One of the most discreet and least expensive Rolex watches made in the modern era, the Air-King 114200 has plenty to offer but is often overlooked in favor of more famous references from the brand. Yet, for those who are familiar with the Air-King ref. 114200 understand that underneath that unassuming appearance is the same topnotch quality and design we’ve come to expect from the world’s leading luxury watchmaker. Find out more by delving into our guide to the Rolex Air-King 114200.
Brief History of the Rolex Air-King
In the 1940s, Rolex founder, Hans Wilsdorf, debuted a collection of “Air” watches in honor of British Royal Air Force pilots who wore Rolex Oyster watches in World War II. These included models such as the Air-Lion, Air-Giant, Air-Tiger, and Air-King.
While the other models were quickly dropped from Rolex’s catalog, the Air-King remained in near-continuous production–even until today. There have been several references made throughout the history and evolution of the Air-King over the last seven-plus decades.
However, the vast majority of them shared similar 34mm Oyster case dimensions, stainless steel structures, and time-only dials. Furthermore, except for the earliest references, most Air-King watches have been automatic ones.
Today’s version, the Air-King ref. 116900 with a 39mm case and black and green dial is quite a design departure from previous models. Therefore, the Air-King 114200 is recognized as the last “traditional” Air-King watch.
Rolex Air-King 114200
Rolex introduced the Air-King ref. 114200 in 2007 to replace the Air-King ref. 14000. The watch sports the customary 34mm stainless steel case, which is fitted with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal to protect the dial. It’s worth pointing out that the steel is 904L steel–an alloy that is especially resistant to corrosion. The case is water-resistant to 100 meters thanks in part to the Twinlock screw-down winding crown and screw-down fluted caseback.
The 114200 brought about several upgrades to the Air-King model. First, this is the first in the collection to be chronometer-certified. Previous non-chronometer Air-King models included the words “Precision” on the dial. On the other hand, since the Air-King ref. 114200 runs on the COSC-certified version of Caliber 3130, these references include the familiar “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” text on the dial. The Caliber 3130 automatic movement provides about 48 hours of power reserve.
Furthermore, the Air-King 114200 includes an upgraded Oyster bracelet with solid end links, solid center links, and an improved more durable clasp. The heftier bracelet and the silhouette of the case actually make the Air-King 114200 wear larger than its official 34mm diameter would suggest.
The Air-King 114200 has a smooth steel bezel, while other variants in the collection include the Air-King 114210 with an engined-turned steel bezel and the Air-King ref. Air-King 114234 with a white gold fluted bezel.
Dial design choices include “Explorer-style” with the recognizable 3, 6, and 9 numerals, concentric circle layouts in vibrant shades, traditional Roman numeral executions, and others. Luminous accents on the dials are coated with SuperLuminova luminescence.
Although the Air-King was discontinued in 2014 (only to be revived in 2016 as a completely redesigned watch), the reference number 114200 continued to be a part of Rolex’s lineup–in the form of the Oyster Perpetual ref. 114200. More on that later.
Air-King 114200 vs Air-King 14000
It’s always good to know what you’re getting with a newer version of a particular Rolex compared to an older model–especially when shopping for pre-owned watches. The reference that immediately preceded the 114200 was the Air-King 14000. Here’s a quick comparison between the Air-King 114200 vs Air-King 14000.
|Air-King 114200||Air-King 14000|
|Production Era||2007 – 2014||1989 – 2007|
|Case||34mm stainless steel||34mm stainless steel|
|Bracelet||Oyster, solid end links||Oyster, hollow end links|
|Lume||SuperLuminova||Tritium/ Luminova/ |
|Movement||Caliber 3130 (COSC)||Caliber 3130 (Non-COSC)|
Air-King 114200 vs Oyster Perpetual 114200
As previously mentioned, Rolex kept the 114200 reference number after the Air-King was discontinued and added it to the Oyster Perpetual watch collection. While the Oyster Perpetual 34 ref. 114200 and the Air-King variant are very similar, there are a few differences to note between them.
Both the Oyster Perpetual ref. 114200 and Air-King ref. 114200 include 34mm stainless steel cases with smooth bezels and sapphire crystals. They also have time-only dials but the Oyster Perpetual hands were lengthened to reach the outer minute track.
Also, Rolex added plenty of other dial colors for the Oyster Perpetual ref. 114200 model, ranging from neutral black or white to vibrant purple or blue. Of course, the familiar “Air-King” name in script font has been dropped from the dials of the OP 114200.
Finally, though both the Air-King 114200 and the Oyster Perpetual 114200 run on the same Caliber 3130 automatic movement, the latter model benefits from the addition of the antimagnetic Parachrom hairspring.
Pre-Owned Air-King ref. 114200
The Air-King 114200 may be discontinued yet there’s nothing dated about this reference. With its timeless design, clean lines, and restrained proportions, the Air-King ref. 114200 is effortless tasteful. Particularly appealing is the price point of this Rolex watch.
Pre-owned Air-King ref. 114200 are typically priced around the $5,000 in the secondary market, give or take a few hundred depending on condition and dial design. For a solid Rolex watch that not only can last you your entire lifetime (and be passed on to the next generation) but can also be worn in just about any situation, that’s an attractive value proposition.