This year, I was happy to see a stainless steel Rolex Sky-Dweller during our appointment at BaselWorld. Introduced in 2012 already, but always in precious metals. Today’s steel Rolex Sea-Dweller is partly precious metal, as the fluted bezel is made of white gold. Let’s have a look.
Steel Rolex Sky-Dweller reference 326934
Although some say the new 43mm Rolex Sea-Dweller with red writing is the big news from Rolex this year, I think it was actually their Sky-Dweller in stainless steel that impressed me. A steel Rolex Sky-Dweller, with a 42mm case and a wonderful complication: the annual calendar. You will only need to correct the date on March 1st, and all other months are good to go. A clever mechanism (using the bezel), will allow you to easily set the local time, reference time and the date (and month).
As you can see on the image above, the hour markers are also the month indicator of the watch. So on the steel Rolex Sky-Dweller above, it is August (month 8). You can rotate the bezel to set the watch. The bezel can be set in 3 positions. Position 3 (turning it counter clock wise as far as possible), will set the reference time. Position II, which is around 9:30, is used to set the local time. Position I (10.30) of the bezel is used to set the date. In each of these positions you will also have to unscrew and operate the crown, of course.
For the Sky-Dweller, Rolex uses their caliber 9001 movement. It has all the typical Rolex innovations, like the Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers. But you can also say that it is one of the few Rolex movements with complications (if you don’t count the date function as a complication). Besides the chronograph movements for the Daytona and Yacht-Master II, the annual calendar is quite something. It also is able to display an extra time zone (using the off-centre 24-hour disc).
It is the same functionality and movement that you’ll find in the gold models of the Rolex Sky-Dweller of course. However, the stainless steel Rolex Sky-Dweller comes with a bit of ‘stealth’ to be honest. Where the Sky-Dweller in precious metals was a watch that could not be missed or mistaken for something else, at first glance the stainless steel Sky-Dweller looks quite similar to the 41mm Datejust models. A closer look will make you discover it is a different watch due to the off-centre 24-hour disc on the dial.
Although this watch isn’t new, nor is the functionality of the so-called Ring Command bezel, it was the Rolex watch that impressed me most. The new Datejust 41, Sea-Dweller with red writing and Daytona with rubber straps are all nice, but this Sky-Dweller ticks a lot of boxes for me. It is not one of the sports models that you will basically see everywhere, instead it belongs into the category of the Datejusts and Day-Dates, but with extra functionality. The 42mm case is rather large, but it suits the watch. I’ve tried it on during the meeting (see our Instagram account) and it was actually quite comfortable. The best thing however, is that it isn’t in precious metal (minus the Ring Command Bezel in 18kt white gold) like the other Sky-Dweller references. The use of steel turns the Rolex Sky-Dweller 326934 into a great daily wearer. It is also a nice travel companion due to the second timezone complication. A little in-house competition for the GMT-Master II.
The steel Rolex Sky-Dweller will be available with a white, blue and black dial. There’s also a version in gold/steel with champagne dial. The stainless steel Rolex Sky-Dweller I am talking about here though, has a retail price of 13.050 Euro. The yellow gold / steel model has a retail price of 15.600 Euro. That is friendlier than the 44.000 Euro for the model in Everose gold as it was introduced a few years ago.
As I wrote last week, the new Datejust 41 with white gold bezel is 8.500 Euro. The steel Rolex Sky-Dweller with its Annual Calendar and 2nd time zone complications for 13.050 Euro is not that far away from the price of a Datejust 41 given the fact that the movement is often one of the most expensive parts of a watch.
More info via Rolex on-line.