Baselworld 2016: Rolex Air-King

Rolex Air-King

The new Air-King polarises a lot. Some like it, some find it simply ugly. Have a look and tell me what you think…


I belong to those who like the new Rolex Air-King. Why? It is a watch for younger people priced at only 5900 CHF including taxes. The watch combines a more audacious design with the most advanced technology available at Rolex. The movement is hermetically shielded by a soft iron inner-case against magnetic fields. The diameter of the 904L-steel-case is 40 mm, it is waterproof up to 100 meters. The movement is precise to -2/+2 seconds per day and certified as a Superlative chronometer and has a power reserve of 48 hours. It is a 4 Hz-calibre equipped with Parachrom balance-spring.


Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King
Rolex Air-King







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33 replies on “Baselworld 2016: Rolex Air-King”
  1. says: Chris Durso

    The hermetic property of the watch has to do with its water resistance and has nothing to do with its anti-magnetic properties. The watch is hermetically sealed against water ingress and the soft iron shield helps protect it against magnetic fields. That’s the technical stuff.

    As for the aesthetics, I don’t care for it.

  2. A wonderful discussion guys, please keep the comments coming! My opinion ha not changed: The more I see the watch, the more I like it! And the price is hot! 5900 CHF including 8 % VAT in Switzerland!

  3. says: Richard

    I love this take on the Air-King, especially the pops of color, the specialty-watch hands, and the larger case. (The case height appears to have been scaled up properly, in this instance.) Sort of a cousin to the Milguass. And the price (around $6,700 U.S.?) is right.

  4. says: Yves

    In my opinion, they did to the Air King what they should have done to the Explorer I. I really like the design and I agree that it could appeal to a younger clientele. Rolex simply made the change to the wrong collection.

  5. says: Ali

    overall, the design of the new Air King is beautiful, but including this model within the rest of Rolex’s series would be a mess, may be a big mess

    I think two mistakes Rolex did with this model, first , jumping from 34mm case to 40mm is an exaggerator step, I believe it would be enough to make it 39mm. secondly, replacing the hands, similar to sports models, as submariner and others , would change the identity of Air King model, this model would compete and confuse the choice of customers, specially when they comparing it with the new Explorer I !!!!!

    does any body agree with my point?

  6. says: Gabe Wong

    The author says he is one of the ones who like the new Air-King, but the reasons stated for this are price, and inside (invisible from outside) features.. No design upsides are stated. The reason most of us dislike this watch is that we, recognising the merits of what’s under the proverbial hood, wonder why in the world couldn’t Rolex offer something with the same inner-workings BUT objectively better aesthetics. C’mon… how many more font types and information display styles does it take for a watch publication to recognise the clutter of a mess that is the dial of this sad excuse for a luxury watch? We just hate it because it’s ugly. So much work on the movement and technical steps forward to fumble on the packaging.

  7. says: David Swayze

    I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I love the new Air King. The Rolex green hand and text set this watch apart and that is what I like. Compared to the new Explorer released at the same time, the Air King looks new and exciting. The Explorer looks, well, boring next to the Air King. I have my fair share of black dial/white text and hands watches, but I like to see the traditionally staid Rolex mix it up.

  8. says: Terry L. Gruver

    My first Rolex was a Air King and I am sorry I traded it for a Submariner, but I agree with Ness. I feel that the words Rolex Air King on the face would have been enough. The rest of the information could be inscribed on the back.

  9. says: Ness

    I am a Rolex person but feel that just the words “Rolex Air King” would have sufficed; the other litany can be inscribed on the back. I also prefer Roman letters.

  10. says: Debashish

    I was under the impression that Rolex had withdrawn the Air-King from the market, as I have not seen any retailer, who has Air-King in their stock.

  11. says: George S. James

    Congratulations to Rolex for upgrading the Air King to the unique entry model any owner will be proud to own and for reminding the world of Rolex interest in aviation decades before the Rolex GMT-Master.

    Keep up your excellent articles Alex—–

    Best Wishes—-

    George James

  12. says: Jim Wurzburger

    I really like it. I would prefer the numbers remain consistent with 15,30,45 as opposed to 3,6,9. It’s a departure for Rolex but overall it works. Totally agree with Paco, resurrection of classic models would be fantastic! I really enjoyed the surprise of seeing the Air King this year.

