Rolex has a long-running background in aviation that extends back to the 1930s. A duration some refer to as the golden era of aviation. When intrepid travelers took to the skies to browse their method around the earth. Essential to their success was a reliable chronometer watch. And a couple of made them better than Rolex. For instance, in 1933 Houston Exploration made the first-ever to complete Everest. Aboard were Oyster watches. There are lots of various other such examples.

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It’s no surprise then that the Rolex Air-King also has a fascinating backstory. It started life as a component of the aviation-inspired “Air” series. A unique collection of watches was introduced in 1945 by the Rolex creator, Hans Wilsdorf. The same year the Rolex Datejust made its launching. British RAF pilots valued the chronometer precision they used. And also, paid out of their own pocket to upgrade from their common issue pieces. Designs consisted of the Air-Lion, Air-Giant, as well as Air-Tiger.

At the end of the battle, Rolex created the Air-King as a tribute to the pilots that dealt with in the Battle of Britain. The large, for the time, 34mm instance and straightforward dial layout were a hit. Also, the Rolex Air-King soon became prominent with pilots. In 1957, Rolex presented the Ref 5500 Air-King. That version remained in manufacturing for the following 37 years. Prior to receiving a refresh with the Ref 1400, which introduced a sapphire crystal. Also, a new activity. In 2007, Rolex launched Ref 114200. The first Air-King to be COSC-certified.

The Rolex Air-King Ref 116900

In 2014, Rolex took the choice to quit production of the Air-King. With the Oyster Perpetual taking its place as the brand’s entry-level steel sporting activity watch. The factors for this choice are unclear. Its possible sales were underperforming. Or that Rolex officers had problems regarding cannibalizing sales from the Oyster Perpetual. Anyway, the expatriation didn’t last long. Two years later, the Rolex Air-King was back. With an opinion-dividing makeover and a more eye-catching proposal.