Rolex Sky-Dweller History

An image of two Rolex Sky Dweller watches inside a wooden case

The Rolex catalogue is an extensive and varied curation of the finest timepieces in the industry. Offering classic and contemporary designs featuring various colours and complications, the brand prides itself on creating timeless luxury watches coveted by watch collectors worldwide. Whether you’re looking for a simple, clean style to wear every day or a modern design with impressive complications, Rolex is guaranteed to have an option suitable for your needs. 

The Rolex Sky-Dweller is the youngest watch in the brand’s catalogue. It is also the most modern, designed to embrace more up-to-date technology without being tied to a historical model. While there is currently only one generation of the Sky-Dweller, several metal variations have been showcased at the Baselworld show since the watch first launched. 

This guide will explore the history of this iconic watch, from its introduction to its most notable updates. Read on to learn more about one of Rolex’s most innovative and advanced watches.


  1. When was the Rolex Sky-Dweller introduced?
  2. Evolution of the Rolex Sky-Dweller

2.1. 2012

2.2. 2014

2.3. 2017

When was the Rolex Sky-Dweller introduced?

The Sky-Dweller debuted in 2012 as the first entirely new model released by Rolex in 20 years. The most recent model before this was the Yacht-Master II, which was introduced in 2007. The new timepiece featured a striking aesthetic, showcasing a large 42mm Oyster case similar to Rolex’s range of sports watches, such as the Explorer II or Yacht Master 42. However, its design differs greatly from these models’ robust, intricate exteriors. The Sky-Dweller offers a more sophisticated, cleaner look, making it an excellent occasion watch and suitable for daily wear.

The Sky-Dweller goes far beyond time telling, as it has the second most advanced calendar functionality found in a watch. It can recognise the months with 30 and 31 days in them and automatically adjusts itself without any action from the wearer. It only needs to be adjusted for daylight savings and leap years, as it doesn’t recognise these.

This GMT Rolex watch can keep track of two different time zones, making it the perfect travel companion. It is suited to frequent fliers that enjoy the finer things in life, as its 24-hr disc is designed to display a reference time, while its centre hands show the local time. Its ultra-modern configuration features a Ring Command bezel that allows the wearer to adjust the date, reference time and local time from the winding crown. It links directly to its Caliber 9001 movement, created specifically for this watch.

Evolution of the Rolex Sky-Dweller


When the Sky-Dweller was first introduced, it was considered to be mechanically impressive due to its innovative annual calendar and dual time zones. These features required the watch to have a unique layout, which saw the local time indicated by the dial via the centre hands and the reference time displayed by a red arrow pointing to a 24-hour disc on the dial. The date was displayed through a window at 3 o’clock and the month by small rectangular windows next to the hour markers, creating an interesting and detailed layout. The first models were available in yellow gold and white gold with matching Oyster bracelets and Everose gold, which featured a brown leather strap.

While the Sky-Dweller is considered the most modern Rolex, it still displays some of the more traditional features from the older generation of watches. An example is the scratchproof sapphire crystal protecting the dial, which showcases the familiar Cyclops date and magnification lens. These additions highlight that while Rolex has begun to pursue new ideas, the brand still values its original timepieces.


2014 was an important year for the Sky-Dweller, as Rolex unveiled three more models –  yellow gold with a leather strap, white gold with a leather strap and Everose gold with a matching Oyster bracelet. Like the first three, they were all made in 18k gold, offering a beautiful, luxurious aesthetic. While the new models were similar to the originals, customers could choose between several additional features. Rolex introduced updated dial design options in various colours, with the option of Roman numerals or numeral hour markers. These new additions meant the Sky-Dweller appealed to a wider audience.


Rolex made the most recent changes to the Sky-Dweller in 2017, which saw the launch of its steel and two-tone models. These new designs decreased the entry price point of the watch significantly, making it more accessible to those who aspired to own one. 

The first new option was the two-tone stainless steel and yellow gold Sky-Dweller, the Yellow Rolesor. With a stainless steel case, a yellow winding crown, a yellow fluted command bezel, and the iconic Oyster bracelet featuring external steel links and yellow gold centre links, its design was exquisitely striking.

The second option was the White Rolesor – a stainless steel Sky-Dweller with an elegant white gold fluted command ring bezel. Due to its limited use of white gold, it is one of the most affordable watches in the collection. However, the designs made using cheaper materials aren’t always priced as such, so it’s important to research the type you want. The stainless steel Sky-Dwellers are among the most sought-after watches in the Rolex catalogue, which has led prices in the secondary market to increase dramatically. 

Many of the Sky-Dweller models released over the years are available today. While their designs may differ, the main details remain the same, from the 42mm case to the Caliber 9001 movement. The white gold Sky-Dweller is the only model discontinued after a short production run that led up to 2018. As one of the most complicated watches in the Rolex catalogue, it’s one that every watch enthusiast needs in their collection.

At Miltons Diamonds, we pride ourselves on providing our customers with an extensive range of preloved Rolex Watches. We offer an exquisite selection of Rolex Sky-Dweller watches for you to choose from. Explore our collection today to learn more about this modern timepiece and choose a design to suit your taste.


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