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The ultimate guide to Rolex Sky-Dweller

With such sophisticated technology built into its design and a striking aesthetic that has become instantly recognisable amongst avid Rolex watch-collecting circles, it is hard to believe that the Rolex Sky-Dweller is only around a decade old.

A GMT function and annual calendar

Its design is tied to no other model to have reigned before it, enabling this tool watch to sit in a genre of its own. It is one of the manufacturer’s most advanced models in its catalogue. In many ways, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is classified as the ultimate traveller’s companion. It combines a GMT function with an annual calendar complication and despite several models joining and leaving the collection during its short ten years, the Sky-Dweller has undergone several small updates and upgrades along the way.

Legible design

There are so many features to enjoy about the Rolex Sky-Dweller watch. So, whether you’re investing in your first model for travel purposes or seeking out its clean, legible design for accompanying you with everyday tasks - this complete guide to the Sky-Dweller series will provide you with everything you need to know about growing or beginning your own collection. This article includes a brief overview of the Sky-Dweller’s history, some current models belonging to Rolex’s catalogue, and a run-down of its key features. To start, here are some quick facts about the travel-friendly, functional and highly reliable Rolex Sky-Dweller watch.

Skydweller: quick takes

The Rolex Sky-Dweller watch was first launched in 2012 and measures a 42mm diameter.

There are models manufactured from Yellow Rolesor (18ct yellow gold and stainless steel), full 18ct yellow, white or Everose gold version, and a white Rolesor option (stainless steel and 18ct white gold). Multiple dial options are available throughout the Sky-Dweller series, as well as ring command bezels that are fluted and crafted from solid 18ct gold.

Function-wise, this Rolex watch offers running seconds, main minutes and hours, a date display, a GMT function, a month indicator, and an annual calendar function.

A sapphire crystal glass front protects the surface of the several different dial options of the Sky-Dweller watch and is integrated with layers of anti-reflective technology as well as a cyclops lens positioned above the date feature at 3 o’clock. The 100-meter water-resistant travel tool is fitted on an Oyster bracelet, a Jubilee bracelet or an Oysterflex bracelet, whilst leather band options have now been discontinued. You can expect to pay anywhere between $14,000 and $49,000 for a pre-owned Rolex Sky-Dweller and anywhere in the region between $22,000 and $70,000 for a new one.

A brief history of the Rolex Sky-Dweller

The first Rolex Sky-Dweller watch launched in the year 2012 and was considered the brand’s first brand-new design since the 1992 release of the Yacht-Master watch. Its release sparked plenty of buzz, but surprisingly didn’t receive the instant success it was expected to. The watch had an eye-watering entry price point and a busy-looking dial compared to the brand’s other sports watches such as the Submariner, Daytona, and GMT-Master and instead, provided a much dressier option, paired with a useful annual calendar function. Advantage-wise, however, it was technically sophisticated. On the part of the wearer, it required only one adjustment per year, whilst throughout the remainder of the year, the watch would automatically adjust to correct the date. The Sky-Dweller was Rolex’s first annual calendar timepiece but also came equipped with an innovative GMT function as well.

Back in 2012, Rolex produced three versions of the Sky-Dweller. These were; a yellow gold case with a matching yellow gold Oyster bracelet (ref: 326938), a white gold case with a matching white gold Oyster bracelet (ref: 326939), and an Everose gold case with a brown leather strap (ref: 326135), which has since been discontinued.

