News! Rolex releases Air-King 126900
Like every year, there has been a lot of speculations in the anticipation of Rolex’s new releases. One of the most discussed, speculated, and anticipated models are the Air-King. There has been a lot of speculation and expectation that Rolex would discontinue the Air-King reference 116900 and now it is finally official.
The Rolex Air-King 116900 has been discontinued!
The Air-King 116900 was first released at Baselworld 2016 and now, 5 years later, it has been discontinued. But Rolex didn’t discontinue the Air-King model altogether. Instead, they replaced it with the new reference 126900.
Air-King 116900 discontinued
The discontinuation of the Air-King 116900 did not come as a surprise to anyone. More so, it was expected. One of the reasons is that the watch is powered by the older generation caliber 3130 whilst Rolex is actively working to move to the new generation calibers for all of its watches, which, for this model would be the no-date caliber 3230. The caliber 3130 has been in production for a really long time and it was well overdue for an upgrade. And finally, that’s exactly what has happened.
Furthermore, there’s also a more interesting background as to why Rolex may have felt that the discontinuation of the model was necessary. The Air-King 116900 was developed in partnership with the special Bloodhound SSC project for which Rolex made cockpit instruments in 2006. The goal of this project was to develop a car that could reach a land speed of 1,000 mph and the instruments that Rolex made for the car were used as inspiration when designing the dials of the Air-King.
In 2018, the Bloodhound SSC project ran into financial trouble. It was later saved and rebranded, but Rolex was no longer a part of the project. As a result, the Rolex instruments were removed from the vehicle. In a sense, the project was a failure, and with Rolex’s slogan “a crown for every success”, Rolex is a company that only wants to be associated with success and not failure.
Moreover, because Rolex was no longer a part of the project that inspired the Air-King, it was about time that Rolex finally discontinued the Air-King 116900 and replaced it with something new instead.
Rolex Air-King 126900 teasers
The first teasers for the 126900 were released on March 28, 2022, two days before the official release with a short video.
Rolex released the teaser under the text “Prepare to move skywards”, which can be seen as an obvious reference to the sky, which is what the Air-King is, after all, built for. Furthermore, the teaser contains a video of an airplane, which is another reference to the Air-King.
And lastly, the teaser gave a glimpse of the new Air-King 126900 from the side. What we can see is a smooth, polished bezel with a sporty profile that looks just exactly how we would expect the Air-King to look.
Come March 30, the Air-King 126900 is officially released but already on the 29th of March, we are able to conclude that Rolex is in fact releasing a new Air-King according to Watches & Wonders leaked information.
Rolex releases the Air-King 126900 and discontinues 116900
On March 30, 2022, Rolex unveils the new and much-anticipated Air-King 126900 at Watches & Wonders in Geneva, Switzerland.
In traditional Rolex fashion, the Rolex Air-King 126900 replaces the previous generation 116900. As expected, it is powered by the latest generation caliber 3230 which we have looked at in detail in this guide.
The most notable upgrade and change to the Air-King apart from the new dial is the fact that Rolex has added crown guards to its design, something that its predecessor did not have. This makes for a sportier look and a design that, at least in our opinion, better aligns with the ethos of the Air-King.