Some thought this model line had come to an end, but Rolex has just brought it back for Baselworld 2016. Many have come to expect Rolex not to be much of a trendsetter, due to their conservative approach towards marketing. More often than not they let others lead the way, but when they do “follow”, they always bring it up a notch. Introducing the new “Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King”.
Many of the complaints and desires of Rolex aficionados was to see a bigger diameter Air-King. The 34mm of this originally launched in 1945 watch was just too small for current fashion trends. But the brand heard the demands and has obliged. And after two-years of being dropped from the Rolex catalog, it has returned with the requested update. The now 40mm Oyster case is made of 904L stainless-steel, with a fluted caseback hermetically sealed. The Twinlock double waterproofness system and screw-down crown assist and keeping the watch water-resistant up to 100 meters (330 feet).
The black dial is rather shinny and exhibits white Arabic numerals in a varied manner; with a triangular index marker at the 12 o’clock position, but then we have a mixture of: hour numbers with minute numbers. There is a 3, 6, 9 with 5, 10, 20, 25, 35, 40, 50, 55 cutting between them. The hour and minute hands are also white with a SuperLumiNova coating, while the seconds hand is green. The overall black and white color scheme is only interrupted by that second’s hand, as well as the Rolex logo in green and the crown over it in yellow. Also maintains the iconic “Air-King” lettering on the dial, with the original 1950’s font type.
This reboot seems more like a hybrid between the: “Rolex Milgauss” case design and a black “Rolex Explorer I” dial. Instead of the more conservative, modest vintage look we were accustomed to see the “Air-King” showcase in previous editions. Not everyone might appreciate the mixed hour and minute markers. But, since it’s a time-only watch, after the initial impact, legibility is quite good and straightforward. And the price-tag on this timepiece, can very well make it a great entry-level watch for many horology enthusiasts.
Video courtesy of: Rolex
This “Rolex Air-King” (Ref#: 116900) is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement, caliber 3131, with 31 jewels and 28,800 vph. Also features a: patented blue Perachrom hairspring and a paramagnetic escape wheel made from nickel-phosphorus. Power reserve on this timepiece can last up to 48 hours. This watch is also COSC certified and passed the Rolex Superlative Chronometer certification. Mounted to the watch is a solid-link Oyster bracelet in 904L steel with a folding Oysterclasp, which features the Rolex-patented Easylink rapid extension system. This allows the bracelet length to be easily increased by approximately 5mm, for additional comfort.
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