Reach for The Sky

Evan Rast provides a handy guide to Rolex’s latest addition to its timepiece arsenal

A fixed red triangle indicates the reference timeIn the world of Rolex watches, the answer to the question, ‘what’s new?’ would often be a rundown of updates in material, display, design, or innovative functions. Completely new models, especially with a combination of never-before-seen dial and movement, are rare – not a surprise given the venerable stable of watches the brand already has on offer. This year however, Rolex decided to push the envelope by presenting an entirely fresh face, with an entirely new movement and complication: the Rolex Sky-Dweller.

A dual-timezone watch created with frequent travellers in mind, the The white gold version features a satin finishSky-Dweller is powered by the new in-house calibre 9001, which has both annual calendar and GMT functions. An intriguing feature of the watch is the Ring Command system, which sets the date, local time and home time through a simple rotation of the fluted bezel in either direction. This is mighty impressive if you ask me, not to mention a smooth move for Rolex, thinking of such an understated yet significant function. Three different positions of the patented bezel allow the crown to have only one setting position – one for date, local time or reference time – achieved through 60 individual components that are connected to the movement.

Local time is displayed with central hands, while the home time is indicated by a red arrow at 12 o’clock that points to an off-centred rotating disc with a 24-hour scale. This disc – you can’t miss it – has been the subject of debate since the watch was released at Baselworld. Aesthetically, some love it, while others think it makes for a very busy dial. Nevertheless, it is this disc that makes the home, or reference time, easily readable.