The Incredible Story of Rolex Air-King

History and Evolution of Rolex Air King

Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf designed the Air-King Collection to praise the pilots of World War II. The Rolex Air-King refers to the flight trailblazers and the character of the Oyster in incredible aviation history. The new Air-King is both operational and contemporary with its 40 mm case in Oystersteel, a solid linked Oyster bracelet with Oysterclasp, and a unique black dial. For some of its steel watch cases, Rolex utilizes Oystersteel. The Oyster bracelet has been intended to be both rigorous and convenient for perfect alchemy of shape and structure, technology, and aesthetics. The new Oyster Perpetual Air-King has been modified to suit modern fashionistas, but still maintaining the aesthetic appeal of the 1950s model.

History of Rolex Air-King

The Rolex Air-King line was created in 1958 and was established in honor of RAF pilots from the Battle of Britain, by the Rolex German-British founder Hans Wilsdorf. During and after World War II, Rolex manufactured a few other “Air” models, including “Air-Giant”, “Air-Tiger” and “Air-Lion”. It was, however, the Air-King launching in 1945 that has marked a permanent stamp. These have been labeled to respect the British Royal Air Force, smitten and armored with Rolex watches. The case appeared to be quite large at the time, hence the title ‘Air-King.’

The very first references of Air-King popped up in the 1940s and utilized several movements with hand-winding-hunters. This incorporated the novel reference 4925, and comparable reference 4365, and reference 4499 that was following next.

The Caliber 1030 Oyster Perpetual Air-King ref 6552 was presented by Rolex in 1953. It was the first automatic edition and, throughout that decade, continued to serve as a temporary model.


The legendary Air-King reference of 5500 was first constructed in 1957. All of the components that we care to know were featured: a tidy bezel, convenient dial and markers, pencil hands, and no issues. The Air-King ref 5500 will indeed persist as the core component of the brand line of the company for an incredible 37 years with an Oyster bracelet. The simple and reliable caliber 1520 were installed on those watches with the “Precision” label and caliber 1530 for those with the “Super Precision” tag.

Only one model with complications is the Air-King-Date model, Ref. 5700. It was manufactured between 1958 and the 1980s but is rarer than the standard Rolex Datejust models. In the early 1950s, a bigger Air-King ref 5504 with 35 mm case was also generated for the export industries. In certain marketplaces between 1974 and 1986, a 34 mm Air King ref 5520 was obtainable.

A new Air-King ref 14000 was presented by Rolex in 1989. The Caliber 3000 was modified by the company but the watch stays its usual attributes, nice and basic. One dramatic breakthrough was done at the time: compared to the original stick markers, the Explorer-style “3-6-9” dial had been supplied. An extra comparison model ref 14010, debuted as well with an ornamental bezel turned on the engine, a very extraordinary feature of the Air-King Line.

Another Version

The 1142XX version of the Air-King offered a COSC-certified movement in a 34 mm case in 2007, recognized by many diminutive variants of the 39mm Rolex Explorer as one and the other timepieces proposed very comparable stylish indications; the 34 mm Air-King team was the Oyster Perpetual’s most inexpensive range. Its former stick marker dials no longer existed while the one with sticks and Roman Numerals stayed. The Air-King was dumped in 2014 and the Oyster Perpetual Rolex entry-level has become 26/31/34/36/39.

Air-King Ref 116900

In 2016 Rolex reintroduced the Air-King ref 116900 open as a single product which again is analogous, in great portion, to its forebears but it has a bigger 40 mm case, and magnet protection on the Rolex Milgauss; certainly, the newly released 40 mm Air-King is slightly less expensive compared to the 39 mm Explorer since the magnetic shield is absent, but it has Paraflex shock absorbers on the movement that are not present in the movement of Air-King.

It has a unique black dial with 3, 6, or 9 numerals marking the hours and scales of minutes for navigation time viewing. Oystersteel, which was designed specifically by the brand, belongs to the 904L steel family, the most prevalent alloys used in advanced tech and in the chemical industries and aerospace, where the highest corrosion resistance is necessary. Even in harsh environments, the oyster steel is completely resistant, offering an exceptional finish when completed.

In A Nutshell

All Rolex watches are constructed hand in hand with extreme seriousness to guarantee outstanding quality and results. Naturally, high standards limit Rolex’s production energy, and Rolex watch demands at times outweigh the supply. Consequently, some models can be limited to avail. The Rolex Air-King may be one of the least recognized Rolex watches, but it is undeniably hard to eliminate since its fabulous quality designed since 1945 remains in the latest model nowadays. And upon knowing the past story of Air-King watches, people will realize that it is truly amazing because it survived until now.

Also Read- Iconic Watches from Omega

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