The Rolex Air-King has traditionally represented an entry level into Rolex possession, permitting collectors to entry Rolex’s legendary accuracy, reliability, and status with none further options or problems. Upgraded and revamped for the 21st century, the present Air-King nonetheless represents that very same entry-point however now with trendy problems and up to date fashion.
A considerably totally different timepiece than the well-known and long-running, classic reference 5500, the trendy Air-King 116900 represents a fair better departure from the very first wristwatch to characteristic the “Air-King” title from 1945. A contemporary reinterpretation of a Rolex basic, we’re going to stipulate all the up to date specs that make this watch distinctive and completely suited to up to date day-to-day life, from its bigger antimagnetic case to its uncommon and colourful dial.
Rolex Air-King Reference 116900
Air-King 116900 Key Options:
– Manufacturing Years: 2016 – Current
– Case Dimension: 40mm
– Supplies: Oystersteel (904L chrome steel)
– Capabilities: Time w/ Working Seconds, Antimagnetic
– Dial: Black w/ Printed and Utilized Markers
– Bezel: Fastened, Stainless Metal, Clean Fashion
– Crystal: Sapphire (Flat)
– Motion: Rolex Caliber 3131
– Water Resistance: 100 Meters / 330 Ft
– Strap/Bracelet: Oyster Bracelet
– Approx Worth: $6,450 (retail); $eight,995 (pre-owned)
A Transient Historical past Of The Rolex Air-King
As Rolex watch names go, the Air-King is definitely one of many oldest of the model. It first appeared in 1945 as a part of an “Air” themed collection, together with the Air-Lion, Air-Big, and Air-Tiger. This line of watches was Hans Wilsdorf’s tribute to the pilots of the British Royal Air Pressure who fought throughout WWII and wore privately bought Rolex watches as a substitute of their standard-issue timepieces.
Whereas the opposite “Air” themed fashions inside the assortment ultimately disappeared, the Rolex Air-King endured and was ultimately launched as its personal assortment in 1958. The Air-King had carved out a really respectable area inside the model’s catalog to be a reliable, easy, no-BS type of Rolex watch. At 34mm, it’s additionally one of many smaller males’s Rolex watches, which additionally makes it ideally suited to be a unisex watch given its extremely versatile case diameter.
Over time, the basic 34mm Rolex Air-King did take pleasure in some variation – a couple of dial coloration choices, a smattering of white gold fluted bezels, and a handful of bizarre dial varieties. Nevertheless, (for probably the most half) it remained just about aesthetically constant till 2014 when it was discontinued totally – or so we thought. The Air-King’s absence from the Rolex catalog was extremely short-lived and two years later, it was prepared for a return. It appears Rolex had simply taken it off the market to present the model new Air-King area to take off.
Quick Info: Rolex Air-King 116900
The primary watch to characteristic the “Air-King” title appeared in 1945, however it might not be till 1958 till Rolex would make the Air-King its personal standalone assortment of watches. After being discontinued in 2014, Rolex reimagined the Air-King and re-released it in 2016 within the type of the reference 116900. The present Rolex Air-King 116900 now clocks in at 40mm and shares each its case and in-house Caliber 3131 motion with the Milgauss, granting it the identical legendary antimagnetic properties.
1. The Air-King Is One Of The Oldest Names In Rolex’s Catalog
In 1945, Hans Wilsdorf and Rolex launched the “Air” collection of watches to honor the British Royal Air Pressure (RAF) pilots throughout World Warfare II. Amongst these tribute watches had been the Air-Lion, Air-Big, Air-Tiger, and the Air-King. The Air-King was the one mannequin to endure, and Rolex launched it as its personal assortment in 1958. The 34mm Air-King was an easy, chrome steel, time-only Rolex that was positioned because the model’s entry-level timepiece. The Air-King continued to be part of Rolex’s catalog with a number of fashions over the course of its historical past and now enjoys a cult-like following amongst members of the accumulating group.
