THE ROLEX SKY-DWELLER
The Rolex Sky-Dweller was the most talked about watch at Basel back in 2012. It was the first new watch from Rolex in 20 years, and it is the very first to feature a true complication – an innovative annual calendar with dual time zones – in more than a generation.
The Sky-Dweller is a distinctive technological masterpiece, it provides the information global travellers need to keep track of time at a glance. The Sky-Dweller is a beautiful watch, with revolutionary design that blends to perfection mechanical sophistication and ease of use.
The Sky-Dweller is a dual time zone watch and also an annual calendar. So how does the Sky-Dweller do this?
The First Annual Calendar by Rolex
A GMT function is one thing, Rolex has been doing that since the 1950’s, but unlike other Rolex models, the Sky-Dweller features a real complication.
The annual calendar inside the Sky-Dweller is based on a mechanism called SAROS. Only two gear ratios and four gear wheels were added to the traditional Rolex date calendar system to make for a full annual calendar. Called SAROS after the Greek term for the 18 year cycle between the sun, earth, and moon that is responsible for both lunar and solar eclipses, the Sky-Dweller’s annual calendar mechanism is designed around a fixed planetary gear wheel ( the sun) at the centre of the movement.
A satellite wheel (aka the earth) engages the planetary wheel in one month, driven by the date disc. The satellite wheel (the moon) is fitted with four fingers, for the four 30-day months (April, June, September, and November).
At the end of each 30-day month, one of the satellite’s finger receives an extra impulse from the date-change mechanism, which causes the date to jump two days with in a few milliseconds. The month is indicated via a small rectangular aperture on the outside of the hour track, with January being representing by 1 o’clock, February by 2 o’clock, etc.
“SIMPLICITY IS THE ULTIMATE SOPHISTICATION”
Reference Time vs Local Time
Sitting below 12 o’clock on the dial of the Sky-Dweller is a small red arrow. This arrow points towards an off-centred rotating disc on which sits a 24-hour scale. This arrow and ring indicate your reference time, which could be for example your home time.
The local time on the Sky-Dweller is displayed via the center hands, though it is set via a bi-directional jump-hour mechanism that does not affect the seconds, minutes, or reference time.
The date is connected to the local time and that changes within just a few milliseconds at midnight. Rolex wanted to make an easy to read, two-time zone watch that looked great and, that’s exactly what they did.
The Bezel of all Bezels
Another fascinating trait of the Sky-Dweller is it bezel-operated control ring.
Called RING COMMAND, it is the bezel that allows the wearer to set the date, local time, and reference time, all from the crown. There in fact three different positions on the rotating, fluted bezel, and that allows the crown to have only one setting position.
This patented bezel control ring consists of 60 individual components, the heart of which is a double cam and levels that engage the various gear trains inside the movement.
With the fluted nature of the bezel, few would have any idea that the bezel has been turned to set the date, local, or reference time respectively. This is incredibly clever, and arguably the most impressive attribute of the Sky-Dweller.
The Caliber 9001
The 9001 is the most complex Rolex caliber made today, and one of the most complex ever made by the brand.
It is, of course, completely COSC certified , with a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour, a parachrom hairspring, paraflex shock absorbers, and large variable inertia balance wheel. The power reserve of the caliber 9001 is an impressive 72 hours.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller comes in three different configurations. All are sized at 42mm, a 100m water resistant Oyster case, and a synthetic, scratch-resistant crystal with cyclops date window.
Here at Edinburgh Watch Company we have just taken in a stunning January 2018 unworn UK supplied stainless steel Sky-dweller that is still in all of its Rolex protective seals, we’re always on the look-out for Sky-Dweller’s so please don’t forget to check our Collection regularly.
Launched at Basel 2017 this was a very much welcomed addition to the Sky-dweller range. With the looks of a precious metal watch but instead substantially less this we feel is an excellent value watch especially considering its complicated functions for the world traveller.