WatchUSeek Watch Forums banner
1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All,

I am pondering the purchase of a Rolex sometime in the next year or so. It will be my first. I have always loved the Sub and it will be strongly considered but I really like the simplicity of the Air King. I haven't ever seen one in person, but I have heard it referred to as the "cheap" Rolex or the "poor man's" Rolex by some people. It is the least expensive of the lineup and I was just wondering what are real Rolex fans' opinions on the model. Is it truly a step down from say the Explorer, or is it equal but different? I will certainly go handle it in person, but I thought I'd throw this thread out there too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: aquaman61

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Factor in size.
I believe Air King is all 34mm vs. 36/39mm for whichever Explorer 1 or 40mm for Submariner.
I could be mistaken on all full-size Air King models being 34mm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
Aside from being on the small side (which doesnt bother me at all) it is a fantastic piece. I wouldnt call it the cheap or entry level Rolex since it houses the 3130/35 movement, which you can also find in an explorer and a no-date sub. So when you are talking movements, well you really lose nothing compaired to the rest of the line. Looks wise they are very beautiful and understated. You can wear a very handsome Rolex without looking like your wearing it only because it is a Rolex. And for me, the size makes it my most comfortable watch to wear. I find myself wearing it more than any other piece I own purely for that reason, it is the best daily wearer.
perhaps this will help: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air King | How to be Swell
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,149 Posts
I'll just say this; there is no shame in wearing any Rolex. That being said, you should buy a Rolex because YOU like it, regardless of a perceived opinion.

I like the Air King; has a certain nostalgia to it. Candidly, though, it is a bit too small for my wrist. That's not saying that, generally, it is too small. By way of comparison, I also like the Deep Sea Dweller, but that Rolex is too big for my wrist!!

If you try it on, and it fits you well, and brings a smile to your face -- I say go for it!

Regards,

Mike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Factor in size.
I believe Air King is all 34mm vs. 36/39mm for whichever Explorer 1 or 40mm for Submariner.
I could be mistaken on all full-size Air King models being 34mm.
I have a small wrist (6.5" on a good day) and I routinely wear a 35mm Nomos and 37mm GS with no problems at all. Because of this I think the 34mm Air King would be just fine.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chasovnik

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't see how anyone could call a $5500 watch a poor man's Rolex. Silly really. The AK really is a sensible choice and it shows you have some individuality too. Anyone can buy a Sub. Choose to be different.
I agree it is an extremely stupid concept. I was just pointing out that I have heard people say it and I wanted to hear from people whose opinions I would care about......true Rolex fans.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,228 Posts
I've been a huge fan of the AK for years. Over the years I've had 4 subs, 3 GMTs, a DJ and an Exp 1 and 2. None of them I like as much as the AK. I chose a 5500 as my daily wear over the 14000 I'd acquired first. The 5500 to me represents vintage Rolex perfectly. After you've "been there, done that" in Rolex you'll settle on a watch that really sings to you. Don't repeat my mistakes! Get an AK and enjoy! No better Rolex modern or vintage in my opinion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I've been a huge fan of the AK for years. Over the years I've had 4 subs, 3 GMTs, a DJ and an Exp 1 and 2. None of them I like as much as the AK. I chose a 5500 as my daily wear over the 14000 I'd acquired first. The 5500 to me represents vintage Rolex perfectly. After you've "been there, done that" in Rolex you'll settle on a watch that really sings to you. Don't repeat my mistakes! Get an AK and enjoy! No better Rolex modern or vintage in my opinion.
What is the difference between the 5500 and 14000?

edit: search function is my friend. So the modern (after 2000 or so) are the 14000M?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,228 Posts
The 5500 has a cal 1520 movement (or 1530 depending on the year and market) and acrylic crystal. The 14000 has a cal 3000 movement, sapphire crystal and slightly updated dials and hands. The 14000m has all I've the above with a cal 3130 movement. The 14000m stopped production in early 2007
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
122 Posts
I think the AK is a great looking watch. My wrists are too big to wear it (in my opinion), but if they weren't, it would be a top choice. It's a good looking watch that also has history and tradition going for it. I think the cyclops is an eyesore, and many of the newer Rolexes are just too "Blingy". It really comes down to whether you are buying it for yourself or others.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gagnello

·
Registered
Joined
·
358 Posts
A small overview of the current sizes. Only mens watch.

