More than any other Rolex watch, the Air-King has had a divisive reign. Especially after the update in 2016, the Rolex Air-King gained a few die-hard followers as well as its fair share of naysayers. The Air-King is a watch with a clear Rolex pedigree that is sometimes still treated as the black sheep of the family. Critics never fail to note that it has a Milgauss case and an Explorer-style dial. Is there a way the Air-King can break free from comparisons and capture an audience with its own unique appeal? Here are three reasons you should consider an Air-King, even if you haven’t before.
Comparisons to other watches aside, there’s a way in which the Air King really departs from the Rolex aesthetic in a playful, captivating way. The green accents it gained in 2016 really updated its look to reflect current tastes and trends. Yet, it retains the classic Air-King font as a nod to its mid-century modern style roots.
It’s afun watch, and that levity and brashness can be hard to come by with Rolex. The brand is so heavily weighted with tradition and legacy that a sense of play isn’t always present. Rolex usually saves its experimenting and boundary pushing for Tudor watches, so it’s nice to see Rolex take some risks on a reference with a fair bit of history. It shows that Rolex isn’t too precious about its references, and that’s refreshing.
The primary criticism levied against the Air King is that its derivative. Yet, what some people see as a flaw is actually a true advantage. If you love both the Milgauss and the Explorer, now there’s no reason to choose between them. With the Air-King, you can rock a 40mm magnetic resistant case with an iron cageand embrace the look of the Explorer dial. There are even some advantages of the Air-King dial over the Explorer. The classic font of the 3-6-9 on the Explorer dial is leveled-up on the Air-King. The numerals are applied in white gold, giving them a unique sheen that changes in different lighting. The Explorer has a busier lume profile, which isn’t always preferable in low-light situations. If you prefer a subtle lume, the Air-King only has luminosity on all hands and the triangle at 12 o’clock.
Like all Rolexes, the design, function, and movement of the Air-King makes it a smart investment for a stainless steel Rolex. Its unconventional case and dial will likely make it even more valuable in the years to come. Yet underneath the bright green accents and retro font, you get an antimagnetic Caliber 3131 automatic movement. It includes the paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring, a paramagnetic escape wheel. The entire movement is encapsulated by a dual magnetic shield, making it impervious to magnetic interference from medical technology, air travel, and mobile devices. It’s COSC-certified with a 48-hour power reserve and a precision rating of -2/+2 seconds per day. People who love Air-Kings want the high performance of a Rolex chronometer with a more playful aesthetic than Rolex normally embraces.
Speaking Of Playful Aesthetics...
Rolex Oyster bracelets are great for tasting menus and series-A funding pitches, but sometimes, you want a more casual look. An Everest Bands rubber strap on your Rolex can change the entire feel of your watch. Try a black strap on a Rolex Air-King to highlight the black dial. Or, use a green strap on the Rolex Air-King to make the color of the hands pop.
Written by Meghan Clark
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