The Rolex Air-King pays homage to flight innovators and the role of Oyster in the incredible aviation story. It reinforces the aeronautical tradition of the classic Rolex Oyster with its 40mm case in Oystersteel, a solid-link magnificent Oyster bracelet with an Oysterclasp and recognizable Black dial. Rolex sees the modern Air-King as a professional watch for the brand.
It has hugely been well-known among Rolex enthusiasts entry-level because of its unique look and cost-effective price range, aside from technically a pilot’s watch. For many decades, Air-King has become more loved by masses like a blockbuster over time than on its initial release. It is one of the oldest names in the collection, and its first application dates back to the 1940s. Listed here are some of the interesting facts about the Air-King, and few models which deserve to be recognized.
History of Rolex Air-King
Rolex has a longstanding experience of aviation that dated to the 1930s, a timeframe some attribute to as the golden era of aviation. In 1933, the Houston Expedition, with Oyster timepieces on board, made its first flight over Mount Everest in Nepal.
The founder of Rolex, German-British businessman Hans Wilsdorf, unveiled a line of Oyster Air timepieces in 1945 as a commemoration to the British Royal Air Force pilots, who had worn Oyster watches during the battle. In its debut, the Air-King watch is made of a simple and brushed stainless steel watch with a polished stainless steel Oyster case, a plain and smooth bezel, and a clear and legible time-only dial.
In 1957, Rolex presented the Air-King 5500, which reinforced the system providing of the watch, many of which regarded the 5500 to be the quintessential Air King Rolex limited edition. Air-King reference 5500 editions that say Precision on the Caliber 1520 dial. While those that have Super Precision are operated by Caliber 1530.
In 1989, the very next generation starts with the launch of Air-King 14000 and its sibling, the Air-King 14010. By that moment, Rolex had scrapped all of the two-tone, gold, date, and larger Air-King variants and had brought back to the basics. It was stopped for a few years in 2014 for unclear reasons and was released again in 2016 in the form of 116900 references. The new Air-King is a suitable aviation device with a 40 mm anti-magnetic case obtained from Milgauss instead of a cost-effective and classical starting stage Rolex with a 34 mm case.
The Rolex Air-King 40 mm 116900
The modern Air-King maintains the aviation birthright of the original Rolex Oyster, with its 40 mm case in Oystersteel, Oysterclasp Oyster bracelet, and incredible black dial with highly legible Chromalight display with long-lasting blue light. A unique black dial with a combination of large 3, 6, and 9 time-marking figures and an influential minute scale for flight control time readings is in the Air-King dial. In just the same lettering outlined especially for the model in the 1950s, it carries the title Air-King along with a green and yellow Rolex logo. Green, the brand’s emblematic color, is also in the second’s hand.
Its case is a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and smooth bezel with waterproofness of up to 100 meters. Its perpetual mechanical movement is powered by 3131 calibers with a power reserve of approximately 48 hours.
Air-King Superlative Chronometer Certification
Every Air-King has a Superlative Chronometer certification like all Rolex watches. This unique classification shows that Rolex has successfully carried out a range of experiments in its laboratories that meet watchmaking specifications and standards according to its criteria. The status of the superlative chronometer is symbolized by an international five-year guarantee for every Rolex watch.
A significant example of strength and ability is the Air King’s Oyster case, which is waterproof up to 100 meters (330 feet) in depth. A solid block of exceptionally corrosion-resistant Oystersteel is being used to create the refreshingly shaped middle case. The water-resistant Oyster case ensures optimal safety for the high accuracy movement of the Air-King. It also has a protection shield, a highlight of pilots’ watches of the past, toward magnetic fields.
Rolex Air-King Materials
The Rolex Air-King has always been made of stainless steel except for a small number of vintage references. Today, Rolex uses its stainless steel 904L, which is highly corrosion-resistant and not only incredibly durable.
Air-King Perpetual Caliber 3131
The Air-King is powered by caliber 3131, a fully developed and produced automatic mechanical motion by Rolex that makes it exceptionally accurate and reliable. The oscillator has an extremely precise golden microstella nut balancing wheel with variable inertia. Caliber 3131 features a nickel-phosphorous alloy, paramagnetic escape wheel, and a proprietary, Rolex-manufactured blue Parachrom hairspring, in an exclusive paramagnetic alloy. It features a self-winding module that includes a Perpetual rotor and enables regular winding of the mainspring by harnessing bracelet movements to ensure a constant energy source. Only certified Rolex watchmakers will exhibit the movement of Air-King, but it is beautifully finished and adorned according to the uncompromising quality standards of the company.
The Air-King 5500
Before Air-King reference 116900 was launched in 2016, there was an Air-King 5500 that has been a Rolex longest-running collection that was acknowledged and loved by purist because of its simple yet rocking features.
The Air-King watch reference 5500 is powered by caliber 1520 (Precision) and 1530 movements (Super Precision). It is considered one of the cleanest and most understated Rolex models of all time due to its 34 mm case without any other features. For 37 years, it was still made and remained essentially unchanged. It includes all the distinctive characteristics of a Rolex, without any needless and malfunctioning characteristics.
In A Nutshell
The minimalist and uncomplicated unique design of Air-King guarantees that it will never go out of style, especially for those traditionalist and formal collectors who seek a classic Rolex timepiece that can effortlessly soar high under the radar. It may not be as popular as some other brand’s model like Submariner and GMT-Master, but it will be recognized by those enthusiasts who appreciate even the simplest piece that exists.