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6 Quick Facts about The Rolex Air-King

Most people are more conversant with the contemporary version of the Rolex Air-King. The features include a big 40mm case and a dial resembling the cockpit instruments closely. However, the Rolex Air-King is among the oldest names within the brand’s catalogue, and it is yet in the collection to date.

This collection of Rolex watches sports a design that looks more like the Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches rather than Professional pilot watches. However, the Air-King is an affordable Rolex option for collectors both in the retail and pre-owned market.

Let’s take a look at six quick, fascinating facts about the beloved pilot’s watch – the Rolex Air-King. However, before we delve into these facts, here is a brief history of this pilot timepiece.

A Brief History of the Aviator’s Tool Watch

Rolex introduced the Air-King in 1945 exclusively to offer reverence to the RAF pilots of the Battle of Britain. The collection included the Air-Tiger, Air-Lion, Air-Giant and Air-King. However, the only watch that is in production to date is the Air-King.

The first models to flaunt the name “Air-King” was Reference 4925, 4499 and 6652. Interestingly, each of these references is comparatively rare and coveted today. However, the brand seems to prefer classifying the iterations without the Air-King name as standard Oyster Perpetual timepieces.

Introduced in the 1940s, Rolex has upgraded this elegant collection, adding some excellent versions over the years. However, the brand stopped producing the Air-King after about seven years to revive the series.

Well, Rolex designed the watch technically as an aviator’s timepiece. But it eventually became a more popular option as an entry-level watch for collectors. However, it’s no surprise considering its classic design and affordable price tag. Rolex made a significant upgrade to the collection, and the modern version presents itself as one of Rolex’s professional tool watches.

Six Quick Facts to Know about the Rolex Air-King

  1. Rolex made the Air-King to honour WWII pilots

Rolex launched a series of “Air” watches during and after WWII. The watchmaker designed the timepieces to pay tribute to the British Royal Air Force pilots. However, the “Air” collection included Air-Tiger, Air-Lion, Air-King and Air-Giant. Rolex today produces only the Air-King model.

  1. It is among the oldest collections of Rolex

Rolex used the name “Air-King” for the first time in 1945. However, the model that you see today joined the brand’s catalogue in 1958. Hans Wilsdorf released the Air-King to pay tribute to pilots. He perhaps had not imagined that it would turn out to be a long-lasting Rolex collection.

3. The Watch was pretty large for its time

In 1958, the Air-King made its debut as the standalone series for the first time. The watch sported a 34mm case that is pretty small for today’s trend. However, the 34mm was quite a large size for that time.

Rolex re-introduced the model in 2016, offering one of the most significant upgrades – a more prominent 40mm case.

4. Rolex revived and re-launched the Air-King in 2016

The brand stopped producing the Air-King in 2014. However, it revived and re-introduced the watch in 2016 as the Reference 116900. The new Air-King debuted as a perfect aviation watch featuring an anti-magnetic case of 40mm. You can find this case type in the Rolex Milgauss too.

5. The New Rolex Air-King is an anti-magnetic watch

The Rolex Air-King Reference 116900 comes with a unique internal shield that protects the movement from magnetic effects. However, the watch houses the Rolex Calibre 3131 movement. Rolex offered a similar case and bracelet to the Reference 116900 like the Milgauss, offering the same anti-magnetic properties.

6. The Rolex Air-King 5500 – The Official Start of this Pilot Series

The Rolex Air-King Ref. 5500 is known to be the official start of this line. Interestingly, the watch enjoyed a long-production time that bestowed a substantial and enduring impact. The Reference 5500 is most likely the first timepiece that strikes to mind when collectors think about the Air-King.

The watch featured a 34mm case, a striking dial with stick hands. Overall, the Reference 5500 looked simplistic without even a date aperture at the 3 o’clock side. However, the timepiece retained the aesthetic almost the same over the years. Furthermore, it is one of the least expensive vintage Rolex watches. Thanks to its classic look and pricing, the Rolex Reference 5500 can be the perfect watch to begin your watch collection.

Read Next Blog :This Collection of Omega Watches Is the Best-Selling Divers in the World

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