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The Rolex Heavyweights: Rolex Yachtmaster II Vs. Sky-Dweller

The Rolex Heavyweights: Rolex Yachtmaster II Vs. Sky-Dweller

the rolex heavyweights

This Rolex heavyweights showdown is an all-gold version. We take a closer look at two watches that fit as Rolex heavyweights. These watches are absolutely heavyweights in the Rolex high-end luxury sports category. Here are the Rolex Yachtmaster II and the Sky-Dweller 

These watches carry a presence similar to only a few other timepieces. However, the question really arises when you are out there searching for a quality gold Rolex. In such a situation, which one of these Rolex heavyweights will be your perfect choice and for what reasons?

We aim to help you find answers to these questions by comparing these Rolex heavyweights over three distinct parameters. These are: 

  • Their designs
  • The movement they feature
  • Their wearability and functionality

From these comparisons, we will pick a winner and that will be our recommendation. This will be the timepiece with the highest score from these three rounds. Follow through!

The Battle Of Designs Between These Rolex Heavyweights

The Rolex Yachtmaster II

Just as the name implies, the Rolex Yachtmaster II comes with a design made specifically for water conditions. This timepiece features purpose-built ability for competitive sailors. 

Generally, the most striking traits of the Yachtmaster II are the same features that distinguish it from others. Amongst other ocean-faring timepieces in the Rolex range, this timepiece features are distinct.

  • The Dial

This timepiece features a stunning white dial blended with blue hands. That color mix provides a ton of contrasts that aid its legibility. More so, the gold-edged hour tags and the small-second dial put in that taste of luxury to its aesthetics.

Rolex again did a great job by keeping the dial as clutter free as it can. Based on the amount of details on display, a clutter-free dial is a no-brainer. 

  • The Bezel

The Yachtmaster II comes with a royal blue cerachrom bezel. Additionally, it features a 0-to-10 countdown track that comes in handy during regatta races. In these races, competitors get a 10-minute warning prior to the start of the race.

Here is a complication that is practically a programmable 10-minute flyback chronograph. That sounds rather more complicated than the real deal. Yet, from a graphical perspective, this is what makes the Yachtmaster II different in the Rolex collection. This feature pleasingly contrasts the colour of ether steel. 

  • The Case And Bracelet

Furthermore, the Yachtmaster II comes with a trusty Oyster case. This timepiece comes fitted with an Oyster bracelet. You can consider these Rolex heavyweights as a super-sized version with its 44 mm diameter size. 

Moreover, the chronograph pushers come in a nice rounded design. Yet, they do not have the screw-down locks featured on the Daytona timepiece. 

The Rolex Sky-Dweller

rolex sky-dweller wristwatch

Similar to every other Rolex timepiece, the Sky-Dweller carries its design for a purpose. This design allows regular travellers the ability to track two time zones. The difference it has from the GMT Master II is that it displays both time zones simultaneously and in real-time. 

  • The Dial

Your first look at the Sky-Dweller will appear like it is an oversized Day-Date with a fluted bezel and a large Oyster case. However, what gives this timepiece away is its distinct dial. Thanks to the huge numeral hour markers and offset white ring, the Sky-Dweller looks different. There is a clear difference between this watch and other models in the category. Thanks to the unique dial, it offers incredible legibility even from a glimpse.

  • The Annual Calendar Complication

Another impressive addition and one that we mostly miss out on is the annual calendar complication. This complication comes with the Sky-Dweller. You find it around the exterior of each hour marker. It appears like a small rectangle that fills in black to signify the month of the year at the time.

More so, the rectangles not in use are polished in the exact colour the dial comes in. Hence, they easily blend in and make additional room. With this additional room, the dial appears a lot less jumbled than a regular annual calendar timepiece.

It is even more remarkable considering that it also comes with a second time display built in. This one right here is a totally ingenious piece of engineering and design masterclass from Rolex.


Right before us, we have two huge, daring and highly functional Rolex heavyweights. For these two watches, each carries its own distinctive design shades and also fan bases. 

We mostly commend the design of the Sky-Dweller dial. Also, the slightly smaller size makes it more desirable. Hence, it is our winner in the design battle.

Movement Features Of The Yachtmaster II And The Sky-Dweller

  • The Rolex Sky-Dweller

This Rolex Sky-Dweller takes its power from the Rolex calibre 9001. This timepiece remains one of the most complicated movements ever produced by this Swiss watchmaker. This is of course a fully in-house manufactured caliber. 

the sky-dweller with an in-house movement 

Moreover, it comes with a purposeful design to particularly serve the Sky-Dweller. The Rolex brand is not your number one brand when it comes to making watches with complications. Therefore, for them to create a watch featuring a date display, dual time zone and an annual calendar is no small feat. 

It was nothing short of big news when the timepiece hit the watchmaking world in 2012. In addition, this 9001 caliber comes with a power reserve that lasts for as long as 72 hours. There is also a frequency of 28,800hz. Lastly, like every other Rolex perpetual movement, this one carries certification from COSC.

  • The Rolex Yachtmaster II

On the other hand, the Yachtmaster II is slightly less complicated compared to the Sky-Dweller. However, it still parades certain outstanding technology that makes it better than most watches in the Rolex collection. 

