With the exception of a brief hiatus in 2014, the Air King moniker has been in use since 1945. As a result of its nearly 70-year existence, the Air King is one of the most durable Rolex models. The “Air…” series was developed by Hans Wilsdorf to honor the brave pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain. On Tudors, the Air Tiger was called by the names Air Lion, Air Giant, and Air King. In the end, only the King, with its distinctive typeface, decades of iterations, double-signed dials, and ventures into the elite sports watch league, managed to endure.
Rolex releases the next-generation Air-King 126900 in 2022. The watch has a new casing with straight edges and a crown guard like other models in the Professional category. The bracelet’s dimensions have been reviewed, and the model now has an enhanced Chromalight display. The watch’s display is now properly balanced, with two numbers denoting each five-minute interval. Find out here to know more about the Rolex Air King.
The 116900 made its debut in 2016, and the 126900 succeeds it. To put things in perspective, it’s critical to remember that the 116900 introduced a whole new look for the Rolex Air-King, with a new and bigger 40mm size and a revised black dial (influenced by the Bloodhound dashboard) that incorporates both minute and hour markings. It’s also noteworthy to note that the current Air-King line is a one-reference line, meaning there are no alternatives for materials, dial colors, or bracelet types, unlike previous Rolex lines. The 40mm case diameter, dial color, oyster bracelet, and steel construction of the most recent Air-King are all carried over from the model’s forerunner.
The case is also designed to match other professional models, but the size remains 40 mm. Crown guards have been introduced for redundant security and professional position features. Although the Rolex doesn’t list the consistence, it does allow us to compare old and new models, and there seems to be a slight difference. This is presumably due to the lack of an internal iron case in the new reference 126900 and the more angular shape.
First of all, the 126900 features crown protectors, as can be seen by looking at the casing. Additionally, the Oyster casing is a little bit flatter and smaller. Second, if we enlarge the dial, we can see that Rolex inserted a “0” before the 5-minute marker to make the remainder of the two-digit minute marks look more balanced. Additionally, Chromalight luminous material has been applied to the hour markers at 3, 6, and 9 so they may now shine at night. Just below the 6 o’clock marker, between SWISS and MADE, Rolex has additionally put their crown logo to the dial.
The Air-King 126900’s Caliber 3230, a new movement, is indicated by the presence of the little crown logo. The Caliber 3230, a member of Rolex’s most recent generation of movements, is the popular Cal. 3235’s time-only (no date) version and is used in watches like the Datejust and Submariner. The Cal. 3230 has a COSC certification, is accurate to +/-2 seconds per day, and has a 70-hour reserve of power for the Air-King 126900.
The appearance of the little crown emblem denotes the existence of the new Caliber 3230 movement within the Air-King 126900. The popular Cal. 3235’s time-only (no date) counterpart, the Caliber 3230, is a member of Rolex’s most current generation of movements and is used in watches like the Datejust and Submariner. The Cal. 3230 is COSC-certified, has a 70-hour power reserve for the Air-King 126900, and is accurate to +/-2 seconds per day.