The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 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 Oyster Perpetual 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 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller 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 …
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. Horizontal and vertical positions, dial up and down, crown left and right, whatever you did the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller always performed as it should.
To discover the details please click on the photos to enlarge them …
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 %.
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.