Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King, reference 116900–71200 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King, reference 116900–71200 © Rolex

Baselworld 2016: Rolex Air-King Featured

A new Rolex Air-King shows how the pilot’s watch this year is an important theme for many brands.


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22 March 2016

The Air-King dates back to the mid-1930s when Rolex made a series of watches specifically for pilots, supplanted in 1945 by the first Air-King. At that time it was a relatively small 34 mm watch, and it remained in the Rolex catalogue until 2014. This year it has been relaunched, at Baselworld 2016 in Switzerland, with a 40mm steel case and a dial design that is far closer to the pilot’s watch genre than all the previous Air-King models, which had baton hour markers and the Rolex crown at 12 o’clock. The new Air-King has applied white gold numerals at 3, 6 and 9, and an applied triangle at 12 o’clock. The triangle and hands are coated in Rolex’s proprietary luminous paint Chromalight.

22Air King 116900 001Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King

Inside, the self-winding Calibre 3131 movement has all the features of Rolex’s watchmaking technology, including the anti-magnetic Parachrom hairspring and escapement. The movement is COSC-certified, and then the entire watch is tested by Rolex’s in-house Superlative Chronometer Certification that examines precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self-winding efficiency. The watch attains a precision of -2/+2 seconds per day, about twice better than the precision certified by COSC. The Certification is accompanied by a 5-year guarantee.

Related: Baselworld 2016: Ulysse Nardin Grand Deck Marine Tourbillon

Rolex buildings 07The new Rolex production building in Bienne, Switzerland

Related: Baselworld 2016: the Omega Globemaster revolution

The case provides 10 bar water resistance, 100 metres in water, meaning that you can keep it on while swimming and showering. Inside, a soft iron inner case forms a Faraday cage protecting the movement from magnetic fields. The solid-link steel Oyster bracelet includes the Easylink rapid extension system that enables the user to easily increase bracelet length by about 5 mm.