When people say Rolex, almost meant to think of the finest Swiss watch, the symbol, the most well-known, the Crown, the most expensive, the most functional. Rolex watches truly possess all the betterness when it comes to watches. The respect for the company always increases especially since their products have been worn by statesmen, scientists, travelers, soldiers, celebrities, and everyday people who have been carrying them for a decade. And the robust watch just looks good as all hell on the wrists of its wearers. The Air-King is a further bargain in Vintage Rolex Land, which has often also signed “Precision” on the dial. It is, however, one of the most understated Rolex watches of all time. Despite being underrated, Air-King is undeniably a great watch as it was created to dignify RAF pilots who sacrificed their lives in the Battle of Britain in 1958.
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History of the Rolex Air-King
Among the most famous Rolex collections, including the Submariner, Datejust, or even Daytona, the Air King Rolex was often neglected, even if all mentioned models were released the same year. In 1945, the Air-King was launched. It is referred to as “King” since the 34mm case was regarded to be huge at the period. The Air-King was released as part of an Air-Tiger, Air-Lion, and Air-Giant collection but the Air-Kings reigned overwhelmingly while the other watches vanished.
Reference 4925, which is currently a real rarity, was the very first Air King. It has the same kind of characteristics as other Rolex bubbles back from the time, with an even Arabic numeral and cream dial. A couple of other references followed this model, including Reference 4499. All these early Air King references contained Hunter manual-wind movements, which made them very similar in the Oyster collection of Rolex.
With the transitional references 6652, which featured the caliber of 1030 inside, the Air-King started to gain its style in 1953. This is the guideline to the creamy silver dial and stick hour markers which in the subsequent reference 5500 became recognizable.
The Air-King Rolex has been the least expensive model of the brand since it first appeared in the layout. Air-King ref. 5500 even has a lower price than the standard Oyster Perpetuals, not until when it was dropped in 2014 and Oyster Perpetual became the ‘entry-level’ of the Rolex once again.
In 2016 Rolex reinstated the Air-King ref. 116900 as a single-model which is much like its forebears but with a distinctive second-counting dial and a premium price tag that differs from Oyster Perpetual. Bob’s Watches’ owner and COO, Carol Altieri, is not even sure or confident to qualify the newly released Air-King as “underrated”.
Regardless of mobility, Air King has never been chronometer-certified, so “superlative chronometer certified” will not be seen on any vintage Air King dials. At the 6 o’clock position, you’ll in the meantime see the words “super precision” for Cal 1530 or “precision” for Cal. 1530.
Air-King ref 5500
The Rolex Air-King ref 5500 is supported by an automatic movement. Its 34 mm case is made up of stainless steel materials and plastic crystals. It also features a black gilt underline dial with Arabic numerals of 3, 6, and 9, and a stainless steel Oyster bracelet with a folding clasp. In addition to the dial, it can be offered in some other varieties like silver and blue aside from black, and the bracelet can also be available in Jubilee straps. It is the definitive and longest-running Air-King.
Air-King Date ref 1500
The Rolex Air-King Date is made up of brushed and polished stainless steel materials, magnified lens crystals, and screw back, “Twinlock” crown. It also features a self-winding supported Oyster bracelet, and a silvery dial with sweep seconds and date display, baton-applied hour markers, and tritium-coated indices. Its case number is 3160326 Circa 1970. It is powered by Calibre 1520 with 26 jewels.
Air-King Domino ref 14000, the modernized Air-King
The 34 mm Rolex Air-King “Domino’s Pizza” ref 14000 is made up of stainless steel which was decorated with a Domino’s Pizza logo on the dial. These watches, intended for franchises of Domino’s Pizzas that reach specific sales targets, are widely known both with purchasers and pizza enthusiasts. Its stainless steel case and bezel have a waterproofness of up to 10 ATMs. The Oyster bracelet has a folding clasp, while its dial is silver.
Other terms for this model include Rolex Domino’s Pizza, Rolex 14000, Rolex Air-King 14000 Dominos Pizza, and Rolex Dominos Pizza.
Air-King ref 116900, the polarizing Air-King
The 40 mm Air-King watch ref 116900 is made up of Oystersteel material, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and a smooth bezel. It also has a flat three-piece links Oyster bracelet made of Oystersteel of which is in folding Oysterclasp with Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link. It has a distinctive Black dial with a long-lasting blue light and a highly readable Chromalight display. Its waterproofness is up to 100 meters or 330 feet and is supported by a Perpetual movement with a magnetic shield protecting it.
In a Nutshell
Great design does not need to feel nearly instantaneous and proper storytelling is often difficult to find. However, Rolex is a brand that does so very well in general, especially the design which falls short on The Air-King. There is nothing more jittery than Air-King’s design for the brand’s standards.
It does not inherently mean a good opportunity to invest easily because a model is underestimated. The actual worth of this underappreciated Air-King is that Rolex brings clear watch lovers the possibility of owning a part of the brand when they were so sick of the influence of chasers or short sellers. Buy what you want, spend in what interests you, and contentment follows. Don’t follow the trends just because many follow them.
Rolex authorized itself to have great times with one of the cheaper watches in its collection, and the handset and dial appear to have done that. Rolex undeniably perfected the strategic plan as it was implemented and observed in the Crown. For many years, several renowned individuals are seen sporting an Air-King of different vintages like John McCain on his many years of politics and Ryan Gosling when he received the award for best actor in his La La Land performance.