By Adam Craniotes
on 3.8.12
Photo by Rolex

It is rare enough that Rolex updates their existing model line up, let alone creates an entirely new watch, so it is understandable that one of the most hotly anticipated announcements at Basel is their new Sky-Dweller. Featuring a revolutionary — for Rolex — annual calendar, in addition to a GMT indicator and a healthy 72-hour power reserve, the Sky-Dweller is intended for world travelers and jet-setters who cross time zones like most of us cross streets.

Continues after the jump.

The annual calendar functionality of the caliber 9001 movement, which allows it to distinguish between months with 30 or 31 days, was implemented with just four gears added on top of the existing date mechanism; a solution, that by its very simplicity, helps to maintain the robustness of the movement. The display is equally unique, with an unobtrusive window next to each hour that symbolizes one of the twelve months of the year. For example, the window next to three o’clock will appear black to indicate the month of March.

In what is quite literally a novel twist, the Sky-Dweller’s functions can be individually selected and adjusted via a rotating bezel that Rolex refers to as Ring Command, which allows one to easily set the date, local time and reference time. A simple twist counter-clockwise selects the date function, which can then be set via the crown. Twist once more for local time and again for the reference time. Of course, the Sky-Dweller remains a Rolex at heart, which means that the caliber 9011 remains a dependable workhorse, while its signature Oyster case with Twinlock screw-down crown is water-resistant to 100M. This is a watch that’s meant to be worn as much as it is to be admired.

Initially the Sky-Dweller will be available in white gold, yellow gold and Rolex’s exclusive Everose gold. If Rolex follows their previous pattern, a stainless steel variant will be offered next year.

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