ON THE WRIST: Rolex Air-King


The Air-King may be the entry model to men’s Rolex but you are definitely not getting anything that’s of inferior. Its 34mm case looks no less than perfect if not slightly rugged on ladies. Retailing at about fifteen grand is extreme value since the Air-King shares the same 3130 movement with the more expensive Submariner. More importantly, the AK has been around for a good 70 years as a dedication from Hans Wilsdorf to commemorate the bravery of British air pilots.


Excellent fit and finish

Entirely in-house

On-wrist comfort


Petite in size


34 mm Diameter

11 m Thickness

100m Water Resistance

42 hours Power Reserve

31 Jewels 199 Components

RM 16,800


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This oyster captured me by surprise when I was deciding on whether to join the Submariner or Luminor bandwagon as we are now in the age of larger watches. Fortunately, I was particularly drawn to the Air-King’s understatement and simplicity. However, I prefer the even cleaner design on vintage AKs (reference 5500) where less is more because ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified’ just makes things somewhat cluttered.

After having lived a year with the Air-King, it has been a more than positive experience as it is the one that has spent significantly more time on my wrist than other watches. Credits can go to the cleverly designed oyster bracelet making it so convenient to put on and take off. The AK’s weight too is spot on, by no means a featherweight but possesses a heft that oozes quality. More importantly, on wrist comfort.

The AK is no less than perfect, as a result I would not liked it more if it were bigger, bulkier or shinier. There’s just something about having the Air-King as a companion.. from its brilliant proportions giving it an excellent stance to the sounds it makes as you move. All in all, buy the watch that defines you and not the one that is favoured by others. The Air-King will never be a disappointing choice for anyone’s first watch, be it a graduation or an important day in one’s life.

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