Rolex watches have been long associated with traveling to the deepest depth of the sea, or the highest point on earth creating special designs and functions that make a Rolex functional out in the elements or in a boardroom. The Rolex SkyDweller is one such watch being the company’s most complicated wristwatch incorporating technologies that add to the long list of Rolex patents. Inasmuch as the Rolex DeepSea SeaDweller possesses technologies that make it function at depths lower than the Titanic, the Rolex SkyDweller utilizes technologies that make for easy timezone changes and perpetual calendar for worldwide travel.
The Rolex SkyDweller is a perpetual calendar accounting for 30 and 31 day months automatically and tracks two timezones in a stately 42mm case available only in 18ct white, yellow, or Everose gold. At first glance, the SkyDweller appears to be a larger DateJust, but upon quick examination the watch face and fluted bezel are entirely different. The SkyDweller bezel is slightly wider than a traditional DateJust or Day-Date bezel because of Ring Command, an ingenious method for controlling the internal functions of the watch.
The departure from a DateJust watch face is an inverted red triangle just below 12:00 o’clock indicator. The triangle marks the home time on a separate 24-hour subdial wheel. This wheel acts as a constant home time indicator while the traditional independently adjustable 12-hour hand acts as local time. The 12-hour easily adjusts utilizing a combination of the winding crown and the Ring Command bezel while traveling among timezones. Very subtly on surrounding edge of the dial just inside of the chapter ring are the month indicators. Rather than building a separate register for the month, Rolex ingeniously utilizes the 12 hour markers as a month indicator. Making all these features are packed in a new 380 component Rolex Caliber 9001 that comes complete with seven new patents.
The Ring Command bezel is completely easy to use. The bezel controls three settings by simply rotating the bezel to the left (counterclockwise). Turning the bezel once to the left adjusts the date and month by turning the winding crown. Turning the bezel to the second setting controls the independently adjusting 12-hour hand to local time, also used in tandem with the winding crown. Utilizing the winding crown and turning the bezel once more to the third position sets the reference time/24-hour center disk to reference time.
The annual calendar mechanism Rolex calls SAROS, an allusion to the astronomical phenomenon of the same name. SAROS controls and changes the calendar automatically differentiating between 30 and 31 day months. SAROS requires only one adjustment each year on 1 March, following a 28 day month of February. SAROS is said to be product of incredible mathematics, yet mechanically is incredibly simple. SAROS utilizes two gear ratios and four gear wheels attached to the date wheel mechanism such that the date instantaneously adjusts to 30 or 31 days. Rolex Magazine #3 available at Fourtané contains a great illustration depicting how SAROS works.
The Rolex Caliber 9001 movement utilizes the newer Parallax shock absorbers patented by Rolex and found only on newer Rolex models, is self-winding, COSC certified chronometer (see other Fourtané articles regarding COSC), water resistant to 100M, and has a 72-hour power reserve. Rolex has made another very desirable wristwatch creating functions that other brands only wished they devised themselves.
– Sheldon Smith