Along with the smooth bezel of the Air King ref. 114200, there’s also the ref. 114210 with the engine-turned bezel and the ref. 114234 with the white gold fluted bezel.
The Rolex Air King models were eventually grobunded in 2014 to make way for the refreshed Rolex Oyster Perpetual models.Everything about the modern 6-digit Air-King reference 116900 screams “Rolex sports watch” unlike the classic references from decades ago. The Air-King, as many collectors may know it, was discontinued in 2014, with the newer 6-digit reference 116900 debuting shortly after in 2016. The differences between the old and new Air-King watches are obvious. The original Air-King featured a more modest 34mm Oyster case and a dial commonly set with simple applied indices and hands. While the newer reference boasts a larger 40mm Oyster case, a more secure folding Oysterlock clasp, and a dial topped with luminous hour markers and hands.
The case is still equipped with a screw-down crown that can withstand depths of up to 330 feet as well as higher altitudes. This newer reference, however, takes advantage of a Twinlock screw-down crown for extra waterproofness, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and 904L stainless steel. While the “Air-King” logo has been moved lower on the dial, avid Rolex collectors will be pleased that it is still present on the dial, just like the original Air-King.
A next-generation calibre 3131 perpetual movement beats within the case providing an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds a day. Newer Rolex movements often utilize Rolex’s patented shock-resistant technology via the addition of a Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring. The movement also boasts a 48-hour power reserve and COSC rating.
The most notable change made to the new Rolex Air-King ref 116900 is the updated black dial. In lieu of the traditional index hour markers, the dial features polished steel Arabic markers at the 3, 6, and 9 positions and 5-minute graduations at the remaining hour markers. Similar to other Rolex sports references, a luminous triangle sits at the 12-hour marker. Chromalight lume emits a distinct blue glow and fills the 5-minute hour markers and hands for a clear reading in light or dark environments. A yellow crown and green accents including the Rolex logo and a green seconds hand, seal the new Air-King’s fate as a Rolex sports watch.