The Oyster Perpetual Air-King celebrates the aeronautical heritage of the original Oyster.
The Air-King features a 40 mm case in Oystersteel with a magnetic shield to protect the movement. It has a distinctive black dial with a combination of large 3, 6 and 9 numerals marking the hours and a prominent minutes scale for optimal navigational time readings. The name Air-King features on the dial in the same lettering that was designed specially for the model in the 1950s, as well as a green and yellow Rolex logo. The seconds hand is green, echoing the emblematic colour of the brand.
A HOMAGE TO AVIATION
The Air-King symbolizes the privileged relationship between Rolex and flying during the golden age of aviation in the 1930s. Launched in 1958, it pays tribute to the pilots of the era and the Oyster’s role in their epic story.
The 1930s was a period when spectacular progress in aircraft performance constantly expanded humanity’s capacity to conquer the skies and led to the introduction of long-distance flights. The English aviator Charles Douglas Barnard set a number of flight records during this era. Of the Oyster, he said: “The peculiar qualities of this Rolex watch render it eminently suitable for flying purposes and I propose to use it on all my long-distance flights in the future.” In 1933, Oyster watches accompanied the Houston Expedition as it made the first-ever flight over Mount Everest at an altitude exceeding 10,000 metres (33,000 feet) in extreme weather conditions. In 1934, Owen Cathcart-Jones and Ken Waller made a return voyage from London (United Kingdom) to Melbourne (Australia) in record time with a twin-engine De Havilland Comet, using a Rolex Oyster as their on-board chronometer.
THE AIR-KING, SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER CERTIFIED
Like all Rolex watches, the Air-King is covered by the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015. This exclusive designation attests that every watch leaving the brand’s workshops has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories and according to its own criteria. These certification tests apply to the fully assembled watch, after casing the movement, guaranteeing superlative performance on the wrist in terms of precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self-winding. The Superlative Chronometer status is symbolized by the green seal that comes with every Rolex watch and is coupled with an international five-year guarantee.
The precision of every movement – officially certified as a chronometer by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) – is tested a second time by Rolex after being cased, to ensure that it meets criteria that are far stricter than those of the official certification. The precision of a Rolex Superlative Chronometer is of the order of −2/+2 seconds per day – the rate deviation tolerated by the brand for a finished watch is significantly smaller than that accepted by COSC for official certification of the movement alone.
The Superlative Chronometer certification testing is carried out after casing using state-of-the-art equipment specially developed by Rolex and according to an exclusive methodology that simulates the conditions in which a watch is actually worn and more closely represents real-life experience. The entirely automated series of tests also checks the waterproofness, the self-winding capacity and the power reserve of 100 per cent of Rolex watches. These tests systematically complement the qualification testing upstream during development and production, in order to ensure the watches’ reliability, robustness, and resistance to magnetic fields and shocks.
THE OYSTER CASE, SYMBOL OF WATERPROOFNESS
The Air-King’s Oyster case, 40 mm in diameter and guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet), is a paragon of robustness and reliability. The middle case is crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel, a particularly corrosion-resistant alloy. The case back, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that grants only Rolex watchmakers access to the movement. The Twinlock winding crown, fitted with a double waterproofness system, screws down securely against the case. The crystal is made of virtually scratchproof sapphire. The waterproof Oyster case provides optimum protection for the Air-King’s movement. It is also fitted with a shield to protect against magnetic fields, a feature of pilots’ watches of the past.
PERPETUAL CALIBRE 3131
The Air-King is equipped with calibre 3131, a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. The architecture and manufacturing of this movement, as well as its innovative features, make it exceptionally precise and reliable.
The oscillator of calibre 3131 has a large balance wheel with variable inertia regulated extremely precisely via gold Microstella nuts. It is held firmly in place by a height-adjustable traversing bridge enabling very stable positioning to increase shock resistance.
Calibre 3131 incorporates a blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in a paramagnetic alloy. Insensitive to magnetic fields, the Parachrom hairspring offers great stability in the face of temperature variations and remains up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks. It is equipped with a Rolex overcoil, ensuring its regularity in any position, and contains a paramagnetic escape wheel made from a nickel-phosphorus alloy.
Calibre 3131 is fitted with a self-winding module featuring a Perpetual rotor, which ensures continuous winding of the mainspring by harnessing the movements of the wrist to provide constant energy. It offers a power reserve of approximately 48 hours.
The Air-King’s movement will be seen only by certified Rolex watchmakers, yet it is beautifully finished and decorated in keeping with the brand’s uncompromising quality standards.
BRACELET AND CLASP, SECURE AND COMFORTABLE
The Air-King is fitted on a three-piece link Oyster bracelet in Oystersteel. The bracelet is equipped with a folding Oysterclasp, developed by Rolex, and with the Easylink comfort extension link, also created by the brand, which allows the wearer to easily increase the bracelet length by approximately 5 mm, for additional comfort in any circumstance.