timefactors watches
Results 1 to 50 of 50

Thread: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

  1. #1
    Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Surrey, England, or somewhere else
    Posts
    5,720
    Blog Entries
    16

    REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Rolex Air-King-Date Precision
    Manufacture: Rolex
    Complications: Date and sweep second hand
    Ref: 5700
    Cal: 1520
    Serial Number: 416xxxx
    Original Purchase Date: 22 March 1978



    History and Impressions
    This particular watch holds personal memory for me. It belonged to my father who passed away in September 1988. My mother, who is also no longer with me, left it to me as a remberance gift. For a very long time it was left, almost neglected, until last year when I decided to get it serviced and refinished. It is one of the smallest watches in my collection measuring 35mm across without the crown. It comes from the fine heritage of the Rolex Oyster.

    According to supplied marketing literature, that comes with the watch, "The "Oyster" . . . invented in 1926, it was the first truly waterproof wristwatch in the world. Yet it was not created for swimmers but simply to provide perfect protection for the precision movement."

    There is much written about the history of Rolex - here is one example that explains the history of the Rolex Oyster: http://www.timeandgems.com/Rolex-Oyster

    Also, hunting the internet I found this about it's history,"Rolex was a favourite watch for long distance aviators prior to WWII and became the the watch of choice for fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain era. This influenced Hans Wilsdorf (founder of Rolex), who chose to honour these flyers with a new line of manual wind Oysters with names such as Air Tiger, Air Lion, Air Giant and Air King. These watches were produced from about 1958 to the early 1960s. Eventually, only the Air King remained, and later gained an automatic movement. The Air-King has the same movement as the non-date Submariner and the Explorer I, but it is not COSC certified." (http://giwiganz.com/Projects/wat6/)

    So this AKD has been in my family since 1978 and passed onto me in 1988. It has full service history and comes with all original booklets and original receipt from purchase - for the grand retail price of £254.00 from a AD that I know still is trading in my home town. I think both these facts are quite amazing in this day and age. Interesting the service and refinish in 2009 cost the same as the purchase price.

    Provenance


    Notwithstanding the price, I believe the Air-King with Date complication are quite rare and of this colour even more so.

    So how does this watch wear in practice? It is a typical Oyster classic shape - all stainless steel case and bracelet - polished on edges and brushed finish, with a 'fliplock' clasp on the 78370 (557) bracelet. As said - one of the smallest - one might say - classically sized - round face - with a beautiful star-burst blue finished face.

    The Bracelet and Clasp
    It can be fitted exactly to size with aid of the spring bar inside the clasp. And if the bracelet does not fit tightly enough, "simply reshape the blade inside the clasp-which fits against the clasp cover-by bending it very slightly to fit the curve of your wrist.". I must admit it is very comfortable to wear and considering I remember my father wore this watch every day for 10 years - and I know it went through a lot - it remains very 'tight' and has been brought back to pristine condition.





    The Dial / Face / Case
    What can I say - understated - classic - timeless, functional. It is very easy to read because of the high contrast between the steel hands, stick batons, and the Rolex 'Crown' at 12 and position of the cyclops over the date at 3 makes for easy reading of the time - even in low light conditions. The tritium has gone (T SWISS T) but the small beads - at each hour - have a lovely patina now. The date is a slow date change that changes between 11pm and 12pm. There is no 'quick change' method of changing the date, but it is a 'hacking' movement for correct setting of the second hand.



    Detail:




    The crown is a screw-down winding crown with patented "Twinlock" mechanism. Very positive feel and I would have no hesitation wearing this watch in any conditions - sea, hot-tub, shower, washing the dishes.



    Technical Details

    Make:
    ROLEX
    Style:
    Oyster Perpetual Air-King-Date
    Shape/Ref#:
    Round / 5700
    Metal:
    Stainless Steel
    Movement:
    26 Jewels
    Caliber 1520
    Incabloc System
    Capped Escape Wheel
    Oyster Perpetual
    Dial:
    Applied Baton Markers
    PlexiGlass Crystal
    Case Dimensions:
    35mm x 42mm lug to lug

    Re-finish
    It was sent in for a service and re-finsh in July 2009 and I am very pleased with the results. Here is what it looked like before being worked on:


    And after the work:


    Further images:







    Final Notes
    This is one of the least valuable watches in my collection in some respects, but in other respects it is the most valuable because of the personal history it has for me. It may not be the biggest or the flashiest or the most complex watch I have - but it will be in my family even after I leave it. I wear it from time to time, like I am at the moment while I type this. And it make me smile. I am sure it will keep ticking for another 30+ years.

