Air King with White Bracelet – Reference 14000
The Rolex Air-King with a 34mm case has a very long and complex history. The earliest Rolex Air-Kings were introduced in the 1930’s and had other “Air” names (Air Lion, Air Tiger and Air Giant)which were dropped in the 1940’s. The “Air-King” name stuck and became a key brand marketed to pilots during World War II and beyond. The long-produced Rolex Air-King Reference 5500 was released in 1957 to pay homage to the many soldiers of war. It stayed on the market for an unbelievable 37 years. The 5500 was ahead of its time, sporting the first all in-house movement made by Rolex – the caliber 1520. It was made with only 17 jewels, due to import laws, but had excellent timekeeping capabilities. The reference 5500 has a solid durable construction – with both steel case and band, and a twinlock waterproofness system with water resistance of 100 meters. It also had an acrylic protective crystal which proved to be a solid front glass until the introduction of sapphire crystal in the reference 14000.
The Air-King Reference 14000, introduced in 1989, also changed the movement to a more modern calibre 3000. The 14010, also introduced in 1989, introduced the Engine Turned Bezel. Although some of these early models came with the original style of dial from the 5500, the new Explorer style dial with the Arabic numerals at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock were increasingly used. See the Explorer 14000 pictured above. The Rolex Air-King Reference 14000M and 14010M were introduced in 2000 with a new caliber 3130. Throughout the majority of the Air-King production history, the 34mm case was used, with a few small exceptions (such as a small run of Explorer case based Air-King 5500’s which had a 35 mm case).
It wasn’t until 2007 that the Air King got a total transformation. The case changed to become thicker and received its first COSC certification. The 2007 models include the Reference 114200, 114210, and 114234.
The Air King 116900 finally gave the Air-King a completely new look, and adopting a 40 mm case and a caliber 3131. This new Air-King utilizes a 60 second dial with 5, 10, 20, 25, 35, 40, 50 and 55 at those minute markers. The numeral 5 appears at the 1 o’clock position, and 10 at 2 o’clock and so on. However, oddly it retains the 3, 6 and 9 designations at the 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. The two numerical schemes attempt to match the cockpit board instrumentation used in some of Rolex speed land tests.
The Rolex Air-King is an exceptional example of the Rolex dedication to precision instruments and the longevity of the brand. Its simple look and consistent design became a Rolex mainstay and a low cost entry to the Rolex brand. However, Rolex took exceptional pains throughout the Air-King history to improve the design, construction and performance of the Air-King – even moving away from the simple face design to a far more complex cockpit look.
Rolex Air King With Black and White Rubber B bracelets
Rubber B designed 4 bracelets for the Rolex Air-King 34 mm timepiece. For the new Air-King 40mm, visit the Rubber B page here. Rubber B supports the Air-King 34mm case with 19mm lug space. The strap utilizes “Blocked Integration” engineering for a flawless, motionless flush mount to the Air-King case. This band is designed to mount the original Oyster Clasp that came with the Rolex steel Oyster band.
All Rubber B bands are made in Switzerland of pure vulcanized rubber. No coatings, blends or bonding is used in the manufacturing of this Rubber B strap. This strap comes with 3 solid colors and a Tuxedo Velour option, which is an upscale version of the Jet Black strap. For more information, please visit our Air-King 34mm page here.