the list are the ref. 326934 in white gold with a blue dial and the ref. 326935 in Everose gold. These two models have appreciated by almost 70%.
5 Reasons to Buy a Rolex Sky-Dweller
- Highly practical with an annual calendar and dual-time function
- Automatic in-house caliber 9001 with a 72-hour power reserve
- Innovative Ring Command bezel for optimal usability
- High-quality materials, such as yellow, white, or Everose gold (rose gold)
- Superlative chronometer: deviates a maximum of +/- 2 seconds per day
Prices for the Rolex Sky-Dweller
|Reference number||Value appreciation,* price (approx.)||Material, band, dial color|
|326935||69%, 74,500 USD||Everose gold, Oyster bracelet, brown|
|326934||69%, 36,000 USD||White gold and steel, Oyster bracelet, blue|
|326939||52%, 59,000 USD||White gold, Oyster bracelet, silver|
|326938||50%, 61,000 USD||Yellow gold, Oyster bracelet, black|
|326138||48%, 42,000 USD||Yellow gold, leather strap, silver|
|326933||35%, 25,500 USD||Yellow gold and steel, Oyster bracelet, black|
|326238||21%, 46,000 USD||Yellow gold, Oysterflex bracelet, white|
|326135||14%, 42,500 USD||Everose gold, leather strap, brown|
|326235||13%, 53,000 USD||Everose gold, Oysterflex bracelet, gray|
|326139||12%, 36,000 USD||White gold, leather strap, black|
|*between May 2020 and May 2022|
Is the Sky-Dweller a good investment?
Many Rolexes, especially stainless steel sports models, make great investments, and the Sky-Dweller is no exception. Just how profitable an investment in one of these timepieces can be, however, largely depends on the exact model. Between May 2020 and May 2022, the white gold ref. 326139 on a leather strap rose in value by 12%, while the Everose gold ref. 326935 on an Oyster bracelet appreciated by almost 70%. The ref. 326934, the Sky-Dweller model made of stainless steel and white gold, changes hands for well over double its original list price.
How much does a Sky-Dweller cost?
Two-tone watches in gold and stainless steel – a combination Rolex refers to as "Rolesor" – make up the Sky-Dweller collection's entry-level models. The ref. 326933 in yellow gold and stainless steel is the most "affordable" at around 25,500 USD new. This Rolex watch has appreciated by around 35% between May 2020 and May 2022. The Swiss manufacturer demands 18,800 USD for it.
Rolesor watches in white gold and stainless steel bear the reference number 326934, and are slightly more expensive than their yellow gold and stainless steel counterparts. Expect to pay around 30,500 USD for the black dial version in mint condition. Back in May 2020, this model cost "only" around 17,500 USD, meaning this Rolex watch has seen a value appreciation of 74%.
The Rolesor Sky-Dweller with the blue dial also has the reference number 326934 and is listed for 14,800 USD. However, this version of the stainless steel and white gold watch is even more popular and therefore more expensive. You're unlikely to find this watch for sale at offline retailers, and even if you do, chances are you'll need to spend years on a waiting list. This is why many enthusiasts are willing to pay a significant premium to get their watch more quickly. You can buy this Rolex watch on Chrono24 for around 36,000 USD. The model appreciated by around 69% between May 2020 and May 2022.
Prices for the Gold Sky-Dweller
If you are interested in a gold Sky-Dweller model, you can choose between yellow, white, and Everose gold. These gold timepieces come on an Oyster bracelet and on an alligator leather strap. Rolex replaced the latter with an Oysterflex bracelet in 2021. The white gold ref. 326139 on a leather strap costs around 35,500 USD. The white gold ref. 326939 on an Oyster bracelet, on the other hand, demands around 59,000 USD new. This model more than doubled in value between May 2020 and May 2022.
You will find the Everose gold model on an Oyster bracelet under the reference number 326235. This timepiece features a brown dial, and costs around 53,000 USD in mint condition. This model has risen in value by 12% on Chrono24. It has an official list price of 41,400 USD.
The Sky-Dweller ref. 326935 is the most expensive watch model in this Rolex collection. You will need to invest around 74,500 USD in this Everose gold variant on an Oyster bracelet. This model has appreciated by almost 70% since May 2020 (as of May 2022).
A yellow gold Sky-Dweller will never go unnoticed and is the perfect choice if you're looking for a watch with real wrist presence. The ref. 326938 comes on an Oyster bracelet and required an investment of around 61,000 USD in May 2022. It is another example of a Rolex watch that has doubled in value in recent years.
