Rolex is one of the few luxury brands out there that has mainly focused in offering time only or time/date watches through their history with the exception of the Daytona which is a chronograph and the GMT Master II and Explorer II dual time zone watches. Along with the triple calendars and triple calendars with chronograph released during the late 40s and through the very early 60s, this is in reality the very first modern Rolex complication.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller brings Rolex's view of horology to a higher level and joins the ranks of other Rolex vintage legendary watches like the Rolex ref. 6062 Triple Calendar with Moonphase, the Rolex ref. 6236 Triple Calendar Chronograph Dato-Compax a.k.a. "Killy", the Rolex ref. 4768 Triple calendar or the Rolex "Padellone" Triple Calendar with Moon Phase ref. 8171. Launched in 2012, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is not only a very well designed watch from a looks standpoint but also a very useful complication that combines an annual calendar with a second time zone display.
The Case & Dial
The Rolex Sky-Dweller is fitted with a very robust, thick and extremely solid case measuring 42 mm in diameter and available in three different 18K gold options with either an alligator leather strap or with a matching 18K gold bracelet. The case is one of the most solid cases we've ever reviewed when it comes to Rolex and almost as robust as the one on the Deepsea Sea-Dweller. To sum it up, just by holding its case, one can tell this is a 'power watch' and a 'watch boss timepiece'. With a fully polished finish throughout, the case has the same shape as the case on the Datejust or the Day-Date but on steroids. Additionally, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is offered in twelve different possible combinations to meet most individual tastes.
- Ref. 326139 —18K white gold, black Arabic numerals or ivory Roman numerals dial, black alligator leather strap.
- Ref. 326939 —18K white gold, black Arabic numerals or ivory Roman numerals dial, matching bracelet.
- Ref. 326138 —18K yellow gold, champagne Arabic numerals or silver Roman numerals dial, tobacco alligator leather strap.
- Ref. 326938 —18K yellow gold, champagne Arabic numerals or silver Roman numerals dial, matching bracelet.
- Ref. 326135 —18K Everose gold, chocolate Arabic numerals or sundust Roman numerals dial, tobacco alligator leather strap.
- Ref. 326935 —18K Everose gold, chocolate Arabic numerals or sundust Roman numerals dial, tobacco alligator leather strap., matching bracelet.
For us, the Rolex Sky-Dweller Everose Sundust Dial ref. 326935 is by far the best looking Sky-Dweller of all, along with the 18K white gold ref. 326139 with black dial. To guarantee a waterproofness of 100 meters, the Sky-Dweller is fitted with a twinlock screw-down crown.
For those of you wondering what Everose gold is, this is Rolex's proprietary patented 18K pink gold alloy that is actually cast in its own foundry. Rolex is the only watch manufacturer out there with its own foundry for precious metals. This special alloy —with a mix that includes some platinum— was introduced by Rolex in 2005 and since then, it is being used for all Rolex Oyster models in pink gold.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller ref. 326935 is fitted with what is called by Rolex a 'Sundust' dial. In reality this type of dial is commonly known as a 'sunburst' finished dial with rays that flow from the center to the perimeter. The dial is extremely nicely finished and has a beautiful color hue that falls right in between the color of the classical Rolex champagne dials and the silvery oyster dials. The dial on the Sky-Dweller Everose ref. 326935 features applied 18K Everose Roman numerals and rectangular apertures located behind each numeral. These cutout windows/apertures are where the corresponding month is displayed by a bright red disc, while the date is shown via the aperture at 3 o'clock.
This bright red indicator shows the current month in an intuitive way and its mechanism is based off of the SAROS cycle. This ingenious mechanism simplifies life for the wearer of the watch, who no longer needs to think about adjusting the date at the end of a 30-day or 31-day month.
But what makes the Rolex Sky-Dweller Everose Sundust Dial ref. 326935 even more special, is the ability to show a second time zone via the off-centered 24-hour white ring with black transfers and the red arrow pointer located right under the Rolex logo. The hands, just like the Roman numerals, are also made of 18K Everose gold and are partially skeletonized and fitted with chromalight tips.
