Much like the knock off Rolex Explorer watches, the fake Rolex Air-King is often forgotten among more popular Rolex collections such as the Submariner, Daytona, or even the Datejust, released the same year as the Air-King. The Air-King is one of the oldest models Rolex is still producing today, and has undergone radical changes in its history. Initially understated and restrained in design, it is now bold and dynamic. So let’s take a quick tour of the fake Rolex Air-King’s history.
Rolex Air-King 4925 – 1945
The Rolex Air-King is released in the midst of World War II, is the only remaining watch in production from the original “Air Collections.” The Air-King joined the ranks of the Air-Lion, Air-Giant, and Air-Tiger in 1945, all these Air collections were created to honor the RAF pilots of the Battle of Britain. But the Air-King watches reign outlasted the others. The earliest references is Rolex Air-King 4925. It was a simple steel Rolex watch with a stainless steel Oyster case, smooth bezel, and clear and legible time-only dial with even-numbered Arabic numerals. Its 34mm case was considered large enough at the time that it was called the “King”.
Rolex Air-King 4499 – 1946
The next was the Rolex Air-King 4499 a year later. All of these early Air-King watcehs were not automatic but rather, ran on the hand-wound Caliber 10.5 Hunter movement. So they were very similar to other stainless steel watches in Rolex’s Oyster collection.
Rolex Air-King 6652 – 1953
In 1953, the Rolex Air-King 6552 was introduced. This transitional model does not utilize the Hunter movement like the other early models. Instead, it is equipped with the 1030 caliber. (It is called a transitional model because it was replaced by the ref.5500 after only four years.) Also, for the first time, “Oyster Perpetual Air-King” appeared on the dial of this watch. In the Rolex expression, “Oyster” refers to the water-resistant case, while “Perpetual” refers to the automatic movement. It’s also important to note that today’s Air-King models retains this signature. In addition, This model introduced the creamy silver dial and stick hour markers.
Rolex Air-King 5500 – 1957
In 1957, Rolex introduced the Air-King 5500. This watch still had a 34mm case, but at this time, the case size was small. Because the Explorer of the same time period had a 36mm case size. The Rolex Air-King 5500 is powered by a different movement due to the different years of production. At the six o’clock position on the dial, “precision” corresponds to Caliber 1520. Similarly, “super precision” corresponds to Caliber 1530. Neither of these automatic movements has ever been COSC certified. Most ref. 5500 Air-King watches are identical to ref. 6652, with an opaline silver dial. Except for the crown at 12 o’clock, all 11 hour markers have stick markers. And this dial was housed under an acrylic crystal, common for the era.
During the more than thirty years of production, Rolex also released several variations during the same time period. The most famous of these would have to be the Rolex Air-King Date models(steel Air-King Date 5700 and two-tone Air-King Date 5701). The dial has a date window at 3 o’clock and a matching Cyclops at 3 o’clock on the acrylic crystal. Interestingly, Rolex also made a larger Air-King(ref.5504). The case diameter is enlarged to 35mm and features an Explorer-style 3-6-9 dial. There are also Air-King watches with gold-plated cases, fluted bezels, and two-tones.
Rolex Air-King 14000 And 14000 – 1989
The Rolex Air-King 14000 and 14010 were both released in the same year, 1989. The only difference between these two watches is in the bezel. The former has a smooth steel bezel, while the Rolex Air-King 14010 has an engined-turned steel bezel. Rolex discontinued all variants(such as date, two-tone, bigger case) and continued to bring Air-King watches back to the basic three-hand dial. So, both replica Rolex Air-King watches come with a 34mm stainless steel Oyster case and a stainless steel Oyster bracelet.
The creation of these two replica watches online also brought some new updates. For example, the sapphire crystal, Calibre 3000. And, in the mid-1990s, Rolex swapped out the lu with self-illumination for the Luminova.
In 2000, Rolex came back with updated versions(ref.14000M and ref.14010M). There were two areas that were upgraded. First, the internal movement was upgraded to Calibre 3130. Second, the luminescent material was replaced with SuperLuminova, which is essentially the same as Luminova, but with a different brand.
Rolex Air-King 1142xx – 2007
In 2007, the 140xx series was replaced by the new and improved 1142XX. The case size remains the same, but the Oyster bracelet has solid end-links. The Rolex Air-King 114200 has a smooth bezel. The Rolex Air-King 114210 has an engine-turned bezel. The Rolex Air-King 114234 has a fluted white gold bezel. All three fake Rolex Air-King watches are powered by the Caliber 3130, entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. This movement has a power reserve of 48 hours and is COSC certified. Other than, this is the first time that the Rolex Air-King collection has been equipped with a COSC-certified movement. In addition, it was topped with a concentric dial
Rolex Air-King 116900 – 2016
In 2016, the Air-King made a triumphant return to the collection, with the exception of the steel Daytona with ceramic bezel and the Explorer with updated hands and markers. Rolex Air-King 116900 replica looks like a completely different watch, as it has undergone extensive revisions and upgrades. This is the first time that Air-King watches feature a 40mm case, which is larger than all previous Air-Kings. The water resistance remains at 100M, but takes advantage of a Twinlock screw-down crown for extra waterproofness. A black dial contrasted by white gold hour markers for supreme legibility at 3-6-and-9, and minute markers at the remaining spots. The green seconds hand, Rolex text and gold coronet giving this Air-King model a playful and unique touch. The artistic “Air-King” logo has been moved lower on the dial, just like the original Air-King.
The Oyster bracelet has also been upgraded and now features a sturdy solid center links and solid end links. An Easylink extension has also been added to the folding clasp.
The Air-King 116900 not only houses the same caliber 3131 as the Rolex Milgauss 116400, but also features the same Faraday cage design. This means that the fake Rolex Air-King 116900 has the same anti-magnetic capabilities as the Milgauss. The NO.3131 movement also boasts a 48-hour power reserve and COSC rating.
The origins of the Rolex Air-King have gone largely unnoticed by watch collectors. In fact, the history of the Air-King contains the real story of Rolex and knowing its history can change a collector’s perspective on this long running model. With a history spanning nearly 80 years, the Air-King has proven its enduring appeal and will undoubtedly remain an important part of the Rolex brand for many years to come. If you’re looking for an interesting entry-level fake Rolex watch, the Air-King 116900 is a good choice.Set featured image