Thank you for tuning into our Rolex NoteWorthy series!
We’ll be posting regular reviews of the classic Rolex watch models that merit a special in-depth mention because of their distinguished history and iconic status. We’re beginning with the Rolex Air-King, one of the most popular Rolex watches of all time.
Rolex Air-King History
The history of the Rolex Air-King is one of daring and courage. It is the longest continuously manufactured watches made by Rolex. Originally called the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, it was used during WWII by RAF fighter pilots who relied on the easy visibility of its large, 34 mm dial and clearly marked numerals while flying their dangerous missions. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, so admired the brave British pilots who were wearing this watch that he decided to re-name it the Air-King in their honor. It was released in 1945, joining the Air-Lion, Air-Giant, and Air-Tiger, all created to commemorate the RAF pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain. The Air-King is the last of the “Air” watches still in production.
Rolex Air-King Review
Though often considered an “entry-level” choice in the Rolex line-up because of it modest price tag, the Air-King nevertheless does not skimp on quality. It incorporates all the classic lines, advanced technology and high quality craftsmanship that are synonymous with the Rolex name. Ironically, now considered small at 34 mm, its robust yet streamlined construction makes it a hugely popular choice to this day for both men and women. It features Rolex’s legendary in-house manufactured 3130 oyster perpetual, self-winding movement, designed to harness the energy of natural wrist movements to provide a reliable source of power. If moved at least once every 48 hours, the Air-King will continue to run without needing to be wound. The movement is housed in a 904L waterproof case with twin-lock screw crown. The Air-King is COSC certified and water resistant up to 100 meters (300 feet). Wearable and simple – the Rolex Air-King is a timeless classic, battle tough and practical to the end. Pre-owned Air-Kings are much sought after, and are often seen with colorful after-market dials.
Rolex Air King Price
The current (MSRP) retail price for a Rolex Air-King is $5,050 with the smooth bezel (model reference # 114200) and $6200 with a white gold bezel (model reference #114234).
Rolex Air-King Colors/Configurations
The Rolex Air-King is available in a wide variety of dial colors and bezels including, silver, white, black, blue – and the original salmon color. Stainless steel is the most popular metal used for this watch, however it is also available in white gold or gold plated. You will often see a Rolex Air-King with a colorful new dial, replacing the original one. Although attractive, this may lessen its re-sale value.
Rolex Air-King NoteWorthy Facts:
The Rolex Air-King is often nicknamed the “Warrior Watch” because of its history in battle.
The standard Rolex Air-King has no date aperture.
Rolex Air-King NoteWorthy Owners:
U.S. Senator John McCain
Actress Jennifer Aniston wore hers in the movie “Picture Perfect”
Rolex Air-King Serial Numbers
- 4925 Introduced in 1945 Cal 10.5′
- 4365 Introduced in 1945 Cal 10.5′
- 4499 Introduced in 1946 Cal 10.5′
- 6552 Introduced in 1953 Cal 1030
- 5500 Introduced in 1957 Cal 1520/1530
- 14000 Introduced in 1989 Cal 3000
- 14010 Introduced in 1989 Cal 3000 (Engine Turned Bezel)
- 14000M Introduced in 2000 Cal 3130
- 14010M Introduced in 2000 Cal 3130 (Engine Turned Bezel)
- 114200 Introduced in 2007 Cal 3130 (Smooth Bezel, COSC)
- 114210 Introduced in 2007 Cal 3130 (Engine Turned Bezel, COSC, Discontinued)
- 114234 Introduced in 2007 Cal 3130 (White Gold Fluted Bezel, COSC)
550X for the US, UK, and Commonwealth Markets
- 5520 Introduced in 1974 until 1986 34mm Gold Filled Case, Steel Case Back Cal 1520
- 5504 Introduced in 1958 Cal 1530 (35mm)
- 5501 Introduced 1958 Cal 1530 (Two-Tone Fluted Bezel 14k)
- 5502 Introduced 1958 Cal 1530 (Gold Plated 40 Microns)
- 5506 Introduced 1958 Cal 1530 (Gold Plated 40 Microns)
If you currently own an Air-King and would like to sell it, we can help!
If you are looking to expand your collection and buy a Rolex watch, it is important that you know how to spot a fake Rolex, and make sure that you buy a genuine certified watch.