The Ring Command Bezel
The Rolex Sky-Dweller Everose Sundust Dial ref. 326935 is fitted with a fluted bezel that in reality is more than just a bezel. This bezel or 'Ring Command Bezel' as Rolex refers to it is a very advanced horological component that serves as the way in which the wearer is able to set multiple functions on this watch. Protected by no less than 14 patents, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is in reality a masterpiece of horology that maintains all the traditional design cues of a Rolex timepiece with its unmistakable appearance and desired flashiness.
The rotating Ring Command Bezel interacts with the movement allowing the wearer to easily set the different functions on the watch. This rotating bezel, can be turned in either direction to one of three positions in order to select the date, the local time or the second time zone. While the local time is indicated by the central hour and minute hands, the second time zone is marked by the inverted read triangle and the off-centered disc.
Since the hour hand can be moved independently in one hour increments, one can maintain the watch synchronized with the off-centered ring to keep track of military time or to simply use that function as a day/night indicator. Otherwise, the wearer can simply keep track of a second time zone as necessary.
Once the bezel is rotated and the winding crown is pulled out to its one and only setting position, the selected function can be rapidly adjusted in either direction using the winding crown. As the bezel is rotated, the crown engages to set a different function. This intuitive interface is based on a complex mechanical module with no fewer than 60 components, the product of state-of-the-art watchmaking and advanced micro mechanics.
The only function that is not set using the Ring Command Bezel along with the crown is the corresponding month. To set the month, the wearer needs to advance the date via the crown, until the correct month is displayed by the red indicator behind the Roman numerals. Since the Rolex Sky-Dweller is an annual calendar, the mechanism in the watch accounts for the number days in each month —30 or 31 days— with the exception of February —as only a perpetual calendar would. Therefore, the wearer needs to make a simple adjustment on February 28 or 29 and advance the date to March 1st as necessary.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller Everose Sundust Dial ref. 326935 is powered by the new in-house calibre 9001. This automatic movement with an outstanding power reserve —72 hours— for Rolex standards, was entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex and introduced in 2012 for this particular watch. Engineered to ensure simplicity of use, the movement uses a selector wheel on the outside edge of the movement to allow for interaction of the movement and the bezel of the watch to set the Sky-Dweller’s functions.
Like all Rolex Perpetual movements, the 9001 is a certified Swiss Chronometer —COSC. The movement utilizes the SAROS annual calendar system for its mechanism. This system is a revolutionary planetary mechanism inspired by the cyclical alignment of Sun, Earth and Moon. The Greek term 'saros' has been used since antiquity to designate an astronomical cycle which governs the recurrence of eclipses. The Sky-Dweller’s Saros annual calendar owes its high efficiency to a mechanism of revolutionary simplicity. Displaying the correct date through the year, this ingenious system patented by Rolex replicates the irregular occurrence of 30 and 31-day months using only four additional gear wheels.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller Everose Sundust Dial ref. 326935 is equipped with a very solid Oyster bracelet with flat three-piece links and folding Oysterclasp with Easylink adjustment. The 18K Everose bracelet is just as solid as any other 18K gold bracelet on other Rolex gold models and finished with satin brushed outer links and polished center links.
On the Wrist & Pricing
On the wrist, the Rolex Sky-Dweller Everose Sundust Dial ref. 326935 wears true to its size and extremely heavy —much heavier than a gold Submariner or a Day-Date President 40. This is due to the fact that the case is almost as thick as that on a Deepsea Sea-Dweller in order to be able to fit the highly complicated Rolex in-house calibre 9001. If you are looking for one of the best looking Rolex watches out there and one that is flashy but elegant at the same time, then look no further.
In summary, what sets the Sky-Dweller apart from all other Rolex watches out there is that for the very first time, Rolex is combining two very useful complications in one watch. An annual calendar along with a dual time zone, make this complication one of the most useful watches out there. Additionally, the Rolex Sky-Dweller Everose with Sundust dial is also one of those watches that when spotted in the wild commands respect for whoever is wearing it.
Sticker Price $48,850 USD. For more info on Rolex click here.