2. The Air-King Assortment Was Revived In 2016
Manufacturing of the Rolex Air-King was discontinued in 2014, with the Oyster Perpetual collection taking on as the only real entry-level choice. Nevertheless, Rolex determined to convey it again and introduced a totally revamped model of the watch at Baselworld 2016 – the Air-King ref. 116900. Though nonetheless an inexpensive choice inside Rolex’s product providing, the up to date Air-King is now positioned extra in order an aviation-inspired watch, additional reinforcing its roots.
Three. The Air-King 116900 Is Considerably Bigger Than Its Predecessors
Among the many slew of latest design particulars discovered on the up to date Air-King ref. 116900, one of the crucial vital adjustments is with reference to its measurement. Initially sporting a 34mm case, the brand new Rolex Air-King 116900 now boasts a 40mm chrome steel Oyster case, thereby injecting a way more sporty and trendy attraction to the watch. The case is outfitted with the Twinlock screw-down crown for water resistance to 330 ft (100 meters). The matching chrome steel Oyster bracelet not solely enhances the look of the luxurious watch but additionally supplies further consolation with the built-in Easylink 5mm extension system.
four. The Dial Of The New Air-King Is Very Comparable To The Bloodhound Supersonic Car’s Rolex-Made Devices
The most important supply of debate amongst Rolex followers regarding the new ref. 116900 is the design of the dial. Totally different from previous Air-King fashions the place the dials had been easy, clear, and classically styled, the brand new fashions characteristic a way more dynamic and considerably busy dial. The black dial options utilized white gold Three-6-9 numerals and a big luminous inverted triangle index on the 12 o’clock location. The remainder of the dial is crammed in by white printed minutes markings and a Mercedes-style handset.
An fascinating design selection is the inexperienced and yellow coloration mixture of the Rolex emblem and coronet with an identical inexperienced seconds hand. A more in-depth have a look at the dashboard of the Bloodhound SSC 1000 MPH Automotive – a supersonic land automobile that tried to interrupt the land velocity file in 2017 – reveals the place Rolex received not less than a few of its design inspiration for the dial of the brand new Air-King, because the Rolex-manufactured sprint devices bear a placing resemblance and even embrace an analogous general coloration profile.
5. The New Air-King 116900 Is Now Anti-Magnetic
Additionally new to the gathering, the Oyster case of the Rolex Air-King ref. 116900 is provided with a specialised inside protect that’s borrowed from the Milgauss to guard its motion from magnetic fields. Powered by the Rolex Caliber 3131, the automated motion can be fitted with the model’s blue Parachrom hairspring and a lot of different paramagnetic parts for added safety in opposition to magnetic fields. The COSC-certified Air-King ref. 116900 affords 48 hours of energy reserve and a precision assure of +2/-2 seconds per day.
Up Shut: The Rolex Air-King Reference 116900
This level can’t be pressured sufficient – the trendy Rolex Air-King ref. 116900 is sort of nothing like its predecessors. Truly, even saying “predecessors” is deceptive as a result of that suggests commonality, when in actuality, apart from the title and time-only structure, there simply aren’t all that many similarities.
Within the 1930s, many British Royal Air Pressure pilots selected to put on privately bought Rolex Oyster watches as a substitute of a budget, discipline watches that they had been issued. When phrase of this reached Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, he determined to honor his nation’s courageous pilots by making a line of easy and dependable Oyster case watches particularly devoted to those that navigate the sky.
Rolex revived the Air-King in 2016 after briefly discontinuing it in 2014, representing a significant departure from the dead-simple and Spartan look of its predecessors. The earlier Air-King was among the many smallest males’s Rolex out there at 34mm; nonetheless, now boasts a 40mm case amongst a slew of different new options. Let’s take a better look now, lets?
Rolex Air-King 116900 Case
To begin with, the case measurement of the Air-King has drastically modified. The as soon as compact 34mm chrome steel case has now elevated to a a lot bigger 40mm. To place that into perspective, that’s the scale of a Submariner or GMT-Grasp II. True, the brand new Air-King might not put on as cumbersome because the latter two, however it’s nonetheless a 40mm Rolex watch, placing it into a complete different league by way of measurement.
