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Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch: New Gold Colors Hands-On

Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch: New Gold Colors Hands-On Hands-On

Back in 2012, Rolex released a rare brand new model with the Sky-Dweller timepiece family (debuted here). I say “rare” because it is not common for Rolex to release a totally new family of timepieces – with also a new name. The Rolex Sky-Dweller is also among the most complicated modern Rolex watches, because it contains a movement that combines both a GMT indicator as well as an annual calendar (it tracks both the date as well as the month, so you only need to adjust the date on those years where February does not have 28 days).

Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch: New Gold Colors Hands-On Hands-On

From a technical perspective, the in-house made Rolex calibre 9001 automatic movement is rather cool. As with the chronograph movement inside of Yacht-Master II models, this movement features a unique system were the bezel is used to help adjust the watch. The way it works is pretty cool, because the watch only has one crown and no pushers, the bezel is turned either to the left or to the right to assist with with adjusting the various functions. It works surprisingly well and is part of the complicated mystique of the Rolex Sky-Dweller, among the rare “complicated” Rolex watches. Of course, Rolex could make more complicated watches if they wanted to, but given the efficiency machine that they are, they do so sparingly, because complicated movements take a lot more care to assemble without issue.

Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch: New Gold Colors Hands-On Hands-On

What also makes the Rolex Sky-Dweller unique is the case size. At 42mm wide, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is among just a few “larger” Rolex watches, with the Explorer II 42mm and, once again, the Yachtmaster II. If you are used to 42mm wide watches, expect the Rolex Sky-Dweller to wear rather big given the widely spaced lugs. It wears a lot more like a 44mm wide watch, for sure. Of course, it comes with an Oyster-style case with has that distinctive popular Rolex look and 100 meters of water resistance.

Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch: New Gold Colors Hands-On Hands-On

When Rolex debuted the Rolex Sky-Dweller, it only came in gold – but in 18k yellow, rose (Everose), and white gold. For 2014, Rolex doubled the collection from three to six watches. There still aren’t any new material options, but there are new dial styles (which are those models represented in this article), as well as new options for straps or bracelets. You’ll notice that Rolex offers certain dial versions of the Rolex Sky-Dweller on a strap and other dial versions on matching 18k gold bracelets.

Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch: New Gold Colors Hands-On Hands-On

If you like the look of the fluted Rolex bezel, then you’ll more than likely love the look of the Rolex Sky-Dweller. The precision milled and polished cases are immaculate, and detailing is intensely lovely. There is, of course, the “controversial” element of the Rolex Sky-Dweller, which is the dial design – something that people love or don’t. I’ve never felt that the Rolex Sky-Dweller was an overly beautiful design, but I’ve since come to really respect it for its functional elements. The real issues for most people are the “open” GMT dial, as well as the skeletonized hands. The integration of the annual calendar continues to be clever as the month indicator is actually a window on the outside of the the respectively numbered hour indicator. Thus, a window filled in at 2 o’clock would mean it was February. The window filled in at 6 o’clock would be June, etc…


Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch: New Gold Colors Hands-On Hands-On Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch: New Gold Colors Hands-On Hands-On

This, of course, is in combination with the traditional date window which once again has been fitted with a magnifier crystal over it on the sapphire crystal. While Rolex does have the GMT-Master II and the Explorer II as their major GMT watches, the Rolex Sky-Dweller does it a little bit differently, offering yet another GMT watch, but with an indicator disc versus a hand. The design of this disc has proved a bit controversial but remains effective. For some fun, we played around with various alternations to the Rolex Sky-Dweller for a Watch Watch-If here. Taken as a whole, the open GMT disc is integrated about as well as one could hope, with a beveled edge window and a nice circular design that uniquely adds to the composition of the watch. Instant classic? Perhaps not, but it is certainly Rolex.

Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch: New Gold Colors Hands-On Hands-On

My favorite of the newer Rolex Sky-Dweller models is the reference 326139 in 18k white gold with a black dial. The GMT disc is silvered and the entire dial is rather legible. The red accents add a nicely sporty look, and this version of the Rolex Sky-Dweller comes on a matching black strap. It feels very unique in the pantheon of Rolex designs and is quite handsome.

Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch: New Gold Colors Hands-On Hands-On Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch: New Gold Colors Hands-On Hands-On

Also new is the Rolex Sky-Dweller reference 326138 in 18k yellow gold with silver dial and brown leather strap. There is a richness to colors which is interesting and separates this from the existing yellow gold Rolex Sky-Dweller that comes with a matching dial and yellow gold bracelet. The final new version of the Rolex Sky-Dweller to add to the original three is the reference 326935 in 18k Everose gold with the “sundust” dial paired to an Everose bracelet.

Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch: New Gold Colors Hands-On Hands-On

The original crop of Rolex Sky-Dweller watches did have an Everose model, but it came on a strap with a deep colored dial. People wanted one on a bracelet with a more neutral color that matches the case – and this is it. This is the most classically “Rolex” of the Rolex Sky-Dweller watches, in my opinion – well, next to the Rolex Sky-Dweller reference 326938, which is the 18k yellow gold version with matching bracelet and “champagne dial.”

Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch: New Gold Colors Hands-On Hands-On

The Rolex Sky-Dweller remains one of the interesting acquired tastes of the Rolex world toward the top-end of the brand (without including precious stones). If you are looking for a cool movement, large wearing size, and distinct sense of Rolex class, there aren’t too many other ways to go. Prices for these Rolex Sky-Dweller watches are $38,150 (18k yellow gold on a strap), $39,550 (18k white gold on a strap), and $48,850 (18k Everose on the bracelet).

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  • I love this watch for so many reasons…
    Annual calendar function, second time zone function, water resistance, crown activated adjustments with bezel locks for specific functions, month indicator around dial corresponding with numbered months and wrist presence.
    This watch beats so many ACs out there in that it has the added, useful (for me) second time zone and month-date that can go backwards/forward for travel adjustment without mucking everything up. Sure it doesn’t have the day of the week, but I can live without that.
    It ain’t cheap, but then again it’s less costly than a PP AC, more rugged (AFAI can tell) and so innovative!
    I sure hope Rolex has more interesting new thrills up their sleeves this year at Basel World…can’t wait to see!
    This is for sure on the “bucket list” and, like you Ariel, the WG/BLK dial is what I’m leaning towards BUT I also like the RG/Chocolate dial version on strap too.

  • Ulysses31

    I just find it quite ugly to look at.  Really would choose pretty much any other Rolex over this.  The pie-crust fluted bezel, the weird filled-in lugs on some models, the gaudy gold, the cyclops – it’s a perfect storm of design elements I dislike.  The huge off-centre cut-out on the dial just kills it.  Yes, I know it is all part of the design and that is the way the functionality is implemented, but while clever from an engineering standpoint, it just doesn’t look nice at all.  If any die-hard fanatic vehemently disagrees (Rolex seem to have a lot of these), feel free to get in line and pick a lesser timepiece to lob at me.  I’d go for the Invictas, they really hurt on impact.  Crap quality, but dang yo, they heavy.

  • DG Cayse

    Ahh…the Rolex Sky-Dweller.
    Continuing in the Rolex vein, it is a bit much…for some.

  • ganguli12345

    I love this watch!!!

  • ZL

    These always strike me as the type of thing that Smaug would be sitting on along with gold goblets and jewel-encrusted daggers. There’s something over-the-top and even slightly out-of-touch about them to me, but I don’t really love or hate them. Actually, the earlier one with the chocolate dial kind of does it for me aesthetically – not that I would probably choose it to wear myself from among other options in the same price range.

  • iamcalledryan

    It’s cool, would love to see them throw the month indicator complication onto a sub or a master II. I love the black dial.

  • mrsagansay

    i would to have one of it rolex

  • Jimxxx

    shame rolex doesn’t make a black dial with white gold bracelet… maybe for 2016?

  • shinytoys

    Winner, and still reigning board room champ! The Rolex ladies and gentleman!

    I think that Rolex is making strides in updating an already beautiful watch. The Sky Dweller, Yachtmaster, both beautifully and meticulously orchestrated. The President and the Daytona, or how about a Submariner. I would never walk away from a Date-Just with a Champagne Sparkle face finish from the eighties.   

    People that own these machines aren’t really interested in how many fakes there are out there. Most of these folks only own one watch. 

    To them, and myself, there is only one “Rolex”. The only gold standard that in many ways is a pure bargain from a price point of view compared to other “pie in the sky” priced manufacturers. And still what many other “also rans” are, and will be compared to until the end of, dare I say, “Time”.

