Among this year’s new releases for Baselworld 2017, Rolex is introducing some tweaks to the Rolex Sky-Dweller watch with “Rolesor” model options. Introduced in 2012, the Rolex Sky-Dweller only came in precious metals for near or above $40,000. While an all-steel version is still frustratingly unavailable, these two-tone gold and steel models represent a relatively more budget option. It’s a step in the right direction, at least. As even the slightest stir from Rolex is apparently headline-worthy, let’s take the loupe to this 2017 Rolex Sky-Dweller, beginning with the new hands and indexes.

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These new Rolex Sky-Dweller models are characterized by the blocky, rectangular indexes and longer hands. Previous models have all been Roman or Arabic numerals that could even be viewed as quirky in a Rolex context, so this adds a significantly more standard and conservative option to the collection. Further, it will allow Rolex savants to distinguish at a glance, say, an all-white-gold model from a two-tone steel and white gold model. Longer hands, as we saw on the Rolex Explorer last year, are always a welcome improvement to legibility and aesthetic balance.

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Between a few dial color options, these features debut on a range of about six Rolex Sky-Dweller models, with two variations of a “Rolesor” case. If you’ve been living under a rock (or have a life outside of watches), “Rolesor” is Rolex’s special term for a two-tone case, meaning steel and gold. In this release, we are talking about steel plus yellow gold or white gold. Owners, at least, of two-tone steel and white gold models will hopefully know which parts of their expensive Rolex Sky-Dweller watches are which material.

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The new hands and indexes also give a lot more surface for lume (or “Chromalight”) than previous Rolex Sky-Dwellers, and Rolex is emphasizing just how glowy they will be in the dark. Other features of the Rolex Sky-Dweller are mostly carried over from past versions. That includes the cool and useful Ring Command bezel that rotates to different positions and is used in conjunction with the crown to set the various functions that include a 24-hour second time zone and annual calendar. The 42mm case is water-resistance is 100m. The new Rolex Sky-Dweller models come on two-tone, solid link bracelets with Rolex’s handy Easylink extension system that many will be familiar with.

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The Rolex caliber 9001 inside with its antimagnetic Parachrom balance spring and Paraflex shock absorbers is, of course, certified by Rolex’s own stringent tests and guaranteed to be accurate to -2/+2 seconds per day. This is standard across all Rolex watches but still impressive, and you can read more about Rolex’s certification standards here. The 9001 has automatic winding, of course, and gets a power reserve of about 72 hours. The ability to set the functions backward or forward safely is an appreciated feature, and you have to love the clever way of indicating the month – in red, through an aperture on the periphery of the 12 indexes.

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These new Rolex Sky-Dweller models will only broaden the collection’s appeal both thanks to their sensible design and more accessible price. The Rolex Sky-Dweller is Rolex’s “other” GMT watch that is aimed at the gentleman traveler more than the sporty traveler’s Rolex GMT Master watches. It is also notable as Rolex’s most complicated watch. Prices for the Rolex Sky-Dweller Rolesor models start with the steel and white gold reference 326934 models at $14,400, and the steel and yellow gold reference 326933 models, such as the one Rolex is highlighting with the “champagne” dial, are priced at $17,150. Along with hands-on pictures, we’ll be sure to bring you more details soon.

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