    1. says: Amir

      I agree with you that Rolex should have included “15, 30, 45” instead of “3, 6, 9”. In fact, that may be my only gripe with the design! I l don’t mind the yellow crown, green text and green second hand. And of course, it’s a welcome resurrection of the Air King name… But as it stands right now, I have to say the watch is ugly. (And I’m a Rolex owner by the way.)

  13. says: Marco

    Hello together,

    is it still possible to buy the watch. my dealer in germany told me that you cant buy the watch before October?

    Thank you and regard Marco

  14. says: Frederic

    Is spite of all the fives on that dial, this should of course have read “dive” into the parts bin.

  15. says: Mike R

    As usual, Rolex have tried to cram too much text and logo onto the dial. Anyone who cares, knows what is it! Surely just ROLEX would be sufficient? How about they settle on Rolex and Air King – the rest is superfluous guff!

    1. says: Kevin

      Please tell me where Rolex tried to cram too much text or anything for that matter onto a dial? I think you may be confusing them with Brietling. And like stated in previous comments, the dial is inspired by the Bloodhound project. In my opinion, this is opening the door for customers looking for a modern watch with the reliability and integrity of a Rolex.

  16. says: Frederic

    I do get the Bloudhound thing and I think its great to honor this with a new model, but quite frankly this one has a bit of an aftertaste to it. Can’t help but think this was a bit of a five into the parts bin. Recycled milgauss case, recycled explorer numbers… Nothing really new. Would have been great to have that Bloudhound SSC subdial or something like that…

  17. says: eugene maggi

    Hi Alexander,
    I must thank you and also congratulate you on the clarity and detail shown in your phtographs.
    Can you recommend any retailers that can sell these watches at the price indicated in the article reference Rolex Air-King 2016?
    Always look forward to receiving your news letters,keep up the good work.

    Kind regards

    Eugene Maggi. Formerly of Manchester,now resident in Spain.

  18. says: Scott

    I am really happy to see what Rolex has done with the new Air-King. This is a watch that will serve as the entry point to Rolex for many young people. The 40mm case is perfect and the color combo and addition of the Mercedes hour hand help the watch to be both sporty and youthful. The new Air-King keeps the aviation roots of the watch alive, and cannot be mistaken for your Dad’s Rolex.

  19. says: paco candano

    I do like it, and see the beloved AIR-KING version alive is very nice indeed!

    Rolex should resurrect other versions of yore, like “METROPOLITAN”, “EVEREST” “AIR TIGER” etc….

  20. says: paco candano

    I believe it is based on an instrument used in the BLOODHOUND SSC:


    “The BLOODHOUND Project is preparing to break the World Land Speed Record in 2016 with a jet and rocket-powered supersonic car capable of achieving the astonishing speed of 1,000 mph (1,609 km/h). Actively supported by Rolex, this high-technology project is driven by an educational challenge: to stimulate interest in science and engineering around the globe, in the same manner as space exploration and other technological feats inspired a whole new generation of scientists and technicians.

    Shaped to defy extreme aerodynamic forces at 1,000 mph (1,609 km/h), BLOODHOUND SSC’s slender body is almost 14 metres long with two front wheels within the body and two rear wheels mounted externally within wheel fairings. This pioneering blend of car and aircraft technology weighs nearly 8 tonnes fully fuelled, and harnesses the power of three engines – jet, rocket and internal combustion – that produce more than 135,000 horsepower – the equivalent of 180 Formula 1® racing cars. Cutting-edge technologies and materials were deployed in its design and manufacturing. “

  21. says: Tom

    Hi Alexander, I rarely agree with you on Rolex watches, but this time I do.
    I like the watch a lot. I like the 3,6,9 dial, I like the size (although I think it could be 38mm), I even like the colours – green and yellow. It gives the watch some extra spice – it is not as monochromatic as most s/s Rolexes.
    In a nutshell a good design that, certainly, is going to appeal to younger generation of buyers.
    I, also, am happy that Rolex brought back the “Air King”- its splendid history speaks for itself.

    1. says: George S. James

      Congratulations to Rolex for upgrading the Air King to the unique entry model any owner will be proud to own and for reminding the world of Rolex interest in aviation decades before introduction of the Rolex GMT-Master.

      Keep up your excellent articles Alex—-

      With best wishes—

      George James

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