Inspired by the watch that first captured hearts around the world in the 1930s, the Rolex Air-King is an anti-magnetic chronometer that pays homage to the brand’s aviation roots.
In its early years, Rolex made international headlines when its original Rolex Oyster made its way onto the wrists of some of the world’s most famed explorers and adventurers—including the first pilots to fly over Mt. Everest (D.F. McIntyre and Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, aka Lord Clydesdale) in 1933. This 40mm Air-King recalls the pioneering spirit of the time with a host of technical and aesthetic features that make it a watch worthy of today.
The movement, the caliber 3131 self-winding mechanical, is made in house and is equipped with high-tech materials, including an escape wheel made of a nickel-phosphorous alloy that makes the watch highly anti-magnetic. It also features a patented hairspring, located in the oscillator, made of Parachrom—an alloy exclusive to Rolex that possess extreme stability when exposed to temperature variations—and its Twinlock waterproof system makes it water resistant to 100 meters. What's more, in addition to passing the rigorous testing that renders this movement a COSC-certified chronometer, the Air-King holds the brand’s own Superlative Chronometer Certification, meaning that it also passed further testing in the Rolex workshops after being cased.
Crafted from a monobloc of steel, the watch features a rich black dial with white hands and numerals that exude a blue luminescence in the dark for easy readability. The Rolex crown logo is rendered in bright yellow with the Rolex name and center seconds hand in bold green for a striking contrast. In another nod to the watch’s heritage, the “Air-King” name is written on the dial in the same typeface as the 1950s version of the timepiece. Blending the perfect amount of past and present, heritage and innovation, this Rolex it nothing short of a collector’s item. Price: $6,200; rolex.com.
For more aviation inspired luxury watches for men, see our reviews of the Vacheron Constantin World Time Overseas and Breitling Transocean Day Date Limited Edition watch.