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  1. cvalue13

    cvalue13 Dec 28, 2019

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    Loved thumbing through this sub-forum, then wondered (and searched) whether the Sky-Dweller has ever been chatted over. To my surprise (or poor search skills?), no such chat.

    So, thought I’d throw the Sky Dweller to the wolves:

    In terms of interesting watches AND interesting complications, the Sky-Dweller is worth noodling. It is the most complicated watch made by Rolex, while at the same time being unique in how the user “interacts” with the watch’s functions.

    The main thing of note: the “Ring Command Bezel.” In terms of both mechanical geekery and also watch-romance, the Ring Command Bezel blew me away. At first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it reminded me of.

    Before explaining the bezel, though, let me briefly mention the two main complications controlled by the “Ring Command Bezel.” Both present are an annual calendar and GMT complication, and each a touch interesting in their own right.

    The presentation of the annual calendar function: because there are both 12 hour markers on the dial and also 12 months in the year, the month indication is presented in the tiny windows above the hour markers; the numerical position of the red month marker correlates to the numerical month of the year.

    Also somewhat uniquely (and controversially) presented is the GMT function: a 24hr ring offset just below dial center indicates home time.

    These two complications aside, there is arguably a third complication in the Sky-Dweller: the “Ring Command Bezel.” The watch’s fluted bezel is the mechanism by which all of the watch’s functions are controlled. The crown itself has only a single “activated” position once unscrewed, freeing the Ring Command Bezel to do its thing - twisting to three different positions to engage command of the three different functions (home/GMT time, local time, and annual calendar).

    With the bezel turned about 100 degrees full left (to an in-built stopping point), the crown will now set the home time. Next, another slight twist of the bezel clockwise (back about 15 degrees) and it will nestle into a new “thump” position, from where the crown will now set local time. Twist the bezel clockwise a third time, another satisfying “thump” will land the bezel in a third position allowing the crown to set the date and month. (A final clockwise twist of the bezel will bring it to its full right, neutral, stopping point.)

    The Ring Command Bezel requires 60-something extra parts in the watch, but it is both as easy to use and as mechanically satisfying as ... I eventually realized what the sensation reminded me of ... shifting a Hurst 4-speed gated transmission.

    Typically, an annual calendar+GMT watch can require a fleet of pushers and headstands (and a paperclip) to get things all set up. The Ring Command Bezel gives an alternative approach only presented in the Sky-Dweller, and it’s an incredibly satisfying alternative - I’ve not handled a mechanical watch control system that feels remotely as satisfying to interact with. Go play with one at an AD just to tinker with the Ring Command Bezel. (And if you have a chance, see it in SS - the precious metal ones are for me a hard pass, but the bezel will still be worth playing with.)

    I’d love to hear about other watches that both offered an alternative way to interact with its machinery, and still felt so decidedly “mechanical.”

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  2. funkright

    funkright Dec 28, 2019

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    The only Rolex I’ll ever own. It at least has a compelling reason, the complications you’ve reviewed, vs just a ‘me too’ aspiration.
     
    cvalue13 likes this.
  3. stevec14

    stevec14 Dec 28, 2019

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    The sky D is my favourite of the 6 digits. Love it. I had A. TT one for about 3 weeks and loved the watch but the gold was too much.

    In SS I think they are terrific. Black would be the perfect one and only.
     
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  4. Xtof

    Xtof Dec 28, 2019

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    Having started to enjoy watches in the early 2000s, I have become more and more a vintage guy as time goes by ... But I can still find interest in modern watches in some cases and that is what happened with the sky-dweller.

    A modern complication, executed in a very smart and qualitative way. A relatively big watch but where the design principle "form follows function" is respected.

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    If the dials of the first gold models were not well balanced with the use of numerals, this was corrected with the introduction of the steel models.

    At the end, IMHO, it is one of the most attractive and interesting watches recently introduced.
     
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