Rolex Air-King 116900 is perhaps one of the most confusing modern Rolex watches. The model name moved to 6 o’clock, like most other Rolex watches have. Rolex increased the case size from 34mm to a perfectly wearable 40mm case.It will immediately remind you of the 40mm Milgauss case. And that is correct. It is the same case as the Milgauss, which means the new Rolex Air-King 116900 is also protected against magnetic fields.
The case (and bracelet) are made of the famous 904L grade stainless steel and has a beautiful satin finish. Where the Oyster bracelet on the Milgauss has a PCL (polished center link), the bracelet on the Rolex Air-King is all satin. Due to the case construction and twin-lock crown, the Rolex Air-King 116900 is water resistant to 100 meters.
The dial is what confused a lot of people, including me. Not only did Rolex move the Air-King logo to the lower part of the dial (the original Air-King in 1945 also had it at 6 o’clock), but they added a lot of Arabic numerals to the dial. Not only the typical ‘Explorer’ lay-out with Arabic 3, 6 and 9’clock markers are on there, the remaining hour markers go from ‘5’ to ’55’. A 60-minute scale, with interruption of the ‘Explorer’ markers. This remarkable dial lay-out is based on a pair of cockpit instruments that Rolex made in 2006 for a special project (Bloodhound SSC project). An engineering project to get a super sonic car to reach a speed of 1000mp/h on land. One of the board instruments had a similar lay-out.
The hands and applied numerals are made of 18 carat white gold. The luminous material is patented by Rolex and is called ‘Chromalight’. The Rolex writing is in the typical green color as well as the seconds hand. The Rolex logo at 12 o’clock is in yellow/gold.