7 BEST Rolex Sky-Dweller Models of All Time (2024 Updated)
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Best Rolex Sky Dweller Models

7 BEST Rolex Sky-Dweller Models of All Time (2024 Updated)

A generally-accepted trope in the watch world is that Rolex is an innovator. Every time Rolex releases an all-new timepiece, you can rest assured that there will be something uniquely pioneering about that watch. The Sky-Dweller is no exception. In fact, this watch may be Rolex’s most understated flex of the century. 

Defined by its technical ingenuity while still holistically representative of the Rolex style, the Sky-Dweller is at once the Swiss giant’s most complicated movement (next to the Yachtmaster II) and one of its most elegant. Regardless of whether you’re a Rolex person or not, I would assert that by the end of this article, you’ll be, at the very least, moderately fascinated with the idea of a Sky-Dweller on your wrist.

Built For Travel – The Story Of The Sky-Dweller

The Sky-Dweller is a watch that, in many ways, defies categorization. It combines practicality with luxurious design and (insane) mechanical complexity. Yet, it feels somewhat understated, devoid of the extra pushers or bezel-mania that Rolex’s more complex movements usually exhibit. Initially released in 2012, the Sky-Dweller was Rolex’s first all-new watch drop since the Yachtmaster was unveiled 20 years earlier, in 1992. 

Originally only available in precious metals, the newbie was far less accessible than many would have liked, with a price tag representing a breakthrough movement and the 18k gold that encased it. However, in 2017, taking pity on the little man, Rolex introduced two new, mostly-steel versions of the Sky-Dweller, making for a more affordable and practical daily wearer.

Hidden In Plain Sight – A Masterpiece Unraveled

As if one isn’t enough, the Sky-Dweller’s 9001 movement boasts a combination of two complications: a dual-time zone (or GMT function) and an annual calendar. The GMT function allows the wearer to display two different time zones simultaneously on the same watch.

The annual calendar function ensures that the watch automatically adjusts to the correct date for all 30 and 31-day months. This is displayed beneath scratch-resistant sapphire as a red-fill in a small window on the relative hour marker. Design genius, pure and simple. 

Practically speaking, this means you’ll only have to make one manual date adjustment per year. Additionally, the Sky-Dweller’s Ring Command Bezel, first introduced in the Yachtmaster II, adds a wonderfully discreet layer of functionality to the watch.

All of these details create a timepiece that is both practical and luxurious, suitable for world travelers, business professionals, and watch enthusiasts alike. With all that said, let’s have a closer look at the various iterations of the Sky-Dweller.

The Best Rolex Sky-Dwellers

1. Rolex Sky-Dweller 326934 (Bright Blue)

Rolex Sky-Dweller 326934 (Bright Blue)

The entry-level model for the Sky-Dweller is most commonly spotted with a glimmering blue dial and a case crafted from a Rolex’s own Rolesor – a fusion of Oystersteel and 18k white gold (bezel, hands, and hour markers). The result is a clinically classic aesthetic and a much lighter watch than the full-gold models, which are less resilient against daily wear and tear than steel, a factor that should be cherished on a watch this precious. 

The ref. 326934 is available on the standard Oyster bracelet or a jubilee, with the option of a black or white dial, ideal for those who prefer a monochromatic display, such as myself. Speaking of personal preference, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the inverted red triangle above the GMT dial looks by far most attractive when set against the blue face.

2. Rolex Sky-Dweller 326933 (Bright Black)

Rolex Sky-Dweller 326933 (Bright Black)

One of the luxury upgrades to reference 326934 sees yellow gold replacing white gold for the polarising two-tone, ‘Money Never Sleeps’ case finish. With black, white, and champagne dial color options, this one may surprisingly be the most exciting of the Sky-Dweller variations.

The watch’s bezel, winding crown, hands, hour markers, and center links of the bracelet are made of solid 18k yellow gold, bolstering the visual resemblance to the Datejust. It should be said that despite its 42mm diameter, the sloped and fluted bezel gives the watch a lower profile on the wrist, which is somehow more seamless on this two-tone reference.

Finally, the jubilee bracelet adds an understated touch of finesse, complimenting the fluting of the bezel sublimely in its patterning. However, if a jubilee strap isn’t your thing, you’re in luck – the 326933 is available on an Oyster strap, as well as with champagne and white dial options.