  • shinytoys

    Chaz_Hen Dig it!

  • Bladeknight Bleu

    That prices are absolutely overrated.

  • DavidasaurusRex

    That black dial one is pretty darn gorgeous. 

    I’ll admit, when the watch was announced a couple years ago, I thought it was the ugliest thing I had seen. Once I got a chance to try one on, I couldn’t wipe the grin from my face. It is a nice piece.

  • hartwagle

    My biggest problem with the design of this watch is the amount of writing on it. That inner dial is all words, “Sky-Dweller, Oyster Perpetual, Superlative Chronometer, Officially Certified.” It totally dominated the watch in my opinion. It seems another example of Rolex stating, “We are the watch for people who want to declare exactly how much status this watch will transfer onto you.” They certainly know their market.

  • bichondaddy

    Although I could never afford one  ( although I keep hoping my Powerball numbers will hit ) I kind of like the Sky-Dweller in yellow gold with the brown strap.  It’s not the Yachtmaster II…which I would love to own because of the unique movement….but…I wouldn’t toss it in the nearest lake, like I thought about doing when I had my Sub back in the late 1980’s.

  • nickyb66

    Great review Ariel, thanks for this. The Rolex in gold with brown leather strap does it for me.

  • VAG

    Nearly as ugly as a Hublot.

  • If there ever is a steel version that looks much like the white gold one, it might be a Rolex I might consider, as long as the cyclop may be deleted and an exhibition back added.  No?  Then I pass.

  • Time2Go

    So much wasted space on that dial.  There’s room for at least 4 or 5 more lines of text, or at least more “ROLEXROLEXROLEX…”

  • sasnak

    Ok…here is the deal, all you previous posters can get together and have 50,000 (watch plus postage) of your dearest friends send me $1.00.
    I would buy the Everose, I really like the Roman numerals and the gold is stunning.

  • Jimxxx

    We don’t have friends. We are watch nerds

  • Good old Rolex. Looking so elegant and clean… Anyone oppose? Rose Gold is making huge comebacks!

    The Watch Guy

  • 5803822

    Black dial white gold – the first Rolex to convert me to the brand…. brilliant.

  • graham3

    Rose Gold, Chocolate Dial, Arabic Numerals..Never really thought Rolex was hot, Rolex is hot.

  • spiceballs

    Jimxxx even greater shame they make one in steel or dare I suggest, Ti?

  • MID

    I can respect the watchmaking of this new movement with its complications.  But I don’t like the watch.

  • JoelSchumann

    Disappointing – Rolex didn’t do the job here; there is still a tiny bit of space left on that dial that they could use for some diamonds or a couple more superlatives. It needs some blue, too!

  • VM1960

    I find their fluted bezels ostentatious and I can’t get over the retarded magnifier over the date. Add to that the amount of text they feel they have to put on their watches and I’m afraid that Rolex is basically not my cup of tea at all. In my mind they’re the Louis Vuitton handbag of watches; expensive, arguably of high quality, but lacking in any real imagination and only serving the purpose of screaming to others that the wearer can afford one. Boring.

  • hautejalapeno


  • Rushwarp

    This is an absolutely fugly watch…..But…..
    For some inexplicable reason, and against my better instincts, I really do like the white gold black dial version!

  • I’d buy this watch only if (i) I could take the cyclops out of it; (ii) if the price was 1/3 of this 40k tag

  • Fraser Petrick

    This poor-as-a-country-church-mouse-inverted-watch snob is appalled at this Rolex. After years of cultivating an image mystique that commands thousands of dollars for those who “know names, not watches”, for salesmen-of-the month, for real estate brokers who pull up their sleeves slightly so that potential customers will assume they’re successful, Rolex is playing fast and loose with its reputation. So there!

  • marbstiu

    hautejalapeno  FUGLY for most…until rolex announces a stop-production

  • rffarney

    Beautiful design, but way, way too much lettering on the face…only detracts from the watch.

  • Olivia Nugent

    This was very helpful – trying to separate genuine from aftermarket. Thanks.

  • Howard

    The price is a reflection 1. the price of gold and 2. demand. I have had 4 rolexes including a super president I purchased new in 2006 for $12000. That watch has gone up almost 3 fold in less than ten years. My current is the latest GMT Master II Batman SS) and IMO, this watch is simply incredible. I’d get one in a heartbeat.

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