Luxury watches that are pushing watchmaking innovation
2 Oct 2020
Taking Flight With The
Rolex Oyster Perpetual
Reasons why the Rolex Sky-Dweller cruises at a different altitude
Why fly business when you can opt for first class? That seems to be the message that Rolex is sending with the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller. A travel companion beyond compare, the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller is simply one of the best upgrades you can pamper yourself with when it comes to two-time zone watches.
Introduced in 2012, the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller is an intelligently engineered and lavishly clad watch that’s unlike any on the market today. A dual-time zone and annual calendar timepiece that is extraordinarily easy to use, its technical brilliance and regal presence is on display again this year with the new Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller Ref. 326238.
The new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller
The latest member of the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller family is arguably its sportiest looking yet. Housed in a resplendent 18 ct yellow gold Oyster case, the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller oozes gravitas and vigour, the lustrous gold sheen contrasting beautifully with a bright black sunray-finish dial.
This year, the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller showcases a sporty new look with an Oysterflex bracelet, Rolex’s proprietary creation that moulds high-tech elastomer over flexible metal blades made from a titanium and nickel alloy. Purported to be highly durable and comfortable, the Oysterflex bracelet features for the first time on the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller, and the combination certainly contributes to the watch’s fresh, casual dynamism.
Regardless of the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller’s finery, which sees it encased this year in a variety of precious metal including yellow Rolesor, 18 ct yellow and Everose gold, the watch remains at heart a high-performance timepiece conceived for practical use. In fact, the collection’s aesthetic evolution, buoyed by steadfast technical merits, has only served to accentuate its exemplary functionality.
Besides regular time-telling, the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller is equipped with two additional displays: a second-time zone and an annual calendar. While the combination of these features isn’t new, Rolex takes things to the next level by enriching the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller with intuitive functionality and the brand’s signature touches of luxury.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller Ref. 326933 from 2017 in yellow Rolesor
Close-up details on the second time zone indicator
Designed with legibility as the utmost priority, the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller displays the main hour and minute as usual. At the middle of the dial, an off-centred 24-hour disc with an arrow poised at 12 o’clock denotes the second time zone. This unusual configuration does away with the standard additional hour hand that most two-time zone watches deploy.
Elsewhere, there’s one tiny window each at the tip of the 12 baton hour markers, of which one would be in a contrasting colour to indicate which month it is. (January at one o’clock, February at two o’clock, and so on.) Completing the list of sublime design touches is the iconic Cyclops lens at three o’clock that magnifies the date display and adds to the signature Rolex look.
Month indicator at the tip of the baton hour markers
Intuitive And Robust Performance
At the heart of the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller’s mechanical sophistication – one that boasts 14 patents – is the self-winding calibre 9001. A COSC-certified movement comprising 380 parts, calibre 9001 features Rolex’s best innovations such as high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers and blue Parachrom hairspring, alongside the aforementioned dual-time and annual calendar complications.
Like a tireless worker that always goes unnoticed, the calibre 9001’s annual calendar system, which Rolex christens Saros, after the astronomical phenomenon of the same name, performs substantial mechanical calculations quietly and efficiently. The movement automatically differentiates between 30- and 31-day months, and requires adjustment only once a year, on 1 March, as the preceding month of February has only 28 or 29 days.
Although the annual calendar function isn’t new, the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller’s Saros system is novel. Inspired by the orbiting movements of the Sun, Earth and Moon, the annual calendar complication features a system of planetary gear wheel and satellite wheels, as well as new gearing mechanisms that are added to Rolex’s traditional instantaneous date calendar system. The Saros system not only intelligently calculates the differences between the months, but it also displays them almost instantaneously within a few milliseconds of each date change. Most of all, it ensures that the movement stays robust and reliable, despite the intricate mechanical manoeuvres.
While all that we have been doing is to look under the hood, Rolex has also done an amazing job of translating the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller’s epic inner workings into truly intuitive and wieldy functionality.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller Ref. 326934 from 2017
Tying everything up neatly on the watch is an innovative feature known as the Ring Command bezel. A rotatable, fluted component that circles the dial, the Ring Command bezel lets the user adjust the date, local time or reference time simply by turning it, either forwards or backwards, along with simple adjustments on the winding crown. This is made possible by a patented interface that allows the watch’s movement to be engaged with the case.
The Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller is billed as the most complex watch that Rolex has ever produced. That may be true, but more impressive than that is how Rolex has distilled the watch’s progressive mechanical spirit into possibly one of the most unique and user-friendly travel companions that money can buy. Now that you know, who’s ready for take-off?
Discover more on the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller collection.