This watch takes power from the Rolex caliber 4161 movement. It is just like the 9001 caliber. The 9001 features a power reserve of 72 hours and is COSC certified, the 4161 caliber has the same features. 

the yachtmaster II with an in-house movement 

Meanwhile, the 4161 captions what is in practice, a flyback chronograph complication. This is a feature you can find in this Regatta timer. This feature reportedly took Rolex 35,000 hours to create. Finally, one of the patented abilities contains 360 elements alone!


These two Rolex heavyweights carry sophisticated movements. These movements bear specific features that help to power all of the watches’ outstanding abilities. Similar to all Rolex watches, the movements are calibers made in-house by Rolex. That explains why they are among the most durable and precise movements in the mechanical watch world.

For this category, we cannot declare an outright winner. The fact remains that all these watches bear specific design fit for particular uses. Hence, they have the complications fit perfectly for their intention. For example, the annual calendar in the Sky-Dweller is remarkable. Yet, it just wouldn’t be fit when placed in the Yachtmaster II. In the same light, a flyback chronograph will not make sense in the Sky-Dweller. 

This ends in a stalemate!

The Wearability & Functionality Of The Rolex Heavyweights

What is the plan when comparing the wearability and functionality of timepieces? In such a case, we simply want to see how comfortable they are on the wrist and how their function helps. This same intention applies to these two Rolex heavyweights. 

What are the distinct functions of the Yachtmaster II and the Sky-Dweller? What makes each of these timepieces desirable to watch enthusiasts? Which appears more on the wrist and wears easily? Keep reading to find out. 

  • The Rolex Yachtmaster II

We begin with the Yachtmaster. Here, the bright white dial is highly legible. Therefore, it easily shows all the essential details at a glance. So, imagine you aboard a speeding boat and you can still see what is on your watch clearly. That is awesome!

Moreover, the  regatta timer display featured on the timepiece is another very clear element. This is thanks to the red defined arrow that points to the present minute in the countdown timer clearly.

Furthermore, the functions of the watch are very unusual. This is one style only the Yachtmaster carries. This timepiece employs a ring command mechanism to fix the regatta timer. Hence, you as the user must first rotate the bezel 90 degrees to the left. Afterward, you then press the reset pusher in a way that it stays depressed. 

Thereafter, The crown then must get unscrewed back to the initial position. It is from this position that it can then get turned to set the needed number of minutes the countdown timer should have. It is always between 1 to 10 minutes. 

As soon as the minutes get selected, the bezel gets rotated again to the first position. That resets the pusher. 

Also, you only have to screw the crown back in to guarantee the water resistance function. Then, the timer gets started. You can also stop it using the top pusher. More so, the timer can also be reset on the fly as that synchronizes it with a different time source. 

When placed on the wrist, the Yachtmaster II is a heavyweight really. Yet, it is comfortable. Also, the Oyster case and strap are good to wear regardless of the metal option used. Lastly, the deployant clasp comes with a double-lock. That ensures the timepiece remains fixed on your wrist.

  • The Rolex Sky-Dweller

The Sky-Dweller does not have quite the legibility the Yachtmaster has, especially in the Champagne dial variant. We say this because we tested it.

However, the figures have enough spaces between them. You can read them with a mere glimpse. Also, the addition of the annual calendar to the dial is very commendable. We believe it’s perhaps one of the most creative means of revealing the details this timepiece carries.

Furthermore, the Sky-Dweller similarly features a ring command mechanism to run the wristwatch. However, unlike the Yachtmaster II, this one helps to set all of the functions. Meanwhile, the bezel comes with four selectable positions. Each of these positions alter the performance of the crown. 

This requires a little getting used to if you must make the most of it. However, the functionality of the Sky-Dweller is more preferable to pulling out fiddly crowns for these same functions. 

Additionally, the tactile response from the bezel as it clasps into the successive position satisfies in every sense of it.  

The Sky-Dweller on the wrist presents the same wearability as the Yachtmaster II. First off, the Oyster case and bracelet do not give any uneasiness at all. Plus, the narrowly smaller width and height of the case presents a strong covering to it across hard surfaces.

But, there is one shortcoming we will love to criticize here. And, that would be the deployant clasp that only has one lock phase. Being a timepiece set in rare metals, the twin lock system would provide better security compared to this deployant clasp. 


To be frank, we found it hard to declare a winner in this category because it is a really difficult one. The truth is that these two Rolex heavyweights have amazing means of delivering their functions. Plus, they are both comfortable timepieces on the wrist. Becoming an owner of any of these two watches will certainly be a pleasure. 

Nevertheless, we would not want to call another draw in this battle. If we must be frank, the way the Sky-Dweller wears on the wrist is quite preferable. In fact, the ease it gives you through your day-to-day life is remarkable. 

With an annual calendar and a second time zone, you have more helpful functions compared to a chronograph timer.

Final Ruling

Eventually, we have an overall winner in this battle of these Rolex heavyweights. The Rolex Sky-Dweller takes this one with two wins to one over the Yacht Master II.

We must commend the overall structure of this timepiece together with the incredible movement in it. Also, there is a distinct way its functions operate. 

For the Yachtmaster II, this watch is great in its own right. Yet, we believe it’s slightly more niche compared to the Sky-Dweller. 

Regardless of any of the two you go for, you are certainly getting an exceptional timepiece that will serve you.


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