WHY WE LOVE IT
The Air-King is an oddball in the modern Rolex catalog, but its roots are nothing short of fascinating.
Legend has it that during the Second World War, British aviators in the RAF were sometimes known to purchase Rolex Oyster watches for use as personal timepieces, and that certain of these may even have seen combat during the Battle of Britain. Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf then named a series of watches after these intrepid warriors of the skies, with monikers such as Air-Tiger, Air-Lion, Air-Giant, and Air-King. The Air-King is the only model name to have survived through the decades, and lives on the current Reference 126900 — the first to add crown guards.
The particular Air-King we have here, a Reference 116900, is from the generation predating the current model, and lacks crown guards. Released in 2016, it constituted a design refresh for the model family, taking inspiration from vintage dashboard clocks but maintaining the signature “Air King” script on the dial.
This 116900 is housed in a 40mm stainless steel Oyster case with a sapphire crystal, a signed crown, and a polished bezel. It features a glossy black dial with printed and applied Arabic indices with a luminous 12:00 triangular index, a matching ‘Mercedes’ handset, and a green ‘lollipop’ seconds hand. Powered by the automatic, chronometer-certified Rolex Calibre 3131 movement with a 48-hour power reserve, it comes paired to a stainless steel Oyster bracelet with Oysterclasp and Rolex's fantastic Easylink system.
Accompanied by factory stickering throughout and a Rolex box, this is an important Rolex reference, and the last before a major design change brought the Air-King in line with its other Professional models via the inclusion of crown guards.
Don’t sleep on it!
The case is in outstanding, as-new condition showing only faint signs of wear from careful handling. Luminous gloss black dial with applied quadrant 'Arabic' indices is in as-new condition with matching handset. Signed crown.
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