    Here is a large picture link - http://designmjc.com/media/picts/wat...K/DSC_0633.jpg stats: 4256x2832 3.65MB 1/25 sec @ f/5 ISO-200 105mm macro
    Last edited by MartynJC (UK); 24th August 2013 at 20:51.

  2. #2
    Master
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    5,453

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    I've replied in Watch Talk, but this deserves another reply here too as reviews always look so undervalued otherwise.

    A thoroughly enjoyable read Martyn and very much appreciated :)

  3. #3
    Grand Master boddah's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    England
    Posts
    12,809

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Great write up! :D
    "I looked with pity not untinged with scorn upon these trivial-minded passers-by"

  4. #4

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Nice vintage rolex air king date ..... :P

  5. #5

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Thanks for spending the time writing that - a great read and superb pictures. I used to have an almost identical Air King and this has made me want another!

  6. #6
    Journeyman
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Greece
    Posts
    71

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Thanks for the review. Great stuff! Vintage Rolex goodness!

  7. #7

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Fantastic review. The Rolex Air-King Date is quite collectable and I've been on the lookout for one (with a good price) for a year or so. The watch is so similar and yet different to all the other Rolex watches.

  8. #8
    Journeyman
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    176

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Thank you so much for the review, I really enjoyed reading the history of the watch and it is amazing to look at the before / after pictures of the service 8).

  9. #9
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    South Staffordshire
    Posts
    615

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    That is a lovely, lovely watch! One day...

    Great review, thanks for taking the time to do that.
    :)

  10. #10

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    thanks for the review

  11. #11
    Master Swissz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Switzerland/France
    Posts
    1,064

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Great before and after pics!

  12. #12

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    A great review of a splendid piece. Thank you very much Martyn. I think the blue dial is my favourite Air King version.

  13. #13

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    It has a really classy look to it, classy but simple and very wearable.

  14. #14
    Journeyman
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Darmstadt / Germany
    Posts
    51

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Beautiful history and a great watch. I am thinking about buying a 34 mm Air King or Date but I am afraid about the size ... isn't it too small beeing used to 40+mm steel hammers? I do not know ... Cheers, L

  15. #15

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    very nice... and indeed haven't seen many with date combo.

  16. #16

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Very nice review makes me feel like getting such a watch but i know the size would just be too small for me but thanks for the review and pics.

  17. #17

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    I had several Air King and I think the older with the plexi are feeling better than the sapphire ones,

    nice full set,

    congrats !

  18. #18
    Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    North Wilts
    Posts
    1,086

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    If you don't mind me asking what do Rolex charge for that sort of refinshing?

  19. #19

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    beautiful watch I must say. That review led me to search for them on ebay just now. I like the clean lines of the watch.

  20. #20

    Thanks for the review

    I can't say the number of times I've reread this review. A close friend of mine is after the no-date version of this very watch. I much prefer the date version, and am seriously looking at a blue dial for my next acquisition. I've considered trying to find a Tudor to fit this need, but may just step up and buy the Rolex.
    Thanks, as always, for your time in compiling and photographing this subject.
    Scott
    (SjhC)

  21. #21

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Thank you for posting this informative and interesting thread

  22. #22

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Nice vintage watch. I could imagine an Air-king at my wrist.

  23. #23
    Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    location, location
    Posts
    1,538
    Blog Entries
    1

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    I am a big fan of the blue dial.

  24. #24
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    360

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Fantastic watch and lovely dial.

  25. #25
    Journeyman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lilly Valley - Northern Saxony
    Posts
    51

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Nice review. If these Air Kings weren“t that tiny...

  26. #26

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    very nice

  27. #27
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Mainly Holiday Inns around the UK
    Posts
    765

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Great watch, great review and great photos. Thanks for sharing.

  28. #28
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Santander (Spain)
    Posts
    354

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Lovely, great review, well done

  29. #29
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Posts
    448

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Great review and beautiful watch.

