The New Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King
April 2, 2022
Rolex has unveiled the next generation of its iconic Air-King at Watches & Wonders in Geneva, Switzerland bringing together innovation and design for a modern classic.
Rolex Celebrates Pioneers of Aviation with the New Air-KingThe latest additions to the Rolex collection were presented at Watches & Wonders this week, furthering the watchmaker’s perpetual quest for excellence. The new-generation Air-King is a tribute to explorers of the skies, celebrating the pioneers of aviation and inviting contemporary collectors to take command of their own destiny.
Rolex has always been renowned for creating new and innovative watches that shine the light of optimism and innovation into the world of watchmaking, enhancing the aesthetics and technologies of its emblematic timepieces. As such, this new Air-King model has been created with an in-house mastery of watchmaking expertise, offering outstanding quality and unmatched performance.
The new-generation Oyster Perpetual Air-King stands upon the aeronautical heritage of the original Rolex Oyster. Now featuring a completely redesigned case that brings modern sensibility to the signature aesthetics of the line.
The New Rolex Air-King Boasts a Functional DesignThe 2022 Air-King ref. 126900 features a redesigned case with a winding crown guard and straight sides like the majority of Professional category models, such as the Rolex Submariner and Rolex GMT-Master II. Allowing for a sportier feel compared to previous iterations of the Air-King, this timepiece redefines functionality.
Adding to this functional approach, the watch’s display has been refreshed for a perfectly balanced appeal, with the addition of a ‘0’ digit before the ‘5’ on the minutes scale. Each five-minute interval is now marked by two digits for a well-proportioned aesthetic.
The new-generation Air-King also benefits from an optimized Chromalight display, guaranteeing maximum legibility in dark conditions. A new luminescent material coats the hands and the 12 o’clock triangular hour marker for longer-lasting and intense glow.
Additionally, Rolex has revisited the proportions of the Oyster bracelet in this model. An emblem of the watchmaker’s engineering expertise, the Oyster bracelet was originally developed at the end of the 1930s. The three-piece link bracelet is the most universal in the Oyster Perpetual collection, known for its robustness – which has now been elevated as Rolex broadened the center link for the 2022 Air-King ref. 126900. And in a first for the Air-King model, this timepiece is equipped with an Oysterlock safety clasp.
The Rolex-designed, patented Oysterlock folding safety clasp, prevents accidental opening for further protection to the timepiece itself. The bracelet is also equipped with the Easylink comfort extension link, also developed by the brand, allowing the wearer to easily adjust the bracelet length by approximately 5 mm. A concealed attachment system ensures seamless visual continuity between the bracelet and case for added style.
The timepiece is designed with a 40 mm Oyster case – a paragon of robustness and reliability. This case guarantees the watch waterproofness to a depth of 100 meters, or 330 feet. The middle case is crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel, a particularly corrosion-resistant alloy. The case back is edged with fine fluting and hermetically screwed down using a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement. Aiding in the timepiece’s strength, its Twinlock winding crown is fitted with a double waterproofness system and protected by an integral crown guard. The waterproof Oyster case provides optimum protection for the watch’s movement.
The New-Generation Rolex Air-King is a Paragon of PowerLike all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Air-King carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, as deemed by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres to ensure the utmost excellence for performance on the wrist.
This designation testifies that the Air-King, along with every watch leaving the Rolex workshops has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories according to its own criteria, following the official certification of the movements by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute. The in-house certification tests are designed to guarantee superlative performance in terms of precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self- winding. The precision of a Rolex Superlative Chronometer is of the order of −2/+2 seconds per day.
Symbolized by the green seal that comes with every Rolex watch, the Superlative Chronometer status is coupled with an international five-year guarantee.
The new-generation Air-King is equipped with calibre 3230, a self-winding movement at the forefront of watchmaking technology, enabling it to display the hours, minutes and seconds. Entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex, calibre 3230 was first released in 2020. This invention led to the filing of several patents, offering outstanding performance in precision, power reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetic fields, convenience and reliability.
In addition, calibre 3230 also incorporates Rolex’s patented Chronergy escapement, bringing together high energy efficiency with impressive dependability. Barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, allow for a power reserve of approximately 70 hours.
The Air-King is a Homage to AviationThe original Rolex Air-King was first launched in 1945, symbolizing the privileged relationship between the watchmaker and pilots during the golden age of aviation in the 1930s. Paying tribute to the pilots of the era and the Oyster’s role in their epic story, the new-generation Air-King is an inherently legendary timepiece.
The 1930s was a period when spectacular progress in aircraft performance constantly expanded humanity’s capacity to conquer the skies, marking new demands for precision in timekeeping. Several pilots of the time set records while wearing an Oyster, while others used a Rolex watch as an on-board chronometer.
The name ‘Air-King’ has been featured on the watch’s dial since 1958, in lettering that makes the model immediately recognizable. Since 2016, the Air-King has had a distinctive black dial with a combination of large 3, 6 and 9 numerals to mark the hours and a prominent minutes scale for optimal navigational time readings, while a green seconds hand echoes the emblematic Rolex color.
The new Rolex 2022 Air-King ref. 126900 continues the historic journey of the model, paving an innovative path into the future.
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