Moreover, the case borrows the identical antimagnetic shielding because the Milgauss, making the brand new Air-King as resilient to electromagnetic forces because the legendary watch designed for scientists working with particle accelerators. After all, because it options an Oyster case, the Rolex Air-King 116900 can be waterproof as much as 100 meters (330 ft), making it greater than able to standing as much as the pains of on a regular basis put on and use.
Rolex Air-King 116900 Dial
Probably the most placing replace to accompany the revamped Air-King 116900 is its funky and strange dial. The black background units the muted stage for every thing else to pop. Between the outsized Three/6/9 numerals, the white five-minute markers, the inexperienced Rolex print with matching inexperienced seconds hand, the classic Air-King font, and the Mercedes-style palms, there’s a lot happening right here.
It’s also fascinating to level out that this Air-King dial is the one Rolex dial to ever characteristic the corporate’s crown and signature printed in two totally different colours – Rolex in inexperienced, the crown in yellow – additional including to the uncharacteristic nature of this specific reference. One other new addition to the dial is the “Superlative Chronometer Formally Licensed” textual content, which now matches the remainder of the watches within the up to date Rolex lineup.
Some collectors love the design of the brand new Air-King, whereas others hate it. Nevertheless, this design is definitely not totally new. It first appeared on the console of the Bloodhound Supersonic Automotive. After all, some dial design modifications had been made to accommodate wristwear fairly than vehicle sprint devices, however the similarities and general coloration profile are simple.
Rolex Air-King 116900 Motion
Yet one more variance between the brand new Air-King and a classic Air-King watch is the interior motion. The ref. 116900 is provided with the Rolex Caliber 3131 – the very same computerized motion used within the Rolex Milgauss. Identical to the Milgauss (and pilot watches of a bygone period), the Air-King now has an inside protect to considerably enhance the watch’s resistance to magnetic fields. The Caliber 3131 affords an influence reserve of as much as 48 hours and significantly noteworthy is that it’s a COSC-certified chronometer, promising an accuracy score of -2/+2 seconds a day.
Rolex Air-King 116900 Desirability
The most recent model of the Air-King will not be with out controversy inside the Rolex fan group. Some critique it for its busy dial, whereas others are blissful to see the ultra-conservative firm shake issues up a bit and do one thing sudden and out of doors the field. Whereas the GMT-Grasp will all the time be the Swiss watchmaker’s iconic pilot’s watch, the Air-King has now clearly joined as co-pilot within the model’s aviation-inspired line-up. Moreover, like all different trendy chrome steel Rolex watches, the Air-King 116900 is totally bought out at retailers. Prolonged ready lists have pushed up costs on the secondary market, and Rolex Air-King 116900 watches are presently buying and selling palms at practically 50% above their unique retail costs.
Rolex Air-King 116900 Worth
Though some might object to the Air-King’s new and unconventional styling, it’s simple that Rolex is giving consumers loads of watch for his or her cash. The addition of the antimagnetic motion and shielding borrowed from the Milgauss provides the Air-King the very same performance at roughly three-quarters of the value (when bought at retail). Moreover. Though it’s bigger and higher shielded from electromagnetic fields than the brand new 36mm Explorer, the Rolex Air-King really retails for the very same worth.
Traditionally, the Air-King has been a comparatively simple mannequin to search out, however its bigger measurement and daring styling have made the reference 116900 simply as exhausting to search out as most of the model’s different chrome steel watches. Whilst you doubtless gained’t spend as lengthy on a ready record for the Air-King 116900 as you’ll for a stainless-steel Daytona or GMT-Grasp II, the mannequin continues to be utterly unavailable at retailers. Nevertheless, even with the value premiums discovered on the secondary market, the ref. 116900 stays one of the crucial inexpensive skilled fashions from the Rolex lineup and it makes a singular and worthwhile addition to any luxurious watch assortment.