Rolex Sky-Dweller vs Yachtmaster 2, Which Should I Buy?

We are getting complicated with this comparison…and by that, we mean Rolex’s two most complicated watches, ever – The Rolex Sky-Dweller and Yachtmaster 2.

yachtmaster 2 vs skydweller

In this Rolex Sky-Dweller vs Yachtmaster 2 match up, we will be comparing both watches on the following aspects: 

  • Design & Versatility 
  • Complications & Movement
  • Prestige & Recognition
  • Demand
  • Price
  • Resale Value

The Rolex Sky-Dweller and Yachtmaster 2 share a few commonalities. Both are Rolex’s newest line of watches (Yachtmaster in 1992 and Sky-Dweller in 2012), they have a Command Bezel, and they are two of Rolex’s largest, most complicated, high-end luxury watches. On the other hand, they are very different watches…

So, interested buyers often ask, “which is better (or which should I get), the Rolex Sky-Dweller or the Yachtmaster 2?”

We are here to compare and contrast, so you can make an informed decision and choose the watch that best suits you. 

SKY-DWELLER vs YACHTMASTER 2

Let’s just jump right into this, starting with the most perceivable aspect of this Rolex watch comparison. 

Design & Versatility 

As with all Rolex watches, the Sky-Dweller and Yachtmaster 2 were designed with a purpose in mind. The Yachtmaster for those who traverse the seas and the Sky-Dweller for frequent travelers of the sky.

Let’s talk about each individually to keep things organized….

yachtmaster 2
Yachtmaster 2’s Design

The Yachtmaster was designed for competitive sailors. Of course, this iconic timepiece is also worn by watch enthusiasts who have no interest in sailing yachts.

The Yachtmaster 2 offers brilliant contrast, with its snow white dial, sea-blue hands and accents, and the blue cerachrom bezel with numerals that match the metal of the watch. The contrast and distinct design of the dial make legibility a breeze and it gives the Yachtmaster 2 a one-of-a-kind sporty look.

You can get the Yachtmaster 2 in yellow gold, stainless steel or two tone rose gold and steel (as seen in this comparison). All have a blue bezel, but the gold and two tone versions have gold numerals on the bezel and the stainless steel has a white-ish silver color, as to match the metal of the case and bracelet. 

The Yachtmaster 2 has an Oystercase and Oysterbracelet. Rolex’s most iconic case and bracelet styling for their sports watches. However, with the Yachtmaster 2, you are looking at a supersized version. The case measures in at a loud and proud 44mm. As with all of Rolex’s standard Oystercases, it offers 100 meters of water resistance. Remember, this is a boat racing watch, not a diver. That said, 100 meters is more than enough for casual divers and the sailors who like to spend time in the water as much as they do floating on top.

The last point of the design we want to discuss is the finishing, which is absolutely superb. It uses a gloss finish for the case and center links of the bracelet, and the outer links are satin finished. It adds to the beauty and contrast of this wonderful stand-out sports watch…The cerachrom bezel is scratch resistant, so for those who are highly active, don’t worry about scratching the bezel on this one. 

rolex comparison
Yachtmaster 2 Versatility 

The Yachtmaster 2 is a sports watch through and through. Although it can surely be worn dressed up and dressed down, it is in best form outside in the summer’s sun. 

Overall, it is a sporty, distinct, and dare we say, quirky watch that pops like no other in the Rolex sports watch line up. Can it be worn daily and with any outfit? Absolutely. But in our opinion, it’s best suited in a casual setting. 

sky-dweller comparison
Sky-Dweller Design

The Sky-Dweller was designed with the traveler in mind. For those who are often changing time zones, this is the ultimate watch to keep track of time.

Now, you might be thinking “doesn’t the GMT Master II do the same thing?”. It does, but what sets the Sky-Dweller apart is that it displays both time zones simultaneously and in real time. 

When first looking at the Sky-Dweller, you might mistake it for the Day-Date because of the monochromatic appearance and the fluted bezel. However, with closer inspection, it is clearly unique. The dial has a large disc above the 6, equally large hour batons, and the size of the watch is much greater with its 42mm case.

Overall, the dial was really well done, as it provides a lot of information without any clutter. We will get into this in the complications comparison further below. 

As this watch is not a chronograph, it, of course, doesn’t have pushers, just a crown. It gives the watch a clean and dressy feel. Albeit, it is still a sports watch at heart. 