    It is a rare bird, I have been looking after a nice blue dialed smooth bezel vintage Rolex for years!

  30. #30
    Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Surrey, England, or somewhere else
    Posts
    5,720
    Blog Entries
    16

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidL
    If you don't mind me asking what do Rolex charge for that sort of refinshing?
    At the time (2009) it was £250 from my in-house AD. more now I imagine.

  31. #31
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cheshire (sort of)
    Posts
    341

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Really lovely watch especially with the history it has, I have always liked the Airkings and only recently learnt of the existence of date versions.
    The blue and Salmon dials are my personal faves.

  32. #32
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Yorkshire
    Posts
    306

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Stunning watch and stunning review

    Many thanks

  33. #33
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Mainly Holiday Inns around the UK
    Posts
    765

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    Lovely watch, great review. I would love to add one to my collection.

  34. #34
    Craftsman jakubisko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    522

    Re: REVIEW: Rolex Air-King Date (vintage)

    I“ve been into Rolex for some time but after this review I realised that AirKing might have been watch for the pilots

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    At the time (2009) it was £250 from my in-house AD. more now I imagine.
    Great pics and review, thanks

    You bet it's more now, I recently had the opportunity to buy a near identical piece from a private seller, but it needed a service and Rolex now charge £460 for this....a big mark up over £250!

    Even independent William Rice quoted £368, but the killer was that it probably needed a new bezel too, and W.Rice quoted an additional £200 for this, so all put together, it made the purchase non-viable.

    Congratulations to you on your AKD though, and may you wear it in good health!

  36. #36
    Master Gruntfuttock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Peasemoldia, UK
    Posts
    4,963
    Hi
    lovely review and a stunning watch post-refurb. I was staring in the window of John Bull at the weekend. They lost the Rolex AD status a few years ago (it went next door to Baker Bros) unfortunately.

  37. #37
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    west midlands
    Posts
    35
    Never realised how lovely the airking date looks!! I think i may have over looked it!! lovely watch and fantastic review.

  38. #38
    Craftsman Spendor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    South East
    Posts
    264
    Nice watch and write-up. Somewhat of a rolex rarity is the AKD.

  39. #39
    Lovely watch,and great review many thanks.

  40. #40
    Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Surrey, England, or somewhere else
    Posts
    5,720
    Blog Entries
    16
    Cool ad from the 60's care of rolexblog.com


  41. #41
    Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    England and Spain
    Posts
    2,106
    Chaps

    The Air King is a beautiful little watch, I am looking for one for the wife as well as myself to wear.

    Mick

  42. #42
    Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    N.ireland
    Posts
    3,128
    Thats a lovely story.Got this one recently,

  43. #43
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Northampton
    Posts
    612
    What a great story. Are you wearing it still?

  44. #44
    Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Carlisle
    Posts
    3,546

    Smile Absolutely Beautiful

    My dad has the exact same,from the same period.
    Lovely story and review,i have just contacted Duncan from Genesis for a full refurb and yes it's £430 now.
    Can't wait to see it in its glory.

  45. #45
    Journeyman
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    France
    Posts
    59
    Nice watch. Really love the sunburst blue dial.

  46. #46
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    North Devon UK
    Posts
    306
    Great review and nice back story. I have a vintage 1500 Date and was considering letting it go. Your article has given me pause for thought.

  47. #47
    Craftsman
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    543
    Beautiful watch, fantastic write up, even more amazing back story - thanks for your time and effort to share this.

  48. #48
    Nice review
    I have my original 1986 silver dialled AKD in mint condition in the watch box
    Was my daily wearer for 20 plus years, and with the lightest of refinishing looks new again
    Fabulous little watch, got it from Parkhouse and Wyatt in Southampton and was looking at the new air king there on Saturday!

  49. #49
    The air king date was the first rolex I bought. A beautiful example from 84 iirc and had full box and papers from harrods. Sold it to my old boss in 2001 for £1200. It was too small for me really but a beautiful watch.

  50. #50
    Grand Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    10,025
    Thanks for this thread,needed to read up on one of these today having been offered a 1968 Silver linen dial 5700 A-K-D.
    Can't believe the condition of it for a 1968,a truly beautiful watch.Ill try and upload pics.......

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •