Testing the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller. One HD-video and 45 pictures wait to be discovered.

The Sky-Dweller is a sophisticated watch for travellers. Finally it has been delivered to the dealers. This is in fact a good reason to describe and test one and to show you how easy it is to use.

Rolex presented the Sky-Dweller at the “Baselworld 2012”. The reactions from the trade, customers and the specialized press were absolutely positive. Everyone – including me – who had the chance to take a closer look at the watch, liked it.

With more than a half-year delay the Sky-Dweller is finally being delivered around the globe. The first Sky-Dwellers were immediately sold, so I could not get my hands on one for a couple of days to test it for you. I have the Sky-Dweller in hands now and I can affirm it is a great watch. My very first impressions in Basel last March are fully confirmed.

These are main the functions of the Rolex Sky-Dweller:

  • Centre hour, minute and seconds hands, 24-hour display on an off-center disc.
  • Second time zone via independent rapid setting of the hour hand.
  • Instantaneous annual calendar with “Saros”-system and unrestricted bidirectional rapid setting of the date.
  • Month display via 12 apertures around the circumference of the dial.
  • Stop-seconds for precise time setting.

What makes this Rolex so particular is its so-called “Ring Command” Bezel.

It allows the wearer to easily select the watch’s different functions via an innovative, patented interface between the movement and case. The “Ring Command” bezel can be turned to any one of three positions to select the function to be set: date, local time or reference time. The selected function can then be rapidly adjusted in either direction, forwards or backwards, using the winding crown, which has only one setting position. Unlike traditional mechanisms, this interface developed by Rolex allows unrestricted setting at any time.

The clear objective was: KISS – keep it simple and stupid (this is my interpretation and not the official Rolex diction)

The simple and intuitive interface is based on a complex mechanical module that consists of no fewer than 60 components and demands state-of-the-art watchmaking and micromechanical expertise. The heart of the mechanism is a double cam and levers that engage various gear trains inside the movement according to the function selected. Pulling out the winding crown activates one of these cams; the other is driven by rotating the bezel to activate setting wheels located in the middle case of the watch.

For travellers: The dual time zone and the 24-hour display

Travellers can read the reference time – the time at home or at their usual place of work – via a rotating off-centre disc visible on the dial. A fixed inverted red triangle points to the wearer’s chosen reference time. The disc’s 24-hour display allows travellers to clearly distinguish daytime hours from nighttime hours in the reference time zone; for example, 10 p. m. versus 10 a. m. Local time at the destination is indicated by the conventional center hour, minute and seconds hands. It can be set very quickly and easily thanks to a mechanism that allows the hour hand to be adjusted independently in one-hour increments both forwards and backwards, so that changing the local hour does not affect the minute or seconds hands or the reference time. The date change is linked to local time and occurs within a few milliseconds at midnight. Thus, the date displayed in the aperture is always the current date in the wearer’s local time zone.

The “Saros” annual calendar

The annual calendar automatically differentiates between 30-day and 31-day months. It displays the correct date throughout the year and requires only one adjustment a year – on 1st March, February having only 28 or 29 days. The ingenuity of the “Saros” system developed in-house by Rolex lies in its simple and systematic handling of the irregular occurrence of 30 and 31-day months. This intelligent mechanism is based on only two gear ratios and four gear wheels added to the traditional Rolex instantaneous date calendar. Such simplicity ensures peerless robustness and reliability for the annual calendar function. The gear ratio between the satellite wheel and the planetary wheel is calculated in such a way that at the end of each 30-day month – and only in these months – one of the satellite’s fingers receives an additional impulse from the date change mechanism. This makes the calendar disc jump two days (from the 30th to the 1st) within a few milliseconds to display the correct date. The months of the year are indicated in 12 discreet apertures around the circumference of the dial, outside the hour markers: January at 1 o’clock, February at 2 o’clock, and so on. The current month is identified in a contrasting (white) color.

9001 – the Sky-Dweller´s reliable engine

The Rolex calibre 9001, with a power reserve of 72 hours, is a certified Swiss chronometer, tested by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). It is entirely developed and manufactured in-house, with a total of 380 components and backed by seven patents. The oscillator beats at a frequency of 28,800 beats/hour (4 Hz). The paramagnetic blue Rolex “Parachrom”-hairspring has a Breguet overcoil. The large balance wheel with variable inertia is regulating via four gold Rolex “Microstella” nuts. A traversing balance bridge and the Rolex “Paraflex” shock absorbers protect the oscillator.

The Sky-Dweller´s case you see on my pictures is made out of 18 carat “Everose” gold. This a Rolex own gold alloy. The 42 mm case is waterproof up to 100 meters or 330 feet.

