Rolex designed and introduced the Air-king model in 1945 for honouring British Royal Air Force pilots during World War II. However, the interesting fact is that the Air-King became a discrete collection in 1958 when the Reference 5500 made its debut.
The Rolex Air-King is one of the oldest series that Rolex continues to produce today. However, one of the more atypical watches within this collection is the Air-King Reference 114234. So let’s here explore some of the fascinating facts about this discontinued model from Air-King’s back catalogue.
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Rolex unleashed the Air-King Reference 114234 at Baselworld 2007 along with two other Air-King models, replacing the previous 14000 series. However, the new watches retained the similar 34mm case diameter but sported thicker lugs. Thus, the timepieces appear a little bit bulkier.
Rolex offered beautiful dial variations to the Reference 114234, making it different from many other Rolex timepieces debuted before.
Rolex initially offered the Air-King with virtually limited dial choices. But with the introduction of the 6-digit series, the Air-King exhibited a new generation of colourful and unique dial designs. Colours like white, blue and black joined the traditional dial options and with doorstop-style indexes and Roman numerals markers.
The watch is also available with an Arabic/baton dial design. However, the full-Arabic dial is ideally the most appealing dial design of the Reference 114234. It had vibrant orange numerals outlined in white or black. Additionally, both the polished, applied ‘6’ Roman numeral and the Rolex coroner at 12 o’clock side are made of 18ct white gold.
The Air-King series has always been the reasonable alternative to the more popular family like the Datejust, Submariner, Day-Date and Explorer. Interestingly, Rolex equipped this particular discontinued Air-King Reference 114234 with an 18ct white gold bezel.
The watch comes with a stainless steel Oyster case and a fluted white gold bezel. While the Reference 114234 is the only Air-King model with a white gold bezel, this watch is truly a unique member of Air-King family.
You can consider the Air-King 114234 as an entirely modern Rolex. This is because the timepiece features an engraved rehaut serving as an anti-counterfeit initiative. Rolex later started to carve the rehaut with the texts ‘ROLEX ROLEX ROLEX ROLEX’ and the watch’s serial number at the 6 o’clock side.
These features are necessary to verify the authenticity of a Rolex watch. Today, the engraved rehaut has become significantly associated with Rolex. It feels weird to see a Rolex model without it. So the Reference 114234 is significant as it was the first Air-King that came with engraved rehaut, making it one of the oldest ‘new’ Rolex timepieces out there.
Rolex stopped the entire Air-King production in 2014. And the Reference 114234 was one of the last watches belonging to the old 34mm Air-King line. However, the brand regenerated the collection in 2016. The new generation Air-King models feature a larger 40mm case, renewed dial design and a new movement.
Discontinued watches bear a unique charm. Thus, the older Air-King 34mm models are becoming more popular over time, including the Reference 114234.
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