Air-King 114200 and comparison with Explorer I 36mm

Discussion in 'Watch Reviews' started by Carl, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. Carl

    Carl

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    Picked up my new Air-King from my AD a few days ago, and am loving it! It has been said that although the Air-King is the entry-level Rolex, in the realm of watches it is anything but. I would say that is very correct. Maybe even an understatement.
    Here are the details, much as found on the Rolex website:

    Air-King 34mm steel with domed bezel, silver dial
    Oyster Bracelet with Oysterclasp, lug width 19mm tapers to 16mm
    COSC Certified Chronometer
    Waterproof to 100metres/330feet

    As far as the movement is concerned, I am sure it is still the 3130, the no date movement used in the older Explorer I and Sub No Date (which is now using the 3132 with parachrom hairspring in the most recent issues) and the older Oyster Perpetuals. I am pretty sure I read that the updated 3132 is a bit larger and would not fit inside the 34mm case. Although, if anyone can verify this it would be appreciated.
    I am really liking the Oyster bracelet with Oysterclasp, as it has the filled links rather than the hollow links on my Explorer I. Although it is a 34mm case, as opposed to the 36mm Explorer, I feel it is heavier because of the wider lugs. Here is a photo of my Explorer for comparison:
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Because the case is bigger on the Explorer, the crown is as well. Same as on the 36mm Oyster Perpetual, although the OP has the wider lugs as well. The tapered lugs on the Explorer give it a case that is unique to that model.
    I am actually partial to the embossed crown on the clasp as well, rather than having an applied crown:
    [​IMG]
    The lack of the Easylink on the Oysterbracelet is not a big deal to me. I actually found the adjustments on the Milgauess, which has the Easylink, a bit too large at 5mm. The ones on the Oysterbracelet that is on the AK are about 3mm, although they have to be manually adjusted.
    I don't really notice the narrower bracelet at 19mm as opposed to the other Rolex models at 20mm. I think that is because there is not quite as much taper, as they both taper to 16mm.
    I really like the applied crown at 12 o'clock, where the Explorer has the triangle marker.
    Also, the arabics 3-6-9 give a wonderful effect as they are not white filled but all silver. The narrow hands look great, as does the long second hand, very narrow and unobtrusive.
    The "Air-King" logo and font, which is decades old, really adds to the retro look, and is one thing, although small, that I really like. Very small, adds a touch of class.
    Beautiful sunburst dial. I really like how it takes on a champagne tone in many lights.
    Here is a great shot by my friend Ian that demonstrates that as well as I have seen in any photo:

    [​IMG]

    Here is a wrist shot of my Explorer for comparison:
    [​IMG]

    The Explorer is obviously the sportier of the two, although I would not hesitate to wear the Air-King anywhere.
    There are many who say that the Explorer I and the Air-King are very similar. I see two completely different watches, though, apart from the dial markers and arabics being very similar. Personally, I prefer the proportions of the Air-King over the Explorer I.
    I was very tempted to go with a Datejust 36mm, with white gold fluted bezel and polished Oyster bracelet with Easylink, as well as the silver dial with stick markers. In the end, it was the Air-King that won out, though. And there are no regrets.
    Hope you enjoy the comparison/review, even if it's a bit long-winded. Thanks for reading.
    Cheers :cheers:
    Carl
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  2. SPACE-DWELLER

    SPACE-DWELLER

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    Great review, Carl! :goodpost:

    I must say I really like the embossed Rolex coronet on the clasp, too, as opposed to the applied out that stands out in relief...

    The embossed Rolex coronet has the advantage that you can remove scratches on the clasp with a ScotchBrite pad easier around the crown (and even run the pad OVER it) without destroying the outlines of the coronet! :thumbsup:
  3. pawnshopkiller

    pawnshopkiller

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    I totally agree about the crown on the clasp Bo.
  4. Carl

    Carl

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    Never even thought about the practical aspect of that! It all goes hand-in-hand with the simplicity of the watch. While I love the silver arabics 3-6-9, I wouldn't even mind if they still did all stick markers on the dial.

    Cheers :cheers:
    Carl
  5. shandy

    shandy

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    great review Carl! Obviously having seen both in the flesh they are both wonderful, would be an ideal pair to have some day eh!
  6. Carl

    Carl

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    Yes, an ideal pair! To the novice, a pair of identical watches, with the only difference being the dial colour. However, having worn the Air-King for almost a week, and glancing at it on my wrist all the time, it seems the watches are worlds apart.
    I do miss the Explorer I, during the week especially, since I am not wearing the Air-King to work. The Explorer is no less of a watch, somehow it just lends itself to me wearing it at work, and I didn't mind getting the odd scratch or mark on it. Maybe one day I will get round to feeling the same way about the Air-King. I am always telling people on the forum to wear their watches all the time, so maybe it's time I practiced the advice I am giving to others!
    Cheers :cheers:
    Carl
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  7. Dshiu

    Dshiu

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    That was a great review. Although I'm new to timepiece collecting, it recently caught me that explorer I and air king had similar features. I was wondering if Rolex wanted the air king to kind of take over explorer I's place.

    Anyhow I'm planning to purchase the air king 114200 sometime this year but ant make up my mind on the colour of the dial. I really like the one shown on ths thread, it was actually my first choice because I thought it looked classy and professional but my girlfriend said it look way too old for my age and said ppl might think it's someone else's watch. So now I'm deciding between the blue and the pink. If I choose the blue it's more subtle and mysterious but dull I would say. The Pink is exciting and cool but I'm afraid it won't look professional enough.

    Let me know what y'all think.

    Thank you