Our Pick

Rolex Sky Dweller

Reference: 326135

Case/Dial: 42mm Rose gold, Chocolate
10 bar (100 metres / 330 feet)

Movement: 9001, Self-winding

Functions: Date, Calendar, Moon phase, Annual calendar, 72h power reserve

Style: Dress

Rolex Sky Dweller

Reference: 326939

Case/Dial: 42mm White gold, Black
10 bar (100 metres / 330 feet)

Movement: 9001, Self-winding

Functions: Date, Calendar, Moon phase, Annual calendar, 72h power reserve

Style: Dress

Rolex Sky Dweller

Reference: 326938

Case/Dial: 42mm Yellow gold, Black
10 bar (100 metres / 330 feet)

Movement: 9001, Self-winding

Functions: Date, Calendar, Moon phase, Annual calendar, 72h power reserve

Style: Dress

Two years later, three further models were released. A yellow gold Sky-Dweller watch with a leather strap (ref; 326138), a white gold Sky-Dweller with a leather strap (ref: 326139), and an Everose gold version with a matching Everose Oyster bracelet (ref: 326935). It came with different dial options, as well as Roman numeral iterations.

Our Pick

Sky Dweller 326138

Reference: 326138

Case/Dial: 42mm Yellow gold, White
10 bar (100 metres / 330 feet)

Movement: 9001, Self-winding

Functions: Date, Calendar, Annual calendar, 72h power reserve

Strap: Leather

Style: Dress

Sky Dweller 326139

Reference: 326139

Case/Dial: 42mm White gold, Black
10 bar (100 metres / 330 feet)

Movement: 9001, Self-winding

Functions: Date, Calendar, Annual calendar, 72h power reserve

Strap: Leather

Style: Dress

Sky Dweller 326935

Reference: 326935

Case/Dial: 42mm Rose gold, Chocolate
10 bar (100 metres / 330 feet)

Movement: 9001, Self-winding

Functions: Date, Calendar, Month, Annual calendar, 72h power reserve

Strap: Leather

Style: Dress

Everose is Rolex’s proprietary rose gold alloy and features throughout various other collections within the brand’s current catalogue.

Finally, dropping its entry price point significantly, 2017 marked the year that Rolex developed the otherwise highly expensive model in a more affordable stainless steel option with a striking 18ct yellow gold fluted bezel (ref: 326933). This mix of materials is known as the Rolesor variation and features a yellow gold crown and a bi-colour bracelet featuring steel outer links and yellow gold inner links. The White Rolesor option (ref: 326934) became another popular option, similar in design to the Yellow Rolesor version only swapping the yellow gold for 18ct white gold. This option remains the most affordable of all models within the collection.

Our Pick

Sky Dweller 326933-001

Reference: 326933-001

Case/Dial: 42mm Steel and Gold, Champagne
10 bar (100 metres / 330 feet)

Movement: 9001, Self-winding

Functions: Date, Calendar, Month, Annual calendar, 72h power reserve

Strap: Steel and Gold

Style: Dress

Sky Dweller 326934

Reference: 326934

Case/Dial: 42mm Steel and White Gold, White
10 bar (100 metres / 330 feet)

Movement: 9001, Self-winding

Functions: Date, Calendar, Month, Annual calendar, 72h power reserve

Strap: Steel

Style: Dress

Current Rolex Sky-Dweller watches

The Rolex Sky-Dweller reference: 326934

Due to the discontinuation of several earlier Rolex Sky-Dweller watches, the collection is one of the least expansive of all. Some of the brand’s current models include the Sky-Dweller reference 326934 with a handsome blue dial and a clean and classic-looking case achieved by combining stainless steel with an 18ct white gold fluted bezel.

For a more monochromatic display, the model is available with a black dial or a white dial with the hands, bezel and hour markers crafted from 18ct white gold. Lighter in weight but more robust than the all-gold options, this iteration is preferred as a daily beater, pairing well with a myriad of different attires throughout the week.

Sky-Dweller reference 326933

The Rolex Sky-Dweller 326933 is available in three different dial colours (champagne, black and white) and sees the white gold bezel and dial elements replaced by yellow gold. Like other Yellow Rolesor models, however, the crown and central links are also forged from 18ct yellow gold.