The Rolex Sky-Dweller shown here cost 32.250 Euros including 20 % VAT.

 

Please enjoy my HD-video! Your will then understand how simple it is to manipulate a Sky-Dweller.

 

 

This is a collection of photographs I took of the Sky-Dweller. I think you should now be able to discover the watch in different viewing angels. But please note that the entire case of the Sky-Dweller was protected with thin plastics to avoid scratching it. Since this Sky-Dweller is not mine and brand new I could of course not take of theses transparent plastics.

Please do also take a closer look at the various security features of the Sky-Dweller. For instance the engraved Rolex-logo in the crystal at “6 o´clock” and the multiple engraved word Rolex in the flange.

 

To discover all the details I tried to photograph please click on the pictures to enlarge them …

 

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I checked the Sky-Dweller on my electronic measuring equipment that measures the rate accuracy, the amplitude and the beat error of mechanical watches. It´s a device watchmakers use either to regulate a watch or to check its accuracy.

The Sky-Dweller performed extremely well. To be honest I did not expect anything else then that. Rolex has been investing a lot of money in testing and testing all its watches. On top the movement of the Sky-Dweller was tested and certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).

The different photographs I took show the various positions in which I checked the accuracy of the Sky-Dweller. Horizontal and vertical positions, dial up and down, crown left and right, whatever you did the Sky-Dweller always performed as it should.

 

To discover the details please click on the photos to enlarge them …

 

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To see the accuracy of the Sky-Dweller in the different positions look at the display of the electronic measuring equipment. You will see that the Rolex always showed a small deviation to plus and never tending to minus. This deviation shown is per day. Yes, these are seconds per day! If you now compare these one, two or four seconds to the 86.400 of one day you will be able to calculate that this watch reaches an accuracy of 99,99… % or almost 100 %.

 

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This is the seal with which Rolex delivers its watches when they are tested by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). Almost all the wristwatches manufactured by Rolex are official certified Chronometers.

 

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9 Comments

  1. graham sell says:

    I think the sky dweller is a great watch , i had my first rolex at 14 years old it was a submariner it took 2 years to save up for it ,i had a morning and evening paper round ,i am 61 now i still love most watches i just love time pieces they literally fascinate me , you would term me as being slightly eccentric , but the point i am making every one person he or she will see some thing beautiful in all different styles of watches.Im currently debating weather or not to save up for a gold gmt master or wait and get a sky dweller if your wondering what i do for a job im a full time guitar teacher hope you enjoyed my point of view.graham.

    • Graham, I would go for the GMT Master. This is an iconic watch, part of the Swiss watchmaking history and/or heritage. I am not sure if the Sky Dweller will ever make it there … Alexander

  2. pemeriksaan HbA1c says:

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  3. novemberalpha says:

    It seems that Rolex is yet to iron out a few glitches in the setting mechanism the 24hr disc rotate a few degrees while setting the second time zone & the seconds hand didn’t stop while in the time setting till the crown was pulled out slightly can’t say its due to handling or its meant to be like that I would have like the 24hr disc in center rather than its offset placement over lapping the roman numerals.

  4. Adam says:

    I wish Rolex would get rid of the ugly and unnecessary cyclops date, yes it’s a signature Rolex feature but it is so outdated and looks at its worst with this particular design, which has a dial that is crowded enough already. Cyclops always looks like a crystal pimple to me!

    • P.J.Kirkhorn says:

      I tend to agree with Adam,but i do like the magnafication of the cyclops.Rolex could make it inverted but then the watch would have to be thicker,i’ll live with the cyclops,how much will the watch cost me.

  5. Debashish says:

    Well I don’t know about others, but I just love Rolex Watches and I think they are the best by far!

  6. John says:

    Although I do not hold the high tech production facilities against Rolex your point is understood. I do like the module from a technological aspect which is the only part hat apeals to me.

    For me the choice is made simple by the fact that Sky-Dewller’s dial and bezel design are less that attractive.

    I apologize if I sound critical… Just being honest.

  7. Alex says:

    Thanks for the detailed review. Although it is an innovative new movement, I respectfully disagree that this is the best travelers watch there is. OK I admit that the annual calendar feature is a nice add-on, but I still prefer the Patek’s 5130, because it is not only easier to handle, but gives you a better overview of all the different time zones.

    What worries me a bit is how the crown moved when you pulled it out. That did not look sturdy to me!

    Now every one has a choice of course. Which is yours? A brand that industrially produces 1 Mio watches a year, or one that does about 60’000 pcs with the highest possible manual finish. The first comes with an annual calender, the latter not, both cost about the same.

    Looking forward to other readers opinion!

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