ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL AIR-KING REF. Rolex was founded by Hans Wilsdorf & Alfred Davis in 1905.
The company name had changed to Rolex Watch Co. In 1919, Wilsdorf moved its company to Geneva Switzerland and company name changed to Montres Rolex S. For about two decades, Wilsdorf and team had been producing timepieces. But the main breakthrough he achieved was when releasing the "Oyster" case for its watches in 1926. It was the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch produced by Rolex.
The use of Oyster case was aimed to achieve the protection to the watch movement from water incidents. S first waterproof wristwatch but also being marketed as the world?
As the proof and to claim the watch was waterproof, Rolex Oyster had been worn by an English Swimmer "Mercedes Gleitze" that worn the Rolex Oyster during the cross-channel challenge. She had swim for 10 hours and the watch remained in perfect working condition. The success of cross-channel challenge has given the testimony to the world about Rolex Oyster waterproof watch.With Rolex Oyster case, there were some variants being introduced such as Rolex Oysterdate e. 6694, Rolex Oyster Precision e.
6424, Rolex Oyster Perpetual and so on. Discussing about Rolex Oyster Perpetual, there is one variant with the longest production runs in Rolex history, The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air King. The Rolex Air-King was first introduced in 1945 by Rolex founder, Hans Wildorf. These timepieces were created in order to honor the RAF pilots for their bravery. It is also the only one survivor among the rest of Air watches produced by Rolex including the Air-Tiger, Air-Lion, etc.
The name Air-King does not mean that the watch being designed for aviator tool. That's because it was launched in huge case size of 34mm, which considered large at that time. Hence, it has the "King" name.
However, the Air-King was designed with person in mind, which is pilots. Hence over the years, Air-King has been adopted by Pilots. Some companies were even giving Rolex Air-King to their retired pilots. Rolex Air-King has been around for over six decades till today, which make it Rolex's longest production model. The reason is because it was marketed as one of the affordable entry level Rolex.It offers the basics the good watch should have for time-telling, no more and no less. This is similar with Rolex Oysterdate Precision Ref.
6694 that was produced since 1958 and only discontinued in 1989. 6694 is also regarded as the entry level Rolex timepiece in the past, however it come with manual winding Rolex caliber 1225.Back to Rolex Air-King, though it was being produced as affordable "entry level" timepiece, Rolex won't make any compromises with this model in term of build and quality. The reason is because Wilsdorf was very keen to produce Rolex timepieces that could at least affordable by most people hence the brand could reach as many wrists as possible. With such interesting value proposition offered, Air-King still bring some important features such as Oystersteel case, Oyster bracelet, and Automatic movement. Though Air-King is equipped with automatic movement, but no matter what the movement is, Air-King was never titled with chronometer certified on the dial.
In other word, there are no "Superlative Chronometer Certified" on any vintage Air-King dials. Two of the famous calibers ever used for vintage Air-King were Cal. 1520 will have "Precision" notation on the dial, whereby Cal.1530 will be printed with "Super Precision". It was only till 2017, Air-King become chronometer certified when Rolex launched Air-King reference 114200 that equipped with Cal.
Though it was an entry level Rolex, but Rolex Air-King will always being referred to as the timepiece that has simplicity and yet clean design. There is no date window or too excessive writing on the dial, hence aid to legibility of the entire face of the watch. The hour indexes on the dial are applied and it has the slim baton style.
It adds nice accent on the clean dial. Together with the slender handset, it makes the watch to have a very elegant look. It was value proposition timepiece when it was first released and today Rolex Air-King has been remaining to be fantastic piece from Rolex. WHY THIS WATCH & DETAILS. Talking about the current example of Rolex Air-King here, it was an unusually seen Rolex Air-King reference 5520, which has gold-capped case.
Gold-capped Rolex Air-King was seen from 1974 till 1986. Hence, the production time is considered short.The current example is the one from year 1978. The example here has well-preserved and overall in good condition case. The Gold capped oyster case has diameter approximately 34mm, which was popular man's size in that era. Signs of wear and tear and light scratches are seen on the case and case back, which is normal due to the age. It was lightly polished by previous owner before but there are no signs of over-polishing or wear through the gold cap case. The reference and serial number are still crisp between the lugs.
The smooth gold-capped bezel is in good condition but with some hairlines scratches. The gold tone dial condition is in very good condition and no conspicuous blemishes seen. This is an early type dial as it contains tritium plots on each hour indexes.
The tritium plots on the dial has beautifully turn into patina color and match perfectly with the patina color on the handsets. The lume plots are preserved very well and still full intact on each hour marker on the dial.The slim handsets are preserved in good condition with some aging seen on the luminescent plots. These are naturally aged and match perfectly with the lume plots on the dial.
Beating inside the Rolex Air-King 5520 is the venerable automatic Rolex Cal. That's why, the "Precision" notation is printed on the dial.This caliber had been around since 1963 and being used for over 37 years before Rolex replaced with Cal. 1520 is beating at 19800Bph and it is one of the most robust movement ever produced by Rolex. The condition of the movement for this current example of Air-King is currently in good running condition. It is clean and well-preserved. Rolex Air-King 5520 come with Plexiglass crystal that slightly dome. This condition of the glass of the current example is very good. It might already lightly polished before by previous owner. As for the strap, the example here come with custom made high quality black leather strap with generic buckle. Note: This is NOT genuine Rolex buckle. The strap is brand new. It is a good quality strap as it is soft and flexible. Overall, the current example of Air-King here is considered one of Rolex timepieces that under radar. The unusual gold-capped case is one of the unique aesthetics that hardly seen on other Rolex timepieces. However, the vintage model of Air-King has been getting popularity nowadays since it is still affordable compared to those sports models and still offer the value of proposition just like the past. Rolex collectors has been started to focus their attention on Rolex Air-King nowadays.
If you are looking for entry-level Rolex that has simple clean face with slimmer case and robust movement, but still maintaining its luxurious look, Rolex Air-King still the remains to be a fantastic choice. It is also the versatile model, which is suitable in various occasions ranging from formal to casual activities. Custom Made High Quality Black Leather Strap with generic buckle. All of our pre-owned vintage timepieces have gone through thorough physical inspections. T perform any mechanical servicing to the watch.
As this is pre-owned vintage watch, there is no guarantee for the watch being waterproof. Besides, due to their age and usage, vintage watches should not be subjected to have the same conditions as when they were new.Vintage watches deserve to undergo proper servicing and maintenance due to their age in order to preserve the life of the mechanical parts inside the watch. As the history of servicing for vintage watch is usually unclear, we always recommend our buyers to send them for servicing by professional watchmaker.
You may request for more additional pictures if necessary. We always try our best to represent the watch as transparent as possible via pictures. We will reply to you very soon. We are watch enthusiast and not an authorized dealer for any company. The item "ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL AIR-KING REF.5520 WITH GOLD-CAPPED CASE (VERY RARE)" is in sale since Tuesday, July 20, 2021. This item is in the category "Jewelry & Watches\Watches, Parts & Accessories\Watches\Wristwatches". The seller is "vintage_path" and is located in Singapore.
This item can be shipped worldwide.