Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller in Oyster Steel and White Gold.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller in Oyster Steel and White Gold.
Image: Supplied

Looking back on 2018, one of my rich moments was attending the Rolex Mentorship & Protégé Arts Initiative in Berlin. This trip highlighted the importance of paying it forward. Rolex is fairly unique in the world of luxury in that the company is a registered charity and channels its profit (after expenses) into environmental research, sports, and the promotion of the arts.

Bottom line: beyond desirability or status, every Rolex sold contributes in some way to a good cause. What better spirit with which to kickstart my column for 2019 than the brand that not only makes brilliant timepieces but also has our cultural and environmental wellbeing at the heart of its mission.

As the more conscientious among us become more discrete and considered about our purchases, the watch industry has responded with smaller-sized, vintage-inspired releases, as well as with materials that are not only less showy but also offer better value propositions for new collectors. The latest Sky-Dweller is presented in a more “accessible” Oystersteel case and bracelet with white gold bezel (R186 700). Its GMT functionality means it is also a practical companion for globetrotting cosmopolites who prefer to be more engaged with the world around them than with their mobile devices.

This elegant tool watch was first launched in 2012 in precious metals only, such as Everose (price on request) and yellow gold (R599 200), and is the most mechanically complicated of Rolex watches, combining dual-time-zone and annual-calendar functionality. Its 42mm case is waterproof to 100m and houses the Calibre 9001, self-winding mechanical in-house movement, which carries both a Cosc (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) and Rolex-certified Superlative Chronometer.

You’ll feel like the captain of your own craft with the fluted Ring Command bezel at your fingertips. This unique, function-setting bezel was first introduced in the Yachtmaster II in 2007 through its regatta timer. There are no case pushers, so setting the time and date involves the cooperation of the crown and the bidirectional rotatable bezel.

The annual calendar is set against a background of magnificent blue and displays the date clearly under a Cyclops lens, while the month is revealed by a red marker that appears in one of 12 apertures above the hour markers and requires only one adjustment a year when the month changes from February to March (in the image above, the red marker indicates the month of August at 8 o’clock).

Local time is indicated by the hour hand and the slightly off-centre 24-hour ring reminds you of home time with a bold red triangle pointing to the hour. With hands and hour markers detailed in Chromalight that glow a luminescent blue in the dark, you can discretely check in on said home time when the cabin lights are dimmed. 

- From the February edition of Wanted 2019.

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