On May 16, 4:10 PM UTC
Rolex Air-King 116900
This auction is subject to a 10% buyer’s premium on top of final bid amount (hammer price).
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First released in 1945 in honor of the British RAF following their efforts in WWII, the Air-King has become one of the longest-serving members of Rolex’s catalog, with its official debut as a standalone collection, as we know it today, tracing its origins a little bit more recently to 1958. Since then, the collection has become one of Rolex’s most unique collections, with its design and construction often used as a means to push aesthetic boundaries and experiment with design in a way that few other collections within the Rolex family could. As such, the Air-King collection has been found to sport a vast expanse of dial colors and set-ups, with different bezel configurations and a large variety of sizes.
Released in 2016 following a 2-year hiatus, the Air-King ref. 116900 reintroduced the iconic collection back to Rolex’s catalogue with a bang. Modernized with a new 40mm case, a new movement and a fresh, playful dial design donning a large set of 3, 6 and 9 numerals, the Air-King was crowned with an inverted triangle at the 12 position and a minute scale that replaced traditional hour markers, so the 1 o’clock position showed 5 minutes, 2 o’clock 10 minutes and so on. Inspired by the Bloodhound LSR, a vehicle used to try break the land speed record, that Rolex supplied the gauges and dials for, the ref. 116900 showcased Rolex’s desire to continue pushing boundaries and supporting those who endeavour to do so. Discontinued in 2022, the ref. 116900 will always be remembered for reviving the Air-King collection and keeping a part of Rolex’s heritage alive.
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Vetted & Approved
Box and Booklet (No Guarantee Card)
Est. value range
$6,000 – $8,000
Automatic cal. 3131
Stainless steel Oyster bracelet
Watch, Box and Booklet
Watch is in near-mint condition, showing only light signs of use. Bracelet has 12 full links, 3 half links. 6 full links are removable- it shows no stretch. There is an extra link on the side.
The Air-King's visual differences and uniquely playful design has made it a watch that has since divided Rolex collectors, but with the ref. 116900 reviving the Air-King family, it would be hard not to appreciate its historical importance.