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Rolex Air-King

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Rolex Air-King: Models and Prices. New, used, vintage.

Rolex Air-King

The king of the air - the Rolex Air-King was developed to honour the British fighter pilots during World War II. This understated watch, with a dial that was considered to be rather big back in the day, allowed fighter pilots to easily read the time in any situation. Featuring a distinctive design, the Air-King still enjoys great popularity today and is an ideal entry-level model by Rolex.


The understated Rolex classic


The Rolex Air-King is part of the Oyster Perpetual line. Like all other models of the collection, the Rolex Air-King is known for an unbeatable combination of classic aesthetic and high practicality.

The watch is simple and elegant and does not fail to impresses with high-quality workmanship and precision.

The first Rolex Air-King (Ref. 4365) measured 34 millimeters, which seems fairly small by today’s standards. However, the diametric proportion was revolutionary when the watch was initially developed during World War II. At the time, the Rolex Air-King was the preferred watch of British fighter pilots as a result of a large watch face and improved readability. Today, the Rolex Air-King is one of the most recognised watches worldwide and is popular both in and outside of the cockpit. The watch has many compelling elements including a broad selection of materials and colours. It has therefore remained a valued Rolex watch by men and women alike.

Air-King, Air-Tiger, Air-Lion, and Air-Giant

The understated design of the Rolex Air-King does not disclose the heroic and rich history that lead to the creation of this classic watch. During World War II, the water-resistant timepieces were extremely popular with the pilots of the British Royal Air Force. The watches were so popular that courageous pilots set aside their military issued watches in order to purchase Rolex watches from their own earnings. When Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, heard of this unprecedented brand loyalty, he dedicated a special watch line to the brave pilots.

Back then, the new timepieces were said to be extremely large and had “flying” names: Air-Tiger, Air-Lion, Air-Giant and Air-King. The Air-King design melds simplicity and elegance, and can still be found today in the definitive product range of Rolex. Over the years, this watch has been adapted to suit the preferences of different times. Used Air-King watches are very popular amongst collectors, particularly when rich with history. The US-American airline, Pan AM, gave Rolex Air-King timepieces to retiring pilots. This special edition of the Air-King is much sought-after by collectors.

The story of the Rolex Air-King began over half a century ago. The aesthetics of the watch along with its fascinating history contribute to the everlasting value of the Rolex Air-King.

The Oyster Perpetual line

The Rolex watch case of 34 millimetres

Although the Rolex Air-King is part of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual line, it is smaller and more delicate than most other watches from the series with a diameter of 34 millimetres. Like all other Rolex Oyster Watches, the Air-King is waterproof and can withstand depths up to 100 metres. Beyond that, the Air-King is equipped with a Perpetual rotor with a self-winding mechanism as well as a distinctive three-rowed Oyster bracelet. Currently, the watch face is available in silver, blue and rosé, but with older or used models the colour choice is vast. The vintage market offers an interesting selection of designs that are no longer in production. For instance, the Air-King Date equipped with a date display (Ref. 5700 and Ref. 5701), manufactured in the ‘50s and ‘60s, is an extraordinary and rare specimen. Initially launched as a masculine pilot’s watch, the Air-King is immensely popular among men and women alike.

New, used or vintage

The entry-level model Rolex Air-King

Like all Rolex watches, the Air-King stands out due to its precise workmanship and the use of high-quality materials. However, the Rolex Air-King is unique, in that an increased amount of stainless steel is used in production. Of course, this material is cheaper than platinum, gold and other precious metals, which makes the Air-King a reasonably priced entry-level model for Rolex-newcomers. Both vintage watches, such as the watch Ref. 5500 with the Explorer dial, and newer Air-King models (Ref. 114200, Ref. 14000 or Ref. 14010) offer an enchanting selection to buyers with attractive prices.

The Rolex Air-King is a sporty watch with a classic design that looks smart on the wrists of men and women alike.