34 mm - Air King, Date

35 mm - Yacht Master

36 mm - Oyster Perpetual, Datejust, Day Date

39 mm - Explorer

40 mm - Daytona, Submariner, GMT Master II, Milgauss, Yacht Master

41 mm - Datejust II, Day Date II

42 mm - Explorer II, Sky Dweller, Sea Dweller

43 mm - Deep Sea

44 mm - Yacht Master II
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,140 Posts
I have heard it referred to as the "cheap" Rolex or the "poor man's" Rolex by some people. It is the least expensive of the lineup and I was just wondering what are real Rolex fans' opinions on the model.
Most real Rolex fans do not think in these terms. I like the case styling of the Air King, and also like several of the various dial options - some are very unique. The 34mm is the only drawback for me.
 

·
Registered
Daytona, LV, Sea Dweller, etc
Joined
·
592 Posts
I have a small wrist (6.5" on a good day) and I routinely wear a 35mm Nomos and 37mm GS with no problems at all. Because of this I think the 34mm Air King would be just fine.
Nomos wears large in my experience and most Rolex watches wear small (at least prior to the new fat cased models). For instance, my 38mm IWC Mark XV wears much larger than my 40mm GMT2 16710. I would seriously consider the previous (36mm) Explorer 1. That is one of the most legible, attractive, and perfectly proportioned watches Rolex has released in the modern era. my wrist is about 6.3" and I wouldn't wear a 34mm watch (nor would I wear a monster PAM FWIW).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
I just bought my first Rolex and it's an Air King 5500. I absolutely love it. Yes at 34 mm, it's on the small size compared to modern watches but it's perfect on my 6.5" wrist. The AK appealed to me for several reasons. Price was one but also its simplicity in design and versatility. It can be worn with a suit or with a t-shirt and jeans and it doesn't scream out to everyone that it's a Rolex unlike the Datejust and Sub. There are also many fakes and homages of these models whereas the AK flies a bit under the radar for a Rolex. Not to say I don't like the DJ and Sub. I hope to get both once I can gather the funds. But for my purposes, the AK was the perfect fit in all aspects for my first Rolex and my first "nice" watch.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for everyone's helpful responses. The fact of the matter is that I am interested in the AK because of its styling, history, price and "fly under the radar" qualities. I never buy anything, whether it be a watch or something else, based on others' perceptions. The purpose of the thread was to see if the reason the AK is not seen or talked about as much as say an explorer or sub is because it is an inferior watch. It seems from the posts that the overwhelming answer to that question is that it is NOT an inferior watch, and that's good enough for me.....mission accomplished. The only thing that would concern me is the size, but I wouldn't ever buy a something like this without handling it first so I will save judgement for the day I can try it on. If the trigger is pulled, rest assured you guys will know!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,228 Posts
The size is fine if you're an average sized human. I'm an average build, 6' tall, 6.5in wrists. Looks great. Inferior is a word used by people who don't understand Rolex. The AK uses the same movement as the Submariner and has for years. It doesn't have a rotating bezel and the case is 6mm smaller, that's it. Some feel that because something is cheaper that it's inferior. Not the case with a Rolex.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,644 Posts
I also like the simplicity of the AK and was considering it strongly in my quest to replace my '79 Datejust I never got over parting with. For me its not really the 34mm size versus the 36mm of the DJ (but-I admit to preferring it) For me it is my fixation (or fascination) with the chronometer grade movements in Oyster perpetuals and DJs, etc. And it isn't as if the Precision line doesnt keep extremely accurate time. In fact-a chronmeter grade cal. is only as good as its regulation after so many years. But just to give you another perspective-The AK has ALL the features that were absolute 'musts'. 1-oyster bracelet, 2-smooth bezel, 3-white/silver dial with baton hands and stick index markers. I was willing to live w/o a date function but in the end-I found the DJ that was right and decided the DJ was a classic icon in its own right and I would feel like something was missing without the cyclops and date. I would have had NO problem wearing an AK though-if that was the rolex I liked. I don't think there is such a thing as a 'poor man's rolex' that IS a Rolex. I have heard things like the 70s Seiko 'panda' or daytona dial chronograph is a 'poor mans daytona' but THAT is quite a different concept then an actual Rolex thats a poor mans\'s Rolex. Here is what I got the other day:
same 'plain-jane' SS stick markers and hands but with a date and a tiny bit bigger:


good luck with your quest
 
  • Like
Reactions: KeithNYC

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
i own a couple of rolex sports watches, and i avoided the air king because i thought being an entry level rolex it had the stigma of being cheap. boy was i wrong big time! if i could turn the hands of time it would have been my first and possibly only rolex. very classic and elegant you can wear it with jeans, suit and everything else in between.

i actually wore a sub on my wedding. if i have an opportunity to redo it i would probably wear an air king or a bambino on my wedding day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,830 Posts
Materials of construction, finishing and movement are the same as Rolex's other steel watches. It's a great watch!
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top