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How to Use the Rolex Sky-Dweller

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First introduced in 2012, the Rolex Sky-Dweller is relatively new to the Rolex watch family. Even still, it has made quite a name for itself amongst collectors and fans of luxury watch brands, given its shorter history. Especially in comparison to Rolex’s other revered models, some of which have been around for more than half a century. In fact, the Sky-Dweller didn’t take long to shoot up in popularity and is widely recognized today as the ultimate luxury watch for world travelers. Its official launching almost a decade ago caused quite a stir within the watch community, as it had been a while since Rolex had released a new model – especially one that introduced such unmatched innovation in both design and functionality.

Let's learn How to Use the Rolex Sky-Dweller

To date, the Sky-Dweller is dubbed Rolex’s “most complicated watch”. In addition to its GMT function, the Sky-Dweller famously introduced the brand’s first-ever Ring Command system – which enables the use of “Saros”, the annual calendar complication that adjusts itself automatically to each month of the year and only needs to be manually wound once a year. With such a complex and intricate aesthetic paired with its highly technical functionality, the Sky-Dweller may even intimidate some off just first impression. Thus, we have compiled the following simple how-to guide for using the Sky-Dweller – for first-time users, or for anybody in need of a refresher course.

Understanding the Many Complexities of the Rolex Sky-Dweller

As Rolex’s most complicated watch, there are functions and features of the Sky-Dweller that may not be easy to decipher off first glance. So, let’s first break down the many unique complications that make the Sky-Dweller as elaborate as it is.

As on most other watches, the center hands in the middle of the dial – hour, minute, and seconds – indicate the local time in your current time zone.

Perhaps the most distinguishing feature on the Sky-Dweller is the 24-hour disc in the center of the dial, although it’s technically off-centered. This 24-hour disc acts to indicate the second time zone – the reference time of another time zone, or your “home time” (the current time back home).

As on other Rolex watches with the date function, there is a Cyclops date window at 3 o’clock. This window magnifies the current date by 2.5x for optimal legibility when checking the date at a quick glance.

Around the circumference of the dial are 12 small apertures, one next to each hour marker. These are the month indicators for the Sky-Dweller’s annual calendar feature, “Saros”. Each aperture represents a month of the year based on the number of the hour, which is indicated by another color (usually red) when it is that particular month. For example, if the aperture next to the 8 o’clock marker shows up red (or a different color than the rest), it means it is the 8th month of August. This impressive annual calendar feature automatically adjusts for the number of days per month, only needing to be adjusted once per year on March 1st – after February, the only month of the year that doesn’t have either 30 or 31 days.

Starting by setting the time.

How to Use the Rolex Sky-Dweller: Bezel Positions and Functions

First thing to note when setting the Sky-Dweller is the different positions of the Ring Command rotatable bezel, all of which serve a different function. To adjust from position to position, turn the bezel in the counterclockwise direction.

  • Position 0 – Starting position. No settings can be adjusted when the bezel is in this position.
  • Position 1 – Sets the month and date. Turn the bezel counterclockwise from 12 o’clock to to between 10 and 11 o’clock.
  • Position 2 – Sets the local time. Turn the bezel counterclockwise from 12 o’clock to between 9 and 10 o’clock.
  • Position 3 – Sets the reference time, or “home time”. Turn the bezel counterclockwise from 12 o’clock to between 8 and 9 o’clock.

Adjust the bezel as needed.

How to Use the Rolex Sky-Dweller: Setting the Month and Date

  1. To set the month and date, first unscrew the winding crown and pull it out of the case one notch.
  2. Turn the bezel to Position 1.
  3. To set the month, turn the winding crown in either direction until you reach the correct month – which will be indicated in a small aperture around the circumference of the dial by each hour marker (1 = January, 2 = February, 3 = March, etc.). The aperture indicating the correct month will be in a different color (usually red) than the other apertures.
  4. To set the date, turn the winding crown in either direction until you reach the correct date – which will be indicated in the Cyclops date window at 3 o’clock.
  5. When finished adjusting the correct month and date, turn the bezel back to Position 0.
  6. Push the winding crown back down against the case and screw it down to secure in place.