One thing that isn’t discernible when looking at the stainless steel versions of the Sky-Dweller is that the fluted bezel is actually made from solid gold. Thus, the stainless steel Sky-Dwellers are in fact Rolesors (Rolex patented name for their stainless steel/gold watches).

The Sky-Dweller comes in various versions. You have the all yellow gold, all rose gold, all white gold, two-tone gold and steel, and stainless steel with a white gold bezel. All stainless steel versions have a stainless steel case and bracelet and a white gold bezel. There are no 100% steel versions. But fore the purpose of simplicity, we will still refer to them simply as steel Sky-Dwellers. As for dials, there’s a variety of colors, from black and white to brown and blue. Although you will be hard pressed to find the stainless steel with a blue dial version, as everyone wants that sunburst blue dial. It’s absolutely gorgeous on the classic sporty white metal. 

In this comparison, you are looking at the steel with white gold bezel and white dial version, reference 326934.

Lastly, the finishing is tremendously stunning. When you hold it in your hand and see it on your wrist, you will immediately understand the importance of a finely done finishing. It has a high polished case and center links, and the outer links are satin finished. It creates beautiful contrast within the same metal color. 

yachtmaster 2 or sky-dweller
Sky-Dweller Versatility 

The Sky-Dweller is a sports watch that doubles as a dress watch. That said, it definitely has a more dressy feel to it thanks to the fluted bezel. 

In our opinion, the Sky-Dweller has more every day and every occasion appeal. It can be worn dressed up and dressed down to perfection. 

You can wear this with jeans and a t-shirt just as well as with a suit and tie. So, if you are someone who suits up or goes business-fresh during the week and then lays back on the weekend, the Sky-Dweller is the watch for you. It can be put to use at all times and whenever you want – stunning 24/7, 365. 

Complications & Movement

Now, let’s compare the complications and movements of the Sky-Dweller and Yachtmaster 2, the two most complicated watches in Rolex’s catalog. 

yachtmaster comparison
Yachtmaster 2 Complications

The Yachtmaster 2 is a chronograph movement with a programmable timer that counts down ten minutes. Why 10 minutes? Well, it is a regatta timer, made for yacht racing! Although it’s a very niche complication, it is unique and useful for it can be found in many ways. You can set the countdown at any minute from 1-10. 

Now, unlike most chronographs, the Yachtmaster 2’s chronograph is controlled by the bidirectional bezel and the chrono pushers and crown. The bezel essentially allows you to change the pushers/crown function from controlling the countdown timer to the regular time of the watch. All in all, it is extremely easy to use and allows for rapid setting, which is often needed during race time. 

Yachtmaster 2 Movement

The Yachtmaster 2 is powered by a Rolex calibre 4161 movement. It has 72 hour power reserve and is COSC certified.

The 4161 is a Rolex patented movement that Rolex stated took 35,000 hours to develop. One of the patented functions contains 360 components, so you can understand why it was such a time-consuming process.

All that said, it is still not as complicated as the Sky-Dweller.

sky-dweller or yachtmaster 2
Sky-Dweller Complications

The Sky-Dweller technically has three complications, but essentially it is four as the bezel is a rotatable command bezel, meaning it is part of the movement and it controls the setting of the complications. 

The obvious complication is the date display. There’s not much to speak on this one. However, the other two complications are wonderfully innovative.

It has a GMT (or dual-time zone) complication which is displayed via the ring at the lower half of the dial. The second timezone uses a 24 hour display. The disc rotates with the time, so the red arrow pointing down is the time in the second time zone. 

Then, it has an entirely unique annual calendar complication. It is not noticeable if you don’t know what you are looking at, but once you do, with one glance you will know the month. The annual calendar is spread across the perimeter of the dial. Here’s how it works…

As there are 12 months in the year and there are 12 hour markers on a watch’s dial, Rolex inventively decided to use the hour markers as a way to indicate the month of the year. So, just above each hour marker is a little square space. You’ll notice one is red, the red one indicates the month. So for the watch featured in this comparison, the red marker is at the 1 o’clock, which means it is January. With each month, the red marker moves to the next marker. Incredibly complicated to create but wonderfully simple to use. 

