The new 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 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’s Oyster case, guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet), is a paragon of robustness. Its characteristically shaped middle case is crafted from a solid block of particularly corrosion-resistant 904L steel. The fluted case back is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement. Fitted with the Twinlock double waterproofness system, the winding crown 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 high-precision movement and is also fitted with a shield to protect against magnetic fields, a feature of pilots’ watches of the past.
King Air type watch match 904L solid steel chain link Oyster bracelet with folding Oyster buckle, buckle easy to tune also installed links. This device is designed to extend patent Rolex cleverly lets wearing a strap to easily extend about 5 mm, in any case, all wearing comfort.