The Rolex Sky-Dweller Is The Misunderstood Genius You Need In Your Life
When it came out in 2012 BaselWorld was buzzing because of it. The buzz kind of died – and so did BaselWorld, but that’s an entirely different matter – in the nine years that followed. The flagship model Rolex presented as some kind of über GMT, but it never quite make it to the top of people’s wish list. Partly because it all started with models in various precious metals with hefty price tags. But also because a complicated annual calendar with dual time zones is very un-Rolex. But still, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is the misunderstood genius you need in your life.
I declare 2021 the year of the Rolex Sky-Dweller. And that’s because since this year the ostentatious Sky-Dweller in steel with a white gold, fluted bezel, is available on a Jubilee bracelet. When I say available you have to take that with a grain of salt, of course, but the combination was introduced as of this year, so in an ideal world you would be able to visit your local dealer and have a look at it. The watch has a list price of €14,300, and you can choose between a white, black, or blue dial – the distinguished black version is my personal favorite.
The nerd that is outshone by the jock. And that is so wrong.
The combination of a fluted bezel and a Jubilee bracelet is unbeaten IMHO. The fact that it’s also very flashy because of the plethora of light bouncing off of it, is part of the appeal for me. But no matter how much I like it, the Sky-Dweller is the misunderstood genius that operates in the shadow of the many tool watches the brand with the crown produces. The nerd that is outshone by the jock. It’s brawl over brains, and that is so wrong.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller is the misunderstood genius you need in your life
Before we examine the “brain” of the Sky-Dweller, let’s first have a look at its 42 × 14.1mm, 100m water resistant Oyster “body”. The Sky-Dweller comes in yellow gold, Everose gold, Oystersteel and yellow gold, and Oystersteel and white gold. It’s big for a Rolex. Big for a watch that is more luxurious than sporty. And way more complicated than any other modern Rolex apart from its sea-faring sibling, the Yacht-Master II that also uses the Ring Command system I will come back to later.
Comparing airlines with watches
You can wear the Sky-Dweller on an Oyster bracelet with polished center links, an alligator leather strap used to be an option, but that was replaced by the sporty and comfy Oysterflex bracelet. And since this year, the Sky-Dweller gets the option of a Jubilee bracelet on the Oystersteel with a white gold bezel, and the Rolesor (€17.400) variant – come to think of it, THIS version with a white dial is my favorite Sky-Dweller. The Jubilee is €200 more expensive than the robust Oyster bracelet. But the Jubilee is also more lush and lavish than the more solid and sporty Oyster making it an ideal companion for the high-flying, jetset proof Sky-Dweller. If the GMT Master II is Qantas (the safest airline in the world), the Sky-Dweller is Qatar (the best airline in the world). The comparison KLM versus Singapore Airlines also flies with me.
The Sky-Dweller is the flagship that should lead the flotilla
Anyway, now Rolex brought in the bracelet with more links to catch the light, the Sky-Dweller is ready to finally be recognized as the top traveler’s Rolex. The fact that the steel models are now going for double the list price on the gray market could prove my point that the Sky-Dweller is finally taking off. What it doesn’t show is that the Sky-Dweller is not the first Rolex people are looking for. It follows in the wake of a larger fleet that is led by Submariners, Daytona’s, GMT Masters, and Explorers. But as a flagship, it should be leading the Rolex flotilla!
At the basis of the annual calendar lies a mechanism called Saros …
Looking at the Sky-Dwellers capabilities, it should guide the way for the less complicated Rolex models. The annual calendar, that automatically differentiates between 30- and 31-day months, shows the months through an indicator that follows the twelve-hour indexes. At the basis of the annual calendar lies a mechanism called Saros – the Greek term for the 18-year cycle between the sun, earth, and moon – that is integrated in the automatic in-house caliber 9001 with a 72-hour power reserve.
The Sky-Dweller also displays the date (linked to the local time) under a cyclops in iconic Rolex fashion, AND it tells time in two time zones simultaneously. The reference time is shown in 24-hour format via an off-center disc, and the local time uses traditional hands.
Saros and the Ring Command system
That brings us to the coolest part of the Sky-Dweller and also the most innovative one, the Ring Command bezel. The Ring Command system selects the different functions of the watch that are then set by the crown. The bezel allows the wearer to set the date, local time, and reference time. And because the bezel has three different positions, the crown only has one. Works like a breeze, but the mechanism needs around fifty individual parts to operate.
… what is mechanically complex, is pretty straightforward and simple to use …
Just like Saros, the Ring Command bezel is a complicated piece of micro-engineering. But what is mechanically complex, is pretty straightforward and simple to use, and the Rolex watchmakers deserve much more credit than they’re getting. If you’re talking “Submariner” in a bar, you’re talking about the complications of getting one. When you’re talking “Sky-Dweller” you can talk real complications and stay away from the superficial stuff, another bonus this watch brings to the table.
2021 is the year of the Rolex Sky-Dweller
2021 is the year of the Rolex Sky-Dweller. And that’s because the watch now shows its full potential in the steel and Rolesor version with a Jubilee bracelet. Only five years after its introduction in 2012, the Sky-Dweller came out in two Rolesor versions that were more accessible. But even these bi-color models didn’t use the full potential of the complicated watch. Also, the introduction of the rubber Oysterflex on a precious metal case that dropped the price from around 50k for a full gold version, down to 39k, didn’t do much for the watches image to the outside world. It was one of Jay-Z’s favorites, but mere mortals stayed/shied away.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller is the misunderstood genius you need in your life. If you want the perfect mix of status, clever engineering, wearability, and the feeling only a “Rollie” gives you, that is. The steel and Rolesor versions have the same luxurious appeal of the first generation, but take it up a notch. And that’s because of the Jubilee bracelet option that perfectly matches the bezel.
Its innovative Ring Command system and annual calendar represent functional progress.
The fact that it’s a complicated watch is something we should have grown accustomed to by now. Its innovative Ring Command system and annual calendar represent functional progress. And that is something that deserves respect and recognition. Decades from now, a Sky-Dweller could well prove to be an avant-garde milestone in Rolex evolution. The founder of an era of practically usable, future-proof watches that do more than just dwell on the past.
For more information on the different versions of the Sky-Dweller please visit the official Rolex website.
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