Sky-Dweller Movement

At the heart of the Sky-Dweller beats the Rolex calibre 9001 movement. One of the most complicated movements Rolex ever created. It was made solely for the Sky-Dweller. The 9001 movement has a 72 hour power reserve like the Yachtmaster 2, and it beats at a 28,800hz frequency. As with all Rolex perpetual movements, it is COSC certified. Exquisitely accurate and undeniably reliable. 

yachtmaster 2 price

Prestige & Recognition

As the Yachtmaster 2 has been around longer, it surely has more recognition. Moreover, the Yachtmaster 2 is much more distinct in design, so it is immediately identifiable. 

Conversely, the Sky-Dweller is the newest model Rolex has introduced, and it is often mistaken for a Day-Date. Nevertheless, any true watch aficionado knows a Sky-Dweller when they see one.

In terms of prestige, both watches have equal prestige in the watch collector community. After all, they are two of Rolex’s most expensive and most complicated sports watches. And they are both stunning.

The choice between the two usually comes down to preference and style. One is dressier and one is sportier, so both have their place in anyone’s watch box.

We would like to note that the Sky-Dweller is a guaranteed classic in the making. As a matter of fact, it was an instant classic. The demand for the Sky-Dweller makes this clear.

As for the Yachtmaster 2, it is as iconic as any popular Rolex collection. 

sky-dweller price

Demand

As with any Rolex collection, some versions/references have more demand than others.

With the Sky-Dweller, it is the Steel Sunburst Blue Dial. If you want one new, you can expect to wait a year or so, unless you get super lucky. This has caused many buyers to look to the second-hand market, where they find the price significantly higher for the sunburst blue dial reference.

With the Yachtmaster 2, the situation is similar. The steel version is the most popular. However, we don’t see people waiting as long for the steel Yachtmaster 2. 

All in all, the Sky-Dweller seems to be more in demand right now. Currently, you are more likely to see a Sky-Dweller on the wrist of a celebrity than a Yachtmaster 2. Why? Because it is new and different. People want different. 

That said, you won’t have to look far to find a Yachtmaster 2 on the wrist of a famous person. People love big and noticeable, and Yachtmaster 2 provides that. 

should i buy the Rolex yachtmaster 2 or sky dweller

Price

To enter into the Yachtmaster 2 club, you will be paying a minimum of $16,000 for a new Yachtmaster 2. On the second hand market, you can find them for as low as $15-16,000. This is for the steel versions, of course.

The price for the steel Sky-Dweller is around $17,000. The gold versions are around $48,000. On the second hand market, the steel blue dial Sky-Dweller is selling for around $25,000.

The above tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the resale value of the two. 

Resale Value

Now, we aren’t suggesting you look at the resale value when making a watch purchase. You should buy a watch you like, not because you want to sell it later on! Moreover, Rolex in general has the best resale value of any watch brand.

That being said, it doesn’t hurt to consider resale value. Especially if you like switching up watches after some time.

In any case, the Sky-Dweller has a better resale value. If we are talking the blue dial Sky-Dweller, you should be able to sell it for more than you bought it, pending it’s in good condition.

The Yachtmaster 2 should land you about the same price or a little less than what you bought it for. The Yachtmaster will appreciate in value as time goes on, though. 

How long this will remain true, we can’t be sure. The demand for certain references is ever-changing. Some references and models have proven to be consistent. The perfect example of this is the steel Daytona. 

comparing yachtmaster and skydweller

VERDICT OF ROLEX SKY-DWELLER VS YACHTMASTER 2

Our final verdict is that both watches are worthy of purchasing. It all depends on what you are looking for. If you want a watch that is more sporty and durable, go for the Yachtmaster 2. If you want a watch that is the perfect combination of sporty and dressy, go for the Sky-Dweller. Think about your style. If you like to be the center of attention, the Yachtmaster 2 seems to fit that motive. However, if you like a more classy, high-end, versatile look, the Sky-Dweller provides that kind of wrist presence. 

Now, if you can get both, we say definitely get both. They are equally unique watches and they work for different occasions. The Sky-Dweller and Yachtmaster 2 should be part of every true watch collectors watch box, at least at some point in time. If you don’t want to cough up too much money at one time, get the one you desire more and keep your sight on getting the other in the near future. But, if you are willing to get both at the same time, it makes sense to do so as you can probably bargain a better deal when you buy two watches…when you are shopping the second hand market that is. 

Shop Pre-owned Sky-Dweller’s 
Shop Pre-owned Yachtmaster 2’s

Wondering if the second hand market is right for you? Here are the pros and cons of buying pre-owned

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