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the same and more “Professional”

March 2016, Rolex presented in Basel and against all odds, a new Air-King that paid tribute to aviation. Six years later, the Geneva-based manufacturer is re-releasing this model (ref 126900) in a revisited version which places this watch more prominently within the “Professional” collections, in particular with its revisited 40 mm steel case.



Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King: the same and more "Professional"

When this watch was presented in 2016, everyone believed that this Air-King referred to the Bloodhound concept car of which Rolex was a partner, so close was the on-board clock of this racing car to the design of this Air-King . Nay! In reality, this timepiece, as its name suggests, pays homage to the pioneers of aviation and above all, to the role of the Rolex Oyster in the conquest of the air!

However, this entry-level model in the “Professional” has never really met its audience. Never really, shall we say, took off despite its homage to the air! This year, therefore, Rolex is presenting a brand new version of this Air-King which remains generally similar with, however, major differences.

First evidence: the case has been completely redesigned: in fact, it incorporates a shoulder to protect the crown (a “small” detail but which makes the watch more present on the wrist) and features straight case sides, on the Like the case of the majority of models in the Professional category. There is a relatively thick and much rounder case.


Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King: the same and more "Professional"

The one that we still find on the Milgauss which could also suffer the same fate in the years to come. Case to follow.

This new-generation Oyster case retains its 40 mm diameter and is guaranteed water-resistant to 100 meters. Its middle is crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel, a corrosion-resistant alloy. Its bottom edged with fine grooves is hermetically screwed using a special tool; only watchmakers authorized by Rolex can thus access the movement.

The Twinlock winding crown, fitted with a double waterproofness system, is screwed onto the case which is moreover more visible than it no longer accommodates a soft iron (antimagnetic) back thanks to the arrival of the caliber 3230 whose components are antimagnetic. So, no more need for specific protection.

Another point of difference: the dial. We notice in fact, the addition of a zero in front of the 5 which allows a better balancing of the whole. When you take a look at the old version, you can see it immediately! On the other hand, this new generation Air‑King has an optimized Chromalight display, guaranteeing maximum readability in the dark.


Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King: the same and more "Professional"

As such, the hands and the triangular index at 12 o’clock are covered or filled with this new luminescent material which offers prolonged emission intensity. The numerals 3, 6 and 9 (as on the Explorer incidentally), previously entirely in 18 ct white gold, are now also visible in the dark thanks to this innovative material exclusive to Rolex.

The name “Air-King” is inscribed on the dial, from the launch of the watch in 1958, in specific characters found on this contemporary model. We also notice its green seconds hand which obviously recalls the emblematic color of the brand.

This Air‑King is equipped with caliber 3230 (vs. 3131 in the previous model), a movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex, unveiled in 2020 and introduced on the model in 2022. This automatic winding “engine” has been several patent applications.


Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King: the same and more "Professional"

It incorporates the patented Chronergy escapement, which combines high energy efficiency with great operational safety. Made of nickel-phosphorus, this escapement is insensitive to magnetic fields.

This movement also includes an optimized version of the blue Parachrom hairspring, produced by Rolex in a paramagnetic alloy which also makes it up to ten times more precise than a traditional hairspring in the event of shocks. The blue Parachrom hairspring is also equipped with a Rolex terminal curve, which ensures the regularity of the rate in all positions. The oscillator is mounted on high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, developed by Rolex and patented, which give the movement increased resistance to shocks.

Caliber 3230 is powered by a Perpetual rotor automatic winding module. Thanks to the architecture of its barrel and the superior performance of its escapement, it has a power reserve of approximately 70 hours (vs. 48 hours for the 2016 version).


Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King: the same and more "Professional"

Like all Rolexes, the Air‑King benefits from the Superlative Chronometer certification, redefined by Rolex in 2015. This title certifies that each watch that leaves the brand’s workshops has successfully undergone a series of tests carried out by Rolex in its own laboratories and according to its own criteria, following the official certification of its movement by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).

Internal certification tests cover the watch as a whole, once the movement is cased, so that its superlative performance on the wrist in terms of precision, water resistance, automatic winding and autonomy is guaranteed. Accuracy is thus of the order of –2/+2 seconds per day – the variation in rate tolerated by the brand for a finished watch is much lower than that admitted by the COSC for the official certification of the movement alone.

The status of Superlative Chronometer is symbolized by the green seal with which each Rolex watch is associated and is accompanied by a five-year international guarantee.

Another novelty: the Oyster bracelet, equipped with an Oysterlock safety clasp with folding clasp, designed by Rolex and patented, also anchors this watch in the world of “Professionals”. It has the Easylink quick comfort extension which makes it easy to adjust its length by about 5 mm (practical in case of hot weather when the wrist tends to swell).


Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King: the same and more "Professional"


Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King: the same and more "Professional"


Luxury-watches.com | Posted on March 31, 2022 | Read 12614 times


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