The history of Rolex Air King

Rolex Air King watches

At the end of the Second World War, Hans Wilsdorf decided to create a new collection of Rolex watches, the Air-King, as a tribute to the Royal Air Force. The first Air-King, the Ref 4365 model, was created in 1945 and featured a particularly small second hand at 6 o'clock. Many other models were released until 1957. The Ref 5500, an iconic model, marked an aesthetic turn in the Air-King collection. Its characteristics are as follows:

  • Oyster case with screwed back and crowns
  • sleek dial
  • central second hand
  • absence of date (although there are some exceptions)
In 1989, Rolex released the Ref 14000 model featuring a Rolex 3000 Caliber. In 2000, this model was revamped into the Ref 14000M, which was then equipped with the Rolex 3130 Caliber (for improved automatic winding efficiency). Unveiled at the 2016 Basel Show, the new Ref 116900 model beautifully highlights the links of the Air-King with aviation and, for the first time, features some colour on the dial.
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