The History of the Rolex Sky-Dweller | Bob’s Watches

Hello, and welcome to another installment of the Bob’s Watches video series. We’ve been spending a lot of time looking at history lately, but in the case of today’s watch we really don’t have a lot of history to work with. We’re talking about the Rolex Sky Dweller–one of the more recent additions to the Rolex catalog that first launched in 2012.

Originally launched solely in precious metals, the model range has expanded to include Everose Gold, yellow gold, two-tone, and most recently steel with a white gold bezel. The last of the bunch hit the market arrived in 2017, bringing the retail price down to a comparatively modest $14,400. It’s also worth noting that there was a solid white gold version that popped up somewhere along the way, but Rolex doesn’t seem to list that version in their current online catalog.

An all new Rolex model isn’t something that comes along all that often, and what makes the Sky Dweller most interesting is that it is effectively one of, if not the most complex Rolex watch there is. The Sky Dweller features both an annual calendar and a dual time complication packed into a rather clean and legible package. Of course we have the usual Rolex date at 3 o’clock with a magnifying cyclops. We have an easy-to read second time zone indicated below the red and white triangle that lives below the Rolex logo. The sneaky indication of the pack, and one you might not have noticed right away until it’s pointed out is the month indication. Just past the hour indices there are additional markers, with one appearing in a contrasting color–red contrasting against white if you’re looking at the steel model, but on occasion Rolex has used other colors. January starts at the 1 o’clock mark, and December lands at 12. Clever, right? Being an annual calendar, you won’t need to have to worry about compensating for months that end at 30 days, though you will have to adjust for February.

This brings us to the other fun feature of the Sky Dweller, which is how Rolex designed its setting mechanism. Similarly to how they integrated some functionality into the bezel positions of the Yacht Master ii, Rolex uses what they call their Ring Command Bezel to eliminate the need for multiple crown positions or compensating pushers. When you unscrew the crown, its first position before pulling it out–position 1–can be used to wind the movement if it’s been sitting a while and has burned through its 72 hour power reserve. Pulling the crown out puts it in position 2, which is where all the magic happens. The fluted bezel can be rotated into one of three positions, and depending on the position you are able to adjust a different feature of the watch. In one position, month and date can be set, in the next you set home time, and the next local time. Similarly to a GMT-Master ii, setting the reference time on the 24h disc also moves the local time on the hour hand, the same way the “GMT hand” would move, so this would be set first, followed by your local time. Lastly, local time on the hour hand is set with the bezel moved to its third position.

Now that we’ve gotten past the fun complications, there are more details that set the Sky Dweller apart from its siblings. Though its case design speaks the same language as the Datejust and President, it’s a bit of a different animal when you have it in-hand or on the wrist. One of the bigger modern Rolex models, it measures 42mm across and 14.1mm thick, so it’s a bit on the hefty side for tucking under a shirt cuff, but can still pass as long as you’re not aiming for an understated look. Even without considering its size, the Sky Dweller is definitely an eye-catching watch, and one that’ll draw the occasional double-take from those who are only familiar with the longstanding Rolex classics. If you’ve had your heart set on a Rolex but you’re in the mood for something a little out of the ordinary, the Sky Dweller just might be the way to go.

You can shop our selection of Rolex Sky-Dweller watches by clicking the link below:


Ron V says:

I love these historical Videos you make–very informative

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