Rolex is usually very conservative and rarely releases a new collection, most of the models in production you can find their ancestors in the 1950s, however, the Sky-Dweller is the youngest Rolex collection, with less than 10 years of history. Not only is it one of Rolex’s largest watches, it’s also one of its most complicated, with the gold and steel model 326933 being an underrated prospect.
The Replica Sky-Dweller made its debut at Baselworld 2012 as the first new Rolex collection in 20 years. It’s no surprise then that there was a lot of buzz surrounding the release of the Sky-Dweller, which comes with a large 42mm Oyster case, but it’s clearly not a sports watch like the Submariner. Rather, the Sky-Dweller is another watch with an annual calendar complication – for a long time, the chronograph was the ceiling for Rolex complications, and now that ceiling has been shattered.
For years, Rolex has used this strategy when releasing new models: first, they release a gold version and possibly a platinum version, followed by a gold and steel model (the Rolesor), with the all-steel option coming last.
Rolex launched three Sky-Dweller models in 2012: all in precious metals, the gold-shelled yellow gold chain model 326938, the white gold-shelled white gold chain model 326939 (discontinued in 2018), and the pink gold belt model 326135.
Two years after the initial launch of the Sky-Dweller, Rolex introduced three new models in 2014. Like the first three editions, these models are available in 18-karat gold: the gold belt model 326138, the white gold belt model 326139 (discontinued in 2018), and the rose gold shell and chain model 326935; each gold material is now available in both gold chain and belt options. New dial design options have also been added in a variety of colours, with either Roman numerals or Arabic numeral hour markers. Given that the Sky-Dweller was initially only available in 18-karat gold, it is one of Rolex’s most expensive watch collections.
In 2017, Rolex introduced two Sky-Dweller models in new materials, which significantly lowered the entry price of the Sky-Dweller. One is the 326934 in steel with steel case and white gold rings, and the other is the 326933 in gold steel, which makes the Sky-Dweller the most affordable in the entire range as much less gold is used. However, the stainless steel Sky-Dweller is also by far the most popular (especially the blue-faced steel model), which has caused its price on the secondary market to skyrocket. In contrast, the 326933 stands out for its value for money!
The longitudinal navigator made of gold and stainless steel remains the iconic look of Rolex watches and carries on well with the unique vibe of the Sky-Dweller. Like other Sky-Dweller models, the 326933 comes with a wide 42mm Oyster case that is larger than the average Rolex. The stainless steel case is adorned with the signature gold fluted bezel and matching gold Twinlock crown. In addition, the famous Oyster bracelet is also available in a combination of a gold central link and a stainless steel external link. The Oyster bracelet is fitted with an Easylink 5 mm comfort extension that allows the bracelet to be extended without tools.
The dial is where the Sky-Dweller really shows off its functionality, one of the most complicated contemporary Rolex watches to date, combining dual time zone and annual calendar functions. With the help of an off-centered 24-hour disc, the wearer can keep track of other time zones, and can display the date through a window at 3 o’clock, designed for frequent travelers, the idea being that the 24-hour disc shows home time while the central hand shows local time. In addition, as an annual calendar, the Sky-Dweller is able to distinguish between 30/31 days for small and large months, requiring only one manual adjustment per year on March 1.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller is now available in black, white and champagne in gold and steel. The hour markers have been replaced with luminescent rectangular bars instead of the previous non-illuminated Arabic and Roman numerals. In addition, the central hands are longer and more readable.
Even more impressively, the fluted bezel at the top of the Sky-Dweller case is not just a DJ or DD decoration, but a Ring Command bezel simplified, as turning it gives the wearer the option of adjusting the date, local time or home time from the winding crown. Complex to build, but easy to use. Balancing style and extreme functionality – two pillars of the Rolex philosophy. One of the strengths of the Rolex Sky – Dweller is that Rolex enters the complex timepiece with a clean appearance and a very personal approach.
There is a sea of annual calendars, but mostly in the traditional way, with a few small recessed buttons on the side to adjust the annual calendar function. The Sky-Dweller’s revolutionary bezel and movement combination means that there is no need for any additional hidden buttons on the side of the case, which would spoil the look of their watch, which is an incredible achievement.
The Rolex Sky-Dweller complexity is powered by the Calibre 9001, a mechanical automatic annual calendar movement manufactured by Rolex itself with seven patents. 9001 has a power reserve of 72 hours. Accuracy is -2 / + 2 seconds per day. That’s twice as much as the COSC standard requires!
Larger than other Replica Rolex dress watches and more complicated than most Rolex professional watches, the Sky-Dweller is a modern Rolex watch through and through. Perfect for frequent travelers, especially those who love top luxury watches. Surprisingly, the gold and steel model 326933, despite its inclusion of precious metals and top complications, costs just over half the price of similar models from top brands (such as the Blancpain Villeret Annual Calendar GMT), making it one of the true bargains in the Rolex product range.