Did you know that the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller is the most complicated watch that Rolex makes? Let us now discover this remarkably timepiece in three of its many variations.
To be clear, every Rolex watch has been painstakingly fine-tuned and engineered to provide as high performance and as much refinement as possible and, therefore, they all are, in their own right, worthy of the title of “The most complicated.” The Sky-Dweller receives this title because it is the most complex watch in the traditional horological sense: its annual calendar with its clever, unique displays, the GMT second time zone indication, and the way how these rarely combined complications are controlled via the outstanding Ring Commander system render the Sky-Dweller what it is – a truly special piece.
Before we were to indulge in its many details, let us name one more “invisible” complication: the one hiding behind the simplicity in the way how such complex features are delivered, and also the one behind the intuitive nature of how these functions can be read and interacted with. It is easy to make a watch astoundingly complex – but to manufacture a watch that does so while maintaining the aforementioned qualities, now, that is exceedingly difficult.
The Sky-Dweller collection saw a major update in 2017 with the introduction of the Rolesor variants, followed up by 2018’s new dial options launched for the gold versions.
With this little note made, let us now discover the many secrets of the Sky-Dweller.
We mentioned this when bringing the latest GMT-Master II pieces to your kind attention: watches capable of displaying two time zones at once have been living their renaissance lately – and with good reason. There are many ways how a second time zone indication can be useful in one’s everyday life: family, colleagues or work partners may reside in places far, far away, just as much as one might be a frequent traveler who must keep track of the local, as well as the home time. How to set these we’ll look at soon.
There are numerous major differences between the annual calendar of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller and a regular date display. First, the annual calendar, with the exception of February, knows the respective lengths of every month and, when necessary, advances the date display from the 30th to the 1st automatically at the end of the month. This is performed by an entirely, programmable brain, if you like.
Another special aspect of the Sky-Dweller’s calendar system is the way the actual month is indicated. On the very edge of the dial, outside the indices, little, but easy-to-read rectangles change color – one rectangle next to each of the 12 indices represent the twelve months in the year. This beautifully elegant design solution helps one keep track of the months indicated – something especially necessary when adjusting the watch for the first time, when one has to know, which month the system is tracking so that the date can jump correctly when the following month begins.
Naturally, the Cyclops lens above the date is a must-have too: this by-now iconic design element helps one read the date disc – with its numerals done in typical Rolex typography – that much more easily, but not only that, but also witness the instantaneous jump of the display at midnight at the end of every day.
Rolex engineers have linked together all these features via the revolutionary Ring Command system. The Ring Command system refers to how the bezel of the watch can be turned into four distinct steps – without any visual clues given on the exterior of the watch –, hence changing the functionality of the crown. The four steps will allow the wearer the use the crown to wind the watch, to set the main hour hand in one-hour increment jumps (and with it also the date), adjust the GMT display, or adjust all time indications at once, including the minute hand.
The Rolex Caliber 9001 has been fitted with the latest Rolex developments: beyond those discussed above, the 9001 comes with a paramagnetic Parachrom hairspring with Rolex overcoil, a balance wheel with four high-precision Microstella adjustment nuts, as well as high performance Paraflex shock absorbers, an operating frequency of 4 Hertz and 72 hours – i.e. 3 days – of power reserve.
The bracelet, crafted from Oystersteel, a Rolesor combination of Oystersteel and 18ct gold, or solid gold, comes with an Oysterclasp clasp with a 5-millimeter Easylink comfort extension, therefore providing a perfect and perfectly secure fitting of the 42mm wide, 100 meter water resistant case.
In closing, we shall add that the Ring Command system is in reality just as intuitive as the presentation of the Sky-Dweller’s many displays – and we’d be more than happy to present you the exact functioning of this system in our boutique.