The Rolex watch Air-King has probably the most complex histories associated with a Rolex watch model spanning nearly 70 many years of continuous production. Throughout World War II, Rolex watch would supply their SpeedKing or any other specified model on credit to British POWs. Because the war came to some close, Rolex watch founder, Hendes Wilder, made a decision to recognition the RAF aircraft pilots from the Fight of England with a number of aviation designed watches. The “Air” series incorporated the environment-Lion, Air-Giant, Air-Tiger, not to mention the environment-King. Today, just the Air-King remains.
The very first true Air-King has been around since 1945 using the 4925. The 4925 was the follow-onto the 4365 number of “Air” models. For that worldwide market the progression was in the 4925/4365 (sub-seconds), 4499, 6552, 5500, 14000, 14000m, then finally the super cased 114200. In 1958, however, another line developed individually for particular marketplaces. These incorporated the environment-King-Date and also the 550X models for that Commonwealth market. Simultaneously the 5504 Explorer 35mm situation was utilized for that Air-King too. This reference to be the only 35mm Air-King up to now. To create matters more complicated, the 5500 situation was utilized for the Air-King and Explorer. This, obviously, is not the finish from the Air-King/Explorer connection but with regard to clearness we’ll leave that for an additional discussion.
The models preceding the 5500, except for the 6552, used Hunter actions. Rolex watch continuously released new reference amounts because they refined the environment-King line. The 6552, introduced in 1953, can be viewed as a transitional model towards the 5500 because they appear much the same.
The 5500 has been around since 1957 and used a quality 1520 or 1530 movement but because of import laws and regulations, the jewels were reduced within the 1520. The 1520 was either 17 (US market) or 26 jewels. The 1530 had 17, 25 or 26 jewel variants. The movement type was denoted around the dial using the text Precision or no text for that 1520 and Super Precision for that 1530. Many dials were utilized throughout the lengthy 37 year production run. Today, many are very rare, such as the double red-colored. This dial was an earlier production dial using the words Air-King and Super Precision in red-colored.
Following the 5500s lengthy and mostly unchanged 37 year run, the environment-King line was upgraded to some azure very and new cal 3000 movement. This new Air-King was rechristened using the reference number 14000. Rejuvenated versions from the 5500 dials transported up with new 3/6/9 Explorer style dials following soon after. This reference also marked the development of the engine switched bezel, reference 14010. The 14000 series received the cal 3130 movement in 2000 and also the change was noted within the reference number using the letter M for Modified.
The 14000 series turned into the 1142XX in 2007. This reference series would be a full facelift for that AirKing. New concentric dials were added, the situation grew to become thicker in the lugs, along with a completely new machined Oyster bracelet changed the 78350. The engine switched bezel was maintained but dropped only a few years later. A white gold or platinum fluted bezel grew to become a choice the very first time. Also, the 1142XX was the very first Air-King to get COSC certification. These changes required the environment-King line firmly in to the modern Rolex watch range before the majority of the more famous Rolex watch cousins like the Submariner.
The photo below shows a contemporary Rolex watch Air-King having a 34mm whitened dial alongside having a standard black dial 36mm Rolex watch Explorer.