Rolex’s “cheapest” sports watch,Air-King

Rolex Airmaster 116900

Rolex Air-King 116900

Air-King 116900 is the lowest public price among Rolex’s professional sports models now on sale. Compared to popular sports models such as Water Ghost, Daytona, and Greenwich, Air-King is easily “ignored”. But in fact, Air-King is also one of the oldest sports watches in Rolex. So I want to talk to you today, how did Air-King come from?

Rolex Airmaster 116900

Rolex Air-King 116900

In 1945, Rolex had the name “Air-King”.

Air Ba, that is, Air King, English Air King. When we hear this name, we will think that this watch may be related to an airplane. In fact, Rolex Air-King is related to “air combat”. In order to pay tribute to the British pilots who participated in the “British Air War” during World War II, Rolex launched a variety of sky-related watches, all beginning with Air, including Rolex Air Lion, Air Giant, Air King, and Tudor Air Tiger. Among them, only the Air King continues to this day.

Rolex Air King appeared in 1945.

Rolex Air King appeared in 1945.

Rolex has disappeared Air Giant.

Rolex has disappeared Air Giant.

Tudor has disappeared Air Tiger.

Tudor has disappeared Air Tiger.

In 1957, Rolex’s modern “Air-King Series” was born.

Skymaster has become a major series of Rolex sports watches, which began in 1957 (or 1958). The first model of the Air-King is 5500. The 5500 defines some of the basic characteristics of the Rolex Air-King series. Including a polished bezel, a relatively simple dial, no additional functions, and the 34 mm size that has been maintained for a long time in the history of Air-King. In addition, the name of Air King also appeared on the dial. Air-King 5500 and some branch models of 5500 were produced from 1957 to 1990. The production time was very long and became the important entry model of Rolex sports watches.

Rolex Airmaster 5500

Rolex Air-King 5500

Air-King 5500, mainly uses two kinds of movements. One is the 1520 movement and the other is the 1530 movement. The difference is that the adjustment accuracy of the movement is different. The 1530 movement is a super precision level, and the word Super Precision is printed on the dial of the watch; the 1520 movement is a precision level, and the word Precision is printed on the dial of the watch. It can be identified from the dial of the watch.

Airmaster 5500, using the 1520 movement version, the plate is Precision.

Air-King 5500, using the 1520 movement version, the plate is Precision.

Airmaster 5500, using 1530 movement version, the plate is Super Precision.

Air-King 5500, using 1530 movement version, the plate is Super Precision.

In Air-King 5500, there are some branch models.Air-King 5700, known as Air King Date, is that Air-King adds a magnifying glass calendar. In addition, there is a very rare “exploring a plate” in the sky fighter. It is on the 34mm Kongba case that the “Tan Yi” dial is used.

Airmaster 5700 with magnifying glass calendar.

Air-King 5700 with magnifying glass calendar.

Explore a plate of "air tyrants"

Explore a plate of “air tyrants”

In 1991, Air-King 5500 was replaced by Air-King 14000

In 1991, Rolex launched the Air-King 14000, which was upgraded on the basis of 5500. The 14000 maintains a size of 34 mm, uses a sapphire glass mirror, and is replaced with a Rolex 3035 series movement (specifically 3000, which is the calendarless version of 3035). Among them, 14000 is still a polished bezel, and 14010 uses the “13-mark” bezel familiar to old players. There are 13 raised vertical bars on the bezel, as if the bezel has been marked with 13 marks. So it is commonly known as “Thirteen Planes”.

Rolex Airmaster 14000

Rolex Air-King 14000

Rolex Airmaster 14000

Rolex Air-King 14000

In 2001, the Air-King 14000 and its branch model 14010 were replaced with a new 3135 series movement (specifically 3130, that is, the version without calendar). Since then, the Air-King has reached the same level as the Rolex currently on sale in the movement. Replace the Air-King of the 31 series movement, the model adds an M, namely 14000M and 14010M.

In 2007, Air-King 114200 replaced 14,000.

In 2007, Rolex launched the Air-King 114200. Today, the 114200 still has a lot of circulation in the secondary market. It is also a modern air fighter that many players have encountered. The Air-King 114200 is still 34 mm in size and has a 3130 movement. The biggest change is that Rolex’s iconic Super Chronometer word SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED is already printed on the dial of the watch. It replaces the Precision (Chinese is accurate meaning) of the previous air tyrant. The 114200 is mainly a polished bezel, but at the same time, it also includes the 114210 with the “13 strokes” bezel and the 114234 with the “dog tooth ring”.

Rolex Airmaster 114200 "Record Pattern Disk"

Rolex Air-King 114200 “Record Pattern Disk”

Rolex Airmaster 114200 "color label"

Rolex Air-King 114200 “color label”

By the 114200 generation of Skymaster, Skymaster became very fashionable. Like the color discs, color labels, and color characters that old players are familiar with, the record pattern space fighter appeared in the 114200 generation. I was mainly in contact with this generation of air fighters. Even today, I still feel that many color models of 114200 are still fashionable, beautiful and absolutely out of date.

Rolex Airmaster 114234 "dog tooth ring record pattern"

Rolex Air-King 114234 “dog tooth ring record pattern”

In 2014, Rolex briefly discontinued the Air-King. The number 114200 does not belong to the air tyrant. Players familiar with Rolex know that the number 114200 now belongs to the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 34 mm. But 2 years later, Rolex launched a brand new Air-King 116900. This is the 40mm Air-King that Rolex is now selling.

Rolex Airmaster 114234 "Dog Tooth Ring Drilling"

Rolex Air-King 114234 “Dog Tooth Ring Drilling”

In 2016, the on-sale Air-King 116900 was born.

The new Air-King 116900 launched by Rolex in 2016 is the most significant update in the history of the Air-King. It can be said that the Air-King is reborn and effective. Skymaster 116900, the first time the size of Skymaster increased to 40 mm, reaching the modern mainstream size of Rolex sports watches. The 34mm size of Lao Kongba, placed today, is too small as a men’s watch and does not meet the current men’s watch standards. At the same time, the Air-King 116900 and the Rolex Green Glass Milgauss share the same case, and the Air-King 116900 also has an antimagnetic inner case.

Rolex Airmaster 116900

Rolex Air-King116900

Skymaster 116900 uses a new yellow-green color scheme, yellow Rolex crown, green ROLEX English lettering, green second hand, very fashionable, and replaced the iconic “Benz pointer” of Rolex sports watches. The dials 3, 6, and 9 of the watch are three-dimensional metal characters, and there is a luminous inverted triangle at 12 o’clock. The rest of the time scales on the disk are printed digital time scales, which are very attractive. In terms of movement, the Air-King 116900 is still the 3135 series movement (specifically 3131), reaching Rolex’s current Super Observatory standard, with a daily error of +2/-2 seconds (green tag standard).

Rolex Airmaster 116900

Rolex Air-King 116900

In the sale of the Air-King 116900, the public price is 50,000 (before 40,000 was close to 50,000, and it should be 50,000 after the price adjustment), it is still the lowest publicly priced sports watch on sale by Rolex. Skymaster 116900, the appearance value has been greatly improved, the final actual price (actual market), in the Rolex sports watch, is better, whether it is usually worn or bought for fun, it is good.

An air master in the history of Rolex printed with Domino's Pizza.

An air master in the history of Rolex printed with Domino’s Pizza.

Rolex history is printed with "Ferrari" air master.

Rolex history is printed with “Ferrari” air master.

The interesting thing about the Air-King is that the old Air-King often has some “company-customized models”, and some brand logos will be printed on the disk. It should be customized by some companies as “gifts” and “rewards” from Rolex.