Similar in many ways to the Datejust, but larger in size with its 42mm diameter, this Yellow Rolesor Sky-Dweller watch creates wrist presence, whilst its sloped fluted bezel is a preferred choice for many since it sits more discreetly on the wrist.

Our Pick

Sky Dweller 326933-001

Reference: 326933-001

Case/Dial: 42mm Steel and Gold, Champagne
10 bar (100 metres / 330 feet)

Movement: 9001, Self-winding

Functions: Date, Calendar, Month, Annual calendar, 72h power reserve

Strap: Steel and Gold

Style: Dress

Sky Dweller 326933-002

Reference: 326933-002

Case/Dial: 42mm Steel and Gold, Black
10 bar (100 metres / 330 feet)

Movement: 9001, Self-winding

Functions: Date, Calendar, Month, Annual calendar, 72h power reserve

Strap: Steel and Gold

Style: Dress

Sky Dweller 326933-0009

Reference: 326933-0009

Case/Dial: 42mm Steel and Gold, White
10 bar (100 metres / 330 feet)

Movement: 9001, Self-winding

Functions: Date, Calendar, Month, Annual calendar, 72h power reserve

Strap: Steel and Gold

Style: Dress

Sky-Dweller reference 326238

Another model from the Sky-Dweller family sees the yellow gold Oyster bracelet replaced with the brand’s innovative Oysterflex bracelet.

The sporty-looking black elastomer strap is patented by Rolex and attaches to the watch case and the Oysterclasp by a flexible titanium and nickel alloy metal blade. Inside of the Oysterflex bracelet is a patented longitudinal cushion system that stabilizes the watch on the wrist The bracelet is fitted with an 18ct yellow gold Oysterclasp fasten, along with a Rolex Glidelock extension system.

Sky-Dweller reference 326935

The Rolex Sky-Dweller reference 326935 is crafted from Everose and fitted on a matching Everose Oyster bracelet. Paired with its smoky dial, it is one of the brand’s more unusual offerings, appealing to those collectors in search of something different compared to the classic and traditional-looking yellow gold option.

. As with all other models, it offers 100-meter water resistance, a screw-down crown and a Twinlock double waterproofness system.

Sky-Dweller reference: 326235

Similar to the Sky-Dweller 18ct yellow gold option, this Everose version is offered on an Oysterflex bracelet too.

Although higher priced than the brand’s Rolesor versions, this Everose Sky-Dweller watch on an Oysterflex bracelet is still a more affordable version compared to its full Everose Oyster bracelet counterpart.

Sky-Dweller Key features

Calibre 9001

Whether purchasing a Sky-Dweller watch for travel purposes or not, its superior technology will come in handy for utilising it as part of daily life too. Firstly, its Calibre 9001 movement is fitted with a Parachrom hairspring for resistance to magnetic fields and temperature fluctuations, as well as promising improved accuracy. Its shock-absorbing infrastructure and impressive 72-hour power reserve make it an ideal option for those who frequently alternate their Rolex watches depending on the event in question.

Ring command bezel

Its ring command bezel is yet another appealing feature. Enabling the wearer to select the winding crown function and shift through options to set the local time (jumping in one-hour increments), reference time (the 24-hour disc), or the date and month feature - the solid 18ct gold Ring Command bezel on every Sky-Dweller watch is both a luxurious and functional tool to enjoy using.

Annual Calendar Option

Adding to the functionality of the popular Sky-Dweller watch is the added ease of an annual calendar option that only needs adjusting by the wearer once a year. The screw-down crown of the Sky-Dweller only has one setting position, making for a remarkably simple process once activated through the Ring Command bezel.

Also, each month is conveniently highlighted in red at each of the hour markers around the hour track. One key advantage supporting why a Rolex Sky-Dweller makes such a practical and solid investment is how its dial has been designed for the easy digesting of information easily and at a glance. Today, with a modest selection of dial colour options and case materials to choose from, the Rolex Sky-Dweller watch is certainly getting the attention it has always deserved.

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