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About the Quintessential Rolex Air-King

The Rolex Air-King was introduced to the market in 1958, but like so many other current Rolex models, its lineage can be traced back many years prior. The 1930s mark a period in history of air exploration and aviation achievement. The Houston Expedition took place in 1933 wherein Sir Douglas Douglas-Hamilton and David McIntyre piloted an open-cab plane over Mt. Everest for the first time. A second expedition over Mt. Everest took place one year later, and both times a Rolex watch was used for timekeeping onboard.

The release of the Air-King pays homage to these two and the many other expeditions of this time. The earlier models of the Air-King bear a resemblance to the Rolex Explorer with a similar 3, 6, 9 numeral layout. This dial layout helped to make the Explorer especially legible, and the thought-process was the same for the Air-King. Rolex distinguished the Air-King models from the Explorers by adding “Air-King” on the dial under the Rolex logo. This layout is still a characteristic that the Air-King and Explorer share to this day.

Characteristics of the Air-King

Over time, the Air-King has maintained a simple, clean look until 2007 when more colors and iterations of the Air-King were introduced. This timepiece withstands high altitudes and is anti-magnetic, a unique quality to the watch. It uses Rolex’s 3131 movement, which is the same movement used in the Milgauss. Because the Air-King is a pilot’s watch, it must be able to withstand magnetic flight instruments.

It features an Oysterclasp, and lume at the triangle at 12 o’clock, but not within the 3, 6, and 9 numerals, which can make it difficult to read in the dark. Discover popular pre-owned Air-King references such as the 14010 and 114200.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Rolex Air-King waterproof?

While the Rolex Air-King is not completely “waterproof,” it is water resistant up to 100 meters underwater. After wearing in salt water, be sure to rinse with fresh water to remove any sand and salt.

Is the Rolex Air-King worth buying?

The Air-King is one of Rolex’s oldest models, first introduced to the public in 1958. Compared to other Rolex models, it’s a great option for entry-level watch buyers who are looking for a Rolex in a lower price range. Because of the model’s simplicity, it’s incredibly versatile and can be worn daily.

How much is the Rolex Air-King?

The Rolex Air-King varies in price, ranging anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000. Pricing for pre-owned models is likely to change overtime depending on quantity and demand.

Is a Rolex Air-King hard to find?

The Rolex Air-King is not as difficult to find as other favorite Rolex models like the Submariner and Sea-Dweller. However, the Air-King is becoming more difficult to find since it was discontinued in 2020.

Is the Rolex Air-King discontinued?

The Rolex Air-King ref. 116900 is still available to purchase for watch collectors who are looking for a pre-owned model.

What is the Rolex Air-King Domino's watch?

Dominos ran a sales challenge for their franchisees, where the winner received a Rolex Air-King 14000 Domino's Pizza watch. Domino’s began giving their franchises these customized Rolexes in 1977. Today, these watches are one-of-a-kind collectibles, worth more than other vintage Air-Kings.

Air-King Pricing Guide