Set your time once every year.

How to Use the Rolex Sky-Dweller: Setting the Reference Time

The reference time or “home time” reads the time of the time zone either back home or elsewhere – wherever you choose to be your reference time. Note: when setting the reference time, the hour hand that shows the local time will also readjust accordingly – which is why the reference time should be set before the local time is set.

  1. To set the reference time, first unscrew the winding crown and pull it out of the case one notch.
  2. Turn the bezel to Position 3.
  3. To set the reference time, turn the winding crown in either direction to set the 24-hour center disc to the correct hour.
  4. Turn the winding crown to also adjust the minute hand if needed.
  5. When finished adjusting the correct reference time, turn the bezel back to Position 0.
  6. Push the winding crown back down against the case and screw it down to secure in place.

How to Use the Rolex Sky-Dweller is easy.

How to Use the Rolex Sky-Dweller: Setting the Local Time

The local time reads the time of the current time zone you are in. Again, make sure you have set the reference time prior to setting the local time.

  1. To set the local time, first unscrew the winding crown and pull it out of the case one notch.
  2. Turn the bezel to Position 2.
  3. To set the local time, turn the winding crown in either direction to adjust the hour hand to the correct hour.
  4. Note: the date will also adjust accordingly in this setting whenever the hour hand passes midnight – if winding in the clockwise direction only.
  5. When finished adjusting the correct local time, turn the bezel back to Position 0.
  6. Push the winding crown back down against the case and screw it down to secure in place.

When finished adjusting all settings on the watch – month, date, reference time, and local time – be sure to push the winding crown back down against the case and fully screw down to secure into place. This will ensure the watch remains water resistant to protect your Sky-Dweller from any possible water damage or other damage to the inside of the watch.

The Sky-Dweller is one of the newest collections and incredibly helpful.

Sky High Quality

Created with impeccable attention to detail, the Rolex Sky-Dweller embodies the utmost elegance and luxury mixed with rugged functionality. As such, the Rolex Sky-Dweller soars above the rest in both quality and price. It’s noteworthy that the first Sky-Dwellers were only made in solid gold, which put them out of the financial reach of many.

The collection has since evolved to include models made of different metal materials and combinations. Such models are available in two-tone Yellow Rolesor, a combination of stainless steel and 18ct yellow gold, such as the Sky-Dweller ref. 326933 which comes available in a variety of dial colors including white, champagne, and black. Also available are models made of White Rolesor, like the Sky-Dweller 326934, which are made entirely of stainless steel and fitted with a white gold bezel. And as of April 2021, both of these Sky-Dweller references are now available with the option of a stunning Jubilee bracelet as well as the classic Oyster bracelet.

These variations of two-tone and steel models of the Sky-Dweller gave the collection a broader appeal as it was now accessible for more collectors and fans of the model. Over the years, the Sky-Dweller has seen a series of style upgrades that appeal to more people as well. For instance, the 2020 releases of the Sky-Dweller came with a flashy new look – fitted with the new sporty Oysterflex bracelet as well as new materials and dial colors to choose from. These new additions come in either 18k yellow gold with a black, white, or champagne sunray-finish dial on the Sky-Dweller ref. 326238, or in Everose gold with either a chocolate, white, or slate dial on the Sky-Dweller ref. 326235. Most notably, the new Sky-Dweller now comes with a stylish new Oysterflex bracelet – making it the first of Rolex’s Classic timepieces to be made with this innovative new feature.

As one of the more expensive watches made by Rolex, a brand already recognized for exemplifying pure luxury, the Sky-Dweller has a lot of impressive features to offer, and much bang for its tens of thousands of bucks.

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