The Air-King dial features a distinctive black dial with a combination of large 3, 6 and 9 numerals marking the hours and a prominent minute scale for navigational time readings. It bears the name Air-King in the same lettering that was designed specifically for the model in the 1950s.
The 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.
The Air-King pays homage to the golden age of aviation during the 1930s. 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.
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