Rolex Air King

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SKU AS02141
SKU AS02141

Why We Love it

In the world of vintage Rolex, there exists a gulf between watches on the lower end of Rolex’s pricing spectrum, and those on the higher end. For example, the Air King inhabits the lower end, squarely on terra firma, while the “Bao Dai” Triple Calendar is up in the clouds. So when many collectors wish to wade into the vast and deep sea that is vintage Rolex, they might opt for the Air King.

And this, we think, is not a bad thing at all.

Because each Rolex, regardless of its price point, is made with the care and attention to detail that were Hans Wilsdorf’s driving principles when he founded the company in the 1900s. This is due to the Oyster case, the bedrock of every Rolex (except for the Cellini) since the 1920s. Wilsdorf’s need to create a watch that could be worn—and enjoyed—in all conditions meant that a Rolex could be worn by anyone.

Launched in 1945, the Air King was one in a series of watches released to honor the RAF pilots who defended the island against the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain. After the war, spirits were riding high in “their finest hour,” and the fighter pilots were the heroes to whom everyone in England looked for inspiration. As an ardent lover of his adopted land, swept up in patriotic fervor, Wilsdorf’s company released models with names like Air-Lion, Air-Tiger, and Air-Giant.

Wilsdorf meant the Air-King to be worn by pilots, and many companies like Pan Am did indeed choose the Air King as a presentation watch for retiring pilots.

The Air-King went through many different variations throughout the model’s long run. The example that we offer here is a Reference 5500, which was first launched in 1957 and ran for 37 years. Compared to the earlier Air-Kings, which used Hunter movements, the Reference 5500 was the first to be equipped with the Calibre 1520 movement.

The Air-King that we offer here is a stunner. Dating from the 1980s, it possesses a champagne dial that is simply delicious. On a 78350/557 Oyster bracelet, it’s the sort of sporty watch that anyone would be proud to wear—including us.

Of course, while the GMT Master might be Rolex’s most famous pilot’s watch, with its association with Pan Am and NASA, the Air King is a far more affordable—and more approachable—choice.

A:S Guarantee

+

Our Pledge

Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.

Condition

Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.

Warranty

We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

International Buyers

Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Shipping & Returns

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All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.

Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.

We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.

Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.

We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Rolex Air King

Rolex Air King

Sold
Sold
Rolex Air King

Why We Love it

In the world of vintage Rolex, there exists a gulf between watches on the lower end of Rolex’s pricing spectrum, and those on the higher end. For example, the Air King inhabits the lower end, squarely on terra firma, while the “Bao Dai” Triple Calendar is up in the clouds. So when many collectors wish to wade into the vast and deep sea that is vintage Rolex, they might opt for the Air King.

And this, we think, is not a bad thing at all.

Because each Rolex, regardless of its price point, is made with the care and attention to detail that were Hans Wilsdorf’s driving principles when he founded the company in the 1900s. This is due to the Oyster case, the bedrock of every Rolex (except for the Cellini) since the 1920s. Wilsdorf’s need to create a watch that could be worn—and enjoyed—in all conditions meant that a Rolex could be worn by anyone.

Launched in 1945, the Air King was one in a series of watches released to honor the RAF pilots who defended the island against the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain. After the war, spirits were riding high in “their finest hour,” and the fighter pilots were the heroes to whom everyone in England looked for inspiration. As an ardent lover of his adopted land, swept up in patriotic fervor, Wilsdorf’s company released models with names like Air-Lion, Air-Tiger, and Air-Giant.

Wilsdorf meant the Air-King to be worn by pilots, and many companies like Pan Am did indeed choose the Air King as a presentation watch for retiring pilots.

The Air-King went through many different variations throughout the model’s long run. The example that we offer here is a Reference 5500, which was first launched in 1957 and ran for 37 years. Compared to the earlier Air-Kings, which used Hunter movements, the Reference 5500 was the first to be equipped with the Calibre 1520 movement.

The Air-King that we offer here is a stunner. Dating from the 1980s, it possesses a champagne dial that is simply delicious. On a 78350/557 Oyster bracelet, it’s the sort of sporty watch that anyone would be proud to wear—including us.

Of course, while the GMT Master might be Rolex’s most famous pilot’s watch, with its association with Pan Am and NASA, the Air King is a far more affordable—and more approachable—choice.

A:S Guarantee

+

Our Pledge

Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.

Condition

Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.

Warranty

We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

International Buyers

Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Shipping & Returns

+

All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.

Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.

We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.

Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.

We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

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