Rolex has caused major waves this year at BaselWorld 2016 with their all new Rolex Air-King. This gorgeous timepiece is surprisingly humdrum, with no special materials and no siloxi hairspring. Nevertheless, the Air-King has a remarkable sensory-overload dial and may even be the busiest model Rolex has ever reveled.
The new Oyster Perpetual Air-King features a black dial as standard, which surprised many fans because it was typically available in black or white. The action on the standard dial is very thick, with a Chromalight triangle marker at the 12 o’clock spot, white gold is also applied in Arabic numerals at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. All other markers are in a graduated 5-minute scale, from 5 to 55 minutes, making for an extraordinary use of the numeric method.
A few obvious modifications include a newer and larger size, with the 2016 model that comes in at 40mm, (older models were only 34mm). This change makes it incredibly obvious, even if it somehow went adrift in the process. Rolex uses white gold hands instead of the old baton hands, which are made to evoke Rolex’s aviation heritage, as it is also reflected in the GMT Master series. The inspiration for the Air King comes from the watches supplied to the aviators on the first flight above Mount Everest, which occurred in the 1930s and the first London-Melbourne flight. The translucent triangle at 12 o’clock is not just a casual symbol to the world of aviation or some newcomer to the watch industry. The first Rolex Air-King watches appeared in the 1950s, with it’s distinctive “Air-King” lettering still displayed on the dial so don’t get the wrong idea about the specific heritage of this model.
The Air Kings specs include: a power reserve of 48 hours, water resistant to 100 meters, an automatic Rolex caliber 3131 movement, 904L steel material and a flat three piece linked Oyster bracelet. As always with aviation-minded watches, the movement is impervious to magnetic perturbations, as well the automatic caliber 3131, which uses the parachrom hairspring which is anti-magnetic. The new Air-King combines all current models in being exceedingly precise, to the tune of +2/-2 seconds per day, a performance that is personally guaranteed by Rolex for five years. Lastly, the oyster linked strap gives the wearer an extremely stylish look.
The Air-King of 2016 evokes all of the traits Rolex stands for. However Looking at the unusual aesthetic choices Rolex has chosen here, adopting both the vintage look of tool watches of the past and the busy style popularized today, the brand may be looking at a totally new audience. We think that the aesthetics will see refinement in the near future, so look forward for this new and improved Rolex model.
For more information visit: Rolex Air-King