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A Closer Look at The Purist’s Vintage Rolex Air-King 5500

September 22nd, 2021

While the market of vintage Rolex watches is booming today, it is undeniably worth looking at some of the famous vintage Rolexes. If you dig into the earliest Rolex collections, one of the oldest models you will come across is the Rolex Air-King 5500.

The Air-King may not receive more attention than the brand’s other iconic collections like the Submariner, GMT-Master and Datejust. However, it is among the oldest watch collections in the brand’s catalogue with over 70years of production history. However, the Air-King Ref. 5500 is one of the longest-running models within the collection. Let’s take a closer look at this popular vintage Rolex watch.

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Rolex Air-King 5500: The History That Dates Back to WWII

Rolex does not equip the Air-King with any particular complications or features that categorise it for a specific environment or sports. The Air-King watches flaunt a minimalistic design that makes them a popular choice of purists. They feature stainless steel construction and a simple, clean time-only dial.

However, the legend says that British pilots at World War II discarded their issued field timepieces and opted for personally purchased Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches. Hans Wilsdorf, the co-founder of Rolex, decided to produced aviation-themed wristwatches at that time. The intend was to show reverence to the brave RAF pilots.

The Air-King was one of these aviation-themed Rolex timepieces. Rolex introduced the Air-King in 1945 as the Reference 4925. Later the watchmaker continued to upgrade and modify the design and released many references.

However, Rolex turned up with a new edition of Air-King as the Reference 5500 in 1957. It was sold to the public officially in 1958.

Related: Rolex Air-King: The Fascinating History & Evolution over the Years

The Movement That Powers the Air-King Ref. 5500

Rolex equipped the Air-King 5500 watches with Calibre 1530 and 1520 movements. However, it caused a discrepancy in movements. Thus, the Air-King models with the Calibre 1530 were branded with ‘Super Precision’ text on the dial. On the contrary, the iterations housing the Calibre 1520 usually had the branding with ‘Precision’ on the dial.

But keep note that it is not consistent for each Air-King 5500 watch. You can find surviving iterations of Air-King 5500 in either dial style. Moreover, you can even come across some iterations of Reference 5500 without any text on the dial’s lower half. Collectors often refer to these models as ‘Pre-Precision’ dials.

The Simplistic, Understated Rolex Design

The Rolex Air-King 5500 flaunts a clean and understated design of all time. It has a 34mm case and no other added features like a date display, chronograph registers or a rotatable bezel. However, Rolex produced the watch for nearly 37 years and remained significantly the same the entire production time.

If you are looking for an entry-level Rolex watch, the Air-King would be a perfect choice. Thanks to its excellent build and classic design, the timepiece is a popular choice for politicians, celebrities and notable personalities alike.

However, Rolex furnished the Air-King 5500 with all of the brand’s signature traits but no unnecessary features. It has a 34mm screw-down case, Oyster bracelet and in-house movement. Moreover, this modest case diameter makes the watch ideal for men, as well as women.

Those who are looking to invest in a vintage Rolex model can consider the Air-King 5500. However, if you own a vintage Air-King 5500 and want to upgrade your collection this year, you can choose to sell your Rolex watch. While the vintage Rolex market is booming now, you can secure excellent prices for your timepiece from trusted watch buyers like The Luxury Hut.

Fill in our online form for a free competitive valuation. Or call on 0782 875 0705. Moreover, we offer a contact-free home collection service. So you can sell your watch with peace of mind from the comfort of your home or any other place.

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