Rolex Sky Dweller Buying Guide

Rolex Sky-Dweller in Oystersteel and 18k White Gold

Introduced in 2012, the Rolex Sky-Dweller was a trailblazer in every way. It was Rolex’s first entirely new watch in two decades; and also Rolex’s first ever annual calendar complication. Created for globe travelers and jet-setters, Rolex truly reached for the skies with the Sky-Dweller.

Today, it is still the most complicated watch that Rolex offers; and remains one of its top-of-the-line offerings. For those same reasons, it’s not very much discussed like Rolex’s tool watches but it has certainly become much more approachable over the years.


Here’s a simplified guide to the Rolex Sky-Dweller collection.


Rolex Sky-Dweller in 18k Yellow, Everose and White Gold
Rolex Sky-Dweller in 18k Yellow, Everose and White Gold



The Rolex Sky-Dweller sent the watch world abuzz when it was launched in Baselworld 2012. Rarely does Rolex create an entirely new watch, much less one as complicated as the Sky-Dweller. With its dual time functionality, many fans expected a sturdier take on the Rolex GMT-Master; instead, it shared the sleek and elegant lines of the Rolex Day-Date, with Rolex’s first ever annual calendar to boot.

The Sky-Dweller comes in a 42mm Oyster case (with a water resistance of 100 meters), topped with a fluted bezel and sapphire crystal. On the dial are dual time displays, a date window and a month indicator, arranged in what many consider to be a busy dial but one that works really well, as we’ll explain later.



Rolex Sky-Dweller in Oystersteel and 18k White Gold
Rolex Sky-Dweller in Oystersteel and 18k White Gold



When it was first introduced it also came exclusively in 18k yellow, white, and Everose gold, thus having a premium price that one would expect from a solid gold Rolex. It also came with a choice of either Arabic or Roman numeral hour markers, driving home a more formal look.

In 2017, Rolex added two-tone options – steel and 18k white or yellow gold – making the Sky-Dweller more approachable. Rolex also introduced luminous baton hour markers for the line, giving it a more contemporary aesthetic.

Over the years, there have been many configuration possibilities. The 18k Everose model is available with chocolate, rhodium, and white dials; while the 18k yellow gold model has been offered with white, black, silver, and champagne dials.

The Rolesor steel and 18k white gold models come in versatile black, white, and blue dials; with the blue dial model being the most popular in the entire Sky-Dweller collection.



Rolex Sky-Dweller in Oystersteel and 18k Yellow Gold
Rolex Sky-Dweller in Oystersteel and 18k Yellow Gold



Aesthetics aside, what makes the Sky-Dweller ingenious is its easy to read design. It displays two time zones at the same time, with the local time and date in the standard Rolex format. On the dial center is a 24-hour disc which tells the wearer’s chosen reference time, indicated by an inverted red triangle just below the Rolex logo.

The calendar month is indicated through the apertures located just above the hour markers, where the current month is designated by a red marker. There’s a lot of information delivered, but the execution doesn’t crowd the dial.

In what is arguably the coolest thing about the Sky-Dweller, these functions are controlled by the Ring Command Bezel. The fluted bezel more than just looks good – it also allows the wearer to to set the date, local time, and reference time, while being a straightforward addition to the watch.



Rolex Sky-Dweller Caliber 9100
Rolex Sky-Dweller Caliber 9100



With the entirely new model came Rolex’s most complicated movement yet – the Caliber 9001. With seven patents on the movement alone, it is of course COSC certified, with a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour, a parachrom hairspring, paraflex shock absorbers and a power reserve of 72 hours. Even with the complicated annual calendar and Ring Command system, these features make the Caliber 9001 as robust as a Rolex movement can get.



The Rolex Sky-Dweller with Oyster, Oysterflex, and Jubilee bracelets
The Rolex Sky-Dweller with Oyster, Oysterflex, and Jubilee bracelets


The Sky-Dweller was originally offered with the choice of a three-piece Oyster bracelet or a leather strap.

In 2020, the Oysterflex, Rolex’s patented rubber bracelet was incorporated into the Sky-Dweller collection. Only the 18k Everose and yellow gold models were given the Oysterflex touch for a sport-luxe treatment. Made up of flexible metal blades in titanium and nickel, which are molded into high-performance black elastomer, the Oysterflex provides the resilience of a metal bracelet with the flexibility and comfort of a rubber strap.

Just this year, the Sky-Dweller was also given the option of a Jubilee bracelet on the Rolesor steel and 18k white or yellow gold models. The iconic five-piece bracelet is considered a dressier alternative to the Oyster bracelet, thus giving the steel models an added air of luxury.



With its classic good looks, exceptional functionality, and now wider range of designs, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is on its way to becoming a Rolex classic.





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