The reference number 326138 features a silver dial and brown leather strap. This model has appreciated by 48%, and can be found on Chrono24 for around 42,000 USD in mint condition. If you prefer an Oysterflex bracelet, you'll need to pay closer to 46,000 USD.
Using the Ring Command Bezel
One of the Rolex Sky-Dweller's distinctive features is its rotating, fluted Ring Command bezel. Turning the bezel enables you to control the watch’s functions. You'll find a similar mechanism on the Yacht-Master II, a regatta chronograph for professional sailors with a countdown function. Here's how the Sky-Dweller's bezel works: 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.
By rotating the bezel even further to 9 o'clock, you can set the home time (the 24-hour disc) together with the hour and minute hands. This position also engages the caliber 9001's stop-seconds mechanism, which prevents the second hand from moving and enables the wearer to set the time to the exact second. Make sure you've pulled out the crown before rotating the bezel to avoid damaging the caliber. You can wind the watch via the crown in any of the bezel's three positions.
Chronograph and GMT functions
Rolex uses rectangular windows above the hour markers to display the months. The window corresponding to the current month is filled with a contrasting color. For example, if it's July, the window at 7 o'clock will be colored in, as July is the seventh month of the year. Rolex refers to its annual calendar as "Saros," a reference to the astronomical unit saros, which is used to predict solar and lunar eclipses.
Thanks to the Sky-Dweller's 24-hour scale, it's easy to distinguish night from day. The disc is fully visible and has a prominent position on the dial's lower two-thirds. The minute and hour hands also contribute to the watch's readability. Each hand is partially skeletonized so as not to obstruct the fixed red triangle displaying the second time zone, even when the two hands overlap. The hands also contain luminous material so that you can read the watch easily in the dark.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller's Design
Rolex equips the Sky-Dweller with the well-known, reliable Oyster case made famous by the brand's sports watches. Due to the caliber 9001 and its functions, the case measures 42 mm in diameter and 14.1 mm thick, making the Sky-Dweller one of Rolex's most massive timepieces. The gold editions are particularly hefty. At around 250 g, they are some serious wristwear.
Each three-piece link Oyster bracelet features the Easylink comfort extension system, which allows you to lengthen the band by 5 mm. This is especially practical on hot summer days when the wrist swells due to heat.
The Sky-Dweller's design is close to that of the sporty and elegant Rolex Day-Date, which features displays for the date and full day of the week at 3 and 12 o'clock, respectively. The Sky-Dweller's fluted bezel and Roman numerals emphasize the watch's stylish look. This unique bezel has another advantage: It's easier to grip and turn than a smooth, polished bezel. Those looking for a sportier watch should check out the yellow gold models with Arabic numerals. Rolex also offers more classic versions with Roman numerals.
In-House Caliber 9001 With a 72-Hour Power Reserve
Rolex has had a reputation for robust and precise movements for decades. Every caliber receives a certificate from the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) and undergoes additional in-house testing. The inscription "Superlative Chronometer" on the dial indicates the movement's high level of precision.
The same goes for the Sky-Dweller and its caliber, the 9001. Rolex introduced this movement in 2012 with optimizations and additional functions that set it apart from the standard caliber 3135. One improvement was the ball-bearing rotor, which also appears in the chronograph caliber 4130. Compared to the plain bearing rotors used in other Rolex movements, ball-bearing rotors are less susceptible to wear and tear. Like the 4130, the caliber 9001 has a power reserve of 72 hours. Thus, you can take your watch off over the weekend and put it back on without any problems come Monday morning.
Rolex's watchmakers have also perfected the balance bridge. With the help of knurled screws, you can finely adjust the balance staff. The watch also features typical Rolex Microstella nuts on its balance rim. Additionally, the movement has a blue Parachrom hairspring made from a non-magnetic zirconium-niobium alloy. Its special Breguet overcoil ensures a high level of accuracy, as does the precision index adjuster.
The movement is also resistant to shock and jolts thanks to Rolex's Paraflex shock protection system, which provides cushioning for the balance and escape wheels. Compared to the Incabloc system, this mechanism offers better protection and can put the balance staff back in the correct position more effectively.
Although the movement is hidden behind a polished screw-down case back, Rolex didn't skimp on its decoration. A skeletonized sunburst rotor, sunburst bridges, polished screw heads, and golden inscriptions all make this caliber an even more beautiful piece of art.