I have admittedly been on a Rolex kick for some time now, but frankly they offer a lot to talk about. This particular piece also happens to be one to dream about. New for Rolex is the moderately complicated Sky-Dweller, I have heard about this one for a little while and had the opportunity to play with one recently, and it is fascinating. The properly titled Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller is Rolex’s new flagship watch. I am not sure of the origin of the name Sky-Dweller, but it definitely sits above most of their line up. With a completely new calibre 9001 movement, the Sky dweller does more than your average watch.
The 9001 Rolex movement is a beautiful machine with 14 different patents on its technology. A self-winding mechanical movement developed entirely by Rolex, was introduced in 2012. It is one of the most complex calibers that Rolex has ever created. It is engineered, however, to be simple to use. Showing on the dial all at the same time are; the time, GMT time, date, and month. It is also rather intuitive to set all of these complications. Turning the fluted bezel engages a selector wheel on the edge of the 9001 movement to adjust the Sky-Dweller’s functions. The bezel is rotated to one of three positions to select the date, local time or GMT time, and can then be quickly set in either direction using the crown.
The Sky-Dweller comes in three iterations; the 18 karat white gold on bracelet with a white dial, yellow gold on bracelet with a matching dial, and my favorite the Everose gold with a chocolate dial and leather strap. The white and yellow are on oyster bracelets with the regal looking polished center links. All three are 42 mm in size with an oyster case crafted from a solid block of 18 karat gold with rotatable fluted bezels, and sapphire crystals. the white gold version features a roman numeral dial with arabic numbers on the reference wheel, while the others two us arabic numbers in both locations.
When the Rolex Oyster was introduced in 1926, it featured a fluted bezel used to screw onto the case to ensure the waterproofness of the watch. It was then identical to the fluting on the case back which was also screwed down, using a specific Rolex case tool. With the advancement in watch design the fluting no longer was necessary, but became a purely aesthetic element. Now available only in 18 karat yellow, Everose or white gold on Datejust and Day-Date models, and now on the Sky-Dweller, where it has regained its functionality to allow easy interaction with the complicated caliber 9001.
Taking design cues from their rich history and technology from their ever advancing watchmaking prowess, Rolex has joined these feats into a really incredible timepiece. It is beautiful, simple and remarkable all at the same time. Unfortunately, as I said this watch is the stuff dreams are made of as it is priced well above its contemporaries. At 35-40 thousand dollars (depending on the model) it is well worth it, but will sadly, likely not make it into my collection. As each year passes Rolex holds on to their traditions and designs, and yet some how continues to get better and better. What they do know for sure is how to be swell.
(images courtesy of rolex.com)
- Rolex Explorer II (howtobeswell.com)
- Rolex Air King (howtobeswell.com)
- Rolex 50th Anniversary Daytona (howtobeswell.com)