The Oyster Perpetual Air-King perpetuates the aeronautical heritage of the original Rolex Oyster.
The Air-King features a 40 mm case in Oystersteel with a magnetic shield. 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 navigational time readings. The dial bears the name Air-King in the same lettering that was designed specially for the model in the 1950s as well as a green and yellow Rolex logo – its first appearance on a dial. The seconds hand is green, the emblematic colour of the brand.
A HOMAGE TO AVIATIONThe Air-King epitomizes Rolex’s privileged ties with the world of aviation during its golden age in the 1930s. It 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. One of the pioneers of this era, English aviator Charles Douglas Barnard, set a number of flight records. 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. Today’s new Air-King pays tribute to the pioneers of flight and the Oyster’s role in the epic story of aviation.
THE AIR-KING, SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER
Like all Rolex watches, each Air-King is certified as a Superlative Chronometer. This exclusive designation attests that it has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories and according to its own criteria, which exceed watchmaking norms and standards. These tests are carried out on the fully assembled watch, in order to guarantee its superlative performance on the wrist. 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 COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute) – is, therefore, tested a second time by Rolex after being cased, to ensure that it meets criteria for precision that are far more exacting than those for an official chronometer. The tolerance for the average rate of a Rolex Superlative Chronometer is of the order of −2/+2 seconds per day. Its precision is tested by Rolex using an exclusive methodology that simulates the conditions in which a watch is actually worn and is much more representative of real- life experience.
The Superlative Chronometer certification testing is carried out after casing using state-of-the-art equipment specially developed by Rolex. 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 that ensures the watches’ reliability, robustness, and resistance to magnetic fields and shocks.
THE OYSTER CASE, SYMBOL OF WATERPROOFNESSThe Air-King’s Oyster case, guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet), is a paragon of robustness and reliability. The characteristically shaped middle case is crafted from a solid block of particularly corrosion-resistant Oystersteel. 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 winding crown, fitted with the Twinlock double waterproofness system, screws down securely against the case. The crystal is made of virtually scratchproof sapphire. The waterproof Oyster case provides the Air-King’s high-precision movement with optimal protection.
It is also fitted with a shield to protect against magnetic fields, a feature of pilots’ watches of the past.
PERPETUAL CALIBRE 3131The Air-King is equipped with calibre 3131, a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. Its architecture, manufacturing and innovative features make it exceptionally precise and reliable.
The oscillator 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 features a paramagnetic escape wheel made from a nickel-phosphorus alloy and a blue Parachrom hairspring patented and manufactured by Rolex in an exclusive 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.
Calibre 3131 is equipped 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 a constant source of energy.
The Air-King’s movement will only be seen by certified Rolex watchmakers, yet it is beautifully finished and decorated in keeping with the brand’s uncompromising quality standards.