Rolex Air-King Ref. 116900 'Bloodhound'
The Air-King has enjoyed a long and rich legacy in the Rolex catalogue. Released in 1945 to honour the British Royal Air Force during the Second World War, the Air-King was promoted as an entry-level, affordable stepping stone into the brand. Its design was slick and simplistic, a standard 34mm stainless steel timepiece which remains one of the most recognisable designs in watchmaking.
While discontinued in 2014, the Air-King soon re-emerged in 2016 where it was primarily marketed as an aviation-inspired timpiece, acknowledging the beginnings of its 75-year tenure. The 116900 reference marked a resurgence for the Air-King, bravely incorporating a range of new features. Most notably the Ref. 116900 measures at 40mm as opposed to the traditional 34mm, allowing this watch to command a real presence on the wrist in a landscape of large modern watches. Its twinlock screw-down crown for water resistance to 330 feet (100 meters). Futhermore its nickname 'Bloodhound' derives from the similarities between this Rolex's dial and the Bloodhound SSC 1000 MPH Car. The design inspirations are clear through this Air-King's busier, complex dial. The striking yellow and green colour combination, coupled with minute markers, luminous triangular index and Mercedes-style hands show a transition into completely new territory.
Through this brilliant Air-King, we see a perfect harmony of simplistic design and new technology. The 116900 reference shows no fear in propelling a 75-year legacy into innovative new heights. Becoming highly desirable by Rolex collectors, the Bloodhound is a phenomenal display of what makes Rolex great.
This example comes with its original inner and outer packaging, complete with booklets, hang-tags, bill of sale, signed guarantee dated 2017.