Rolex Sky-Dweller 326938
he Ring Command. Caliber 9001. The Sky-Dweller. Could be vintage copy for a 1950s space adventure, but it's not. It is in fact a partial description of the most complicated watch Rolex has presented in fifty-odd years, and it absolutely set tongues wagging when it debuted at the 2012 Baselworld Fair, which is saying something. Speculation is always high before a Fair but this was something else entirely. Presented exclusively in white gold, yellow gold or Everose, (Rolex's patented rose gold alloy) under the respective new reference numbers 326939, 326938 and 326935, the 42mm Sky-Dweller is an animal unto itself - an Annual Calendar/GMT. Rolex enthusiasts can be forgiven for being caught off-guard, while the Crown was known for complicated chronographs and calendar watches from the 1930s - 1950s production since then has focused on tool watches and simple luxury pieces. A watch that displays the date, month and a second timezone via a 24-scale is something special. The Sky-Dweller of course isn't the only watch with this complication, for instance Blancpain and Patek Philippe have similar pieces, but it's the only one that looks like it would survive a fall down a set of seventeen concrete stairs. The polished Oyster case is thick but the lines are beautiful and when you hear how innovative the movement and functionality are the brawniness becomes absolutely appropriate. The Sky-Dweller is perhaps the most aspirational traveler's watch available today because Rolex has gone through extraordinary measures to develop and patent a brand new automatic caliber, the 9001, to make this watch as simple as 1-2-3, literally. Unscrew and pull out the crown, turn the fluted Ring Command bezel counterclockwise once and use the crown to quickset the date and by extension the month, which is ingeniously indicated in unassuming apertures behind the numerals on the dial; turn the bezel a second time to the left to set local time on the hour and minute hand (where you're traveling to); turn it a third time to set the reference time (where you live or traveled from) which will be displayed on the 24-Hour disc; reset the bezel three clicks to the right, push in the crown, screw it down and everything is in sync. This watch is a clandestine services novel come to life, you'll feel like The Saint every time you travel. Mechanics aside, the dial is the outward star of any Sky-Dweller and this yellow gold 326938 is as old school as they come. Champagne is a color that has been in the Rolex catalog for decades and it's rendered beautifully on this dial in a light sunburst pattern, which is accented by yellow gold hands, matching yellow gold applied Arabic numerals, and then offset by contrasting black text. All of that conservative symmetry is then just crashed into and elevated to fearlessness by that conspicuous 24-hour ring in silver and black and the little inverted red triangle above it. A solid yellow gold Oyster bracelet finishes this 326938 to luxury perfection. As the name sort of suggests, the Sky-Dweller favors the bold, which is appropriate. No other manufacturer is so intrepid, and none have thought through the traveler's watch to this degree. Timepieces shouldn't be purchased to make a statement but it's highly likely that as you set this watch while you deplane, glances will be cast and more than one stranger will secretly wonder who you are and how you spend your time. And there's nothing wrong with that.