3. Rolex Sky-Dweller 326935 (Slate)

Rolex Sky-Dweller 326935 (Slate)

You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that the 326935 was ostensibly released to showcase the beauty of Everose gold, which offers a slightly different hue and luster than traditional rose gold. The metal provides a modern versatility that Rolex has embraced and integrated into their more recent offerings – it’s precious enough to be taken seriously but unusual enough not to feel too stern. 

The Slate dial is likely the most legible of all the colors on offer for the Sky-Dweller, except the more standard (and less exciting) black variant, which is useful at any rate. With this being said, you do have the option to choose a chocolate or white dial for your 326935 should the slate be too easy to read.

The full Everose Sky-Dweller on an Oyster bracelet, featuring a slate dial, retails at $49,350, which is just enough to make your jaw tighten, but not so much that you’d say ‘never happening’. Especially if the rose gold look is your thing.

4. Rolex Sky-Dweller 326938 (Champagne)

Rolex Sky-Dweller 326938 (Champagne)

The first full yellow gold Rolex Sky-Dweller on this list, ref. 326938 is an iconic piece in the collection. As on the aforementioned models, the latest update has replaced alternatives of more complex numerals with riveting luminous batons, enhancing the watch’s visual clarity and legibility in low-light conditions. Honestly, I think the lume looks best up against all of this gold. It just…dances. 

Unsurprisingly, the 326938 serves as an anchor for the collection, alongside the immensely popular 326934. You can’t argue with an all-gold-watch, and with the beloved champagne dial, this one really shines, figuratively and literally. However, if Champagne doesn’t suit, this reference is also available with a bright black or intense white dial. Don’t say Rolex isn’t good to you.

5. Rolex Sky-Dweller 326939

Rolex Sky-Dweller 326939

Released in 2012, the reference 326939 was part of the first trio of Sky-Dweller watches in solid 18k gold. Unlike its siblings, this model is constructed entirely from 18k white gold, giving it a more understated look with all the heft. It features a matching gold Oyster bracelet and was in production until 2018.

When it first came out, Rolex had secured no less than 11 patents relating to the movement of this, their newest watch, so to release it with anything less than a full body of precious metal would have been a disservice to the R&D department, at the very least. 

A notable visual difference between this and later references is the Roman or Arabic numeral variations, as well as the fact that only two dial colors – black and white – are available. It’s a bit more ‘mature’ at face value, thanks to the more commonly found Roman numeral versions, so bear that in mind before buying.

6. Rolex Sky-Dweller 326139

Rolex Sky-Dweller 326139

The reference 326139 shares the same solid 18k white gold case and dial options as the aforementioned 326939 but features a classic leather strap instead of an Oyster bracelet, making this an altogether more casual affair. The leather strap comes with a gold fold-over clasp which adds a touch of weight (and class), and is secured to the case with lug hoods that extend under the bezel to fill the gap between the case and the strap’s edge. 

This touch actually creates the pleasant illusion that the watch sits a bit lower on the wrist. Little things matter, and on a large-wearing 42mm reference, every micrometer counts! As with the 326939, this piece is most commonly available with either Roman or Arabic numerals on a white or black face, although chocolate and gold faces have also been spotted in the wild.

7. Rolex Sky-Dweller 326138

Rolex Sky-Dweller 326138

Rolex’s earliest solid 18k yellow gold iteration of the Sky-Dweller, reference 326138, comes with a leather strap as opposed to the expected yellow gold bracelet. It’s also available in an Everose gold variation, offering a left-of-center alternative for the more adventurous color-blockers among us. 

Like other leather and rubber Oysterflex strap models, this version benefits from lug hoods that merge case and strap seamlessly, creating a more integrated look. If you’re into complicated numerals, you can have them on this reference, but I’d stick with the plain baton indices as they gel so much better with the month display windows.

First Class, Everywhere, All The Time

Let’s call a spade a spade – the Sky-Dweller isn’t an everyman’s watch. It’s somewhat pricey, very complex, and uniquely bold. Furthermore, it’s not a watch without its negatives – a 14 mm thick timepiece will be cause for concern on most wrists, and due to its lug width, it certainly wears slightly larger than 42mm. However, I’m hyper-aware (as you should be) that the concerns of the slim-wristed are largely irrelevant when it comes to the Sky-Dweller. 

To those of you on whom this watch sits comfortably, I say congratulations, particularly if you’re a frequent traveler who can take advantage of its myriad functionalities. If, on top of that, you’re a geek for complicated movements, then there are very few timepieces that are more interesting or exciting than the Sky-Dweller.

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