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I always liked the Air King. I know it's case size (34mm) is considered small for a guy but 36mm or smaller watches are just so comfortable to me. Any guys here own one? I also like the fact that it is understated and not too flashy. Thoughts on the model?
 

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This is a blast from the past! Bought one for a ridiculously low price (clearance) at the PX in Tageu, Korea in 1989.
Kept it a few years, hardly ever wore it even tho I liked it. Sold it at a gun show in the mid-90s.

One of my more stupid moves in a life filled with them, esp. since I bought a faux Submariner during the same tour!
 

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Rolex Air King
I always liked the Air King. I know it's case size (34mm) is considered small for a guy but 36mm or smaller watches are just so comfortable to me. Any guys here own one? I also like the fact that it is understated and not too flashy. Thoughts on the model?​
AIR-KING / OYSTERQUARTZ



I have been wearing this 1976 Air-King Ref. 5500 for 36 years now, since new! Ever since getting it, I always regretted not getting the more expensive Air-King-Date Ref. 5700 instead; I think the Rolex date window is useful, looks funky and keeps you interested in the look of the watch.

Yes, the Air-King is a 'mid-sized' watch, which, for the smaller wrist, is more comfortable. I don't have a big wrist and I have always found the full sized Rolexes too big and clunky, unwearable in practice. This Air-King is more comfortable on the smaller wrist. It's a classic looking watch which looks cool on a woman's wrist and 'classic' on a man's.

I've worn ladies' sized Oysters and they're the most comfortable of all, they simply feel like a lightweight bracelet, like there's nothing there at all. I don't think they necessarily look silly, but their dials and date windows are way too small to read unless you've got perfect eyesight, which I don't have.

My Air-King originally came with the earlier, thinner, lighter 'rolled-link' Oyster bracelet which I replaced in 1980 with the newer 'solid link' Oyster bracelet seen here. This solid bracelet makes the watch seem much heavier, it now weighs a total of 82 grams, but it still doesn't really feel like a heavy watch. Occasionally I've had this watch on a blue leather strap, but I always come back to the Oyster bracelet because its way better for security - strap buckle center pins are usually very weak and bend out of shape if pulled hard enough, and handling a watch with an open strap is an easy way to drop it. The steel bracelet also enables the watch's excellent waterproofness.

For 35 years I regularly swam, hot-tubbed and showered with my Air-King on, but my service guy recently told me to stop doing it because hot water distorts the watchworks, stresses the hell out of everything, which sounds reasonable, and so I have stopped hot-watering the watch unless I have to.

Precision? When this Air-King was new, and after it came back from its occasional Rolex services, it always gained 6 secs per day. My ex-Rolex service guy recently adjusted it to lose 3 secs per day, which is better. The lume (tritrium) died long ago, which really annoys me, it's a drag not having a Rolex which glows in the dark. I like to sleep with my watch on - okay with a Rolex with its dust proof case.



Recently I bit the bullet and dropped a small bundle on this very good, used, late model (Y2000) blue-dial Oysterquartz Ref. 17014A, seen here. This watch I REALLY like. Stunning finish, 122 grams of the sexiest s/steel I've ever seen or fondled, simpler but every bit as good re finish as a new $13k Sub!

It has the new Superluminova lume which glows quite well in the dark, fine for bedtime. Accuracy? This thing's like having an atomic clock on your wrist. I've been wearing it for 5 weeks and I still can't see any drift against the national radio time pips.

Comfort is really good, much better than the full size mechanical Rolexes; there is something different about the flatness of the OQ case and the way its straight links hinge to it. I think the Oyster bracelet on the more basic OQ17000 is maybe even more comfy than the Jubilee bracelet on this 17014A.

The slightly larger dial of the OQ (compared to the slightly smaller dial on the AK) is way better for reading accuracy, I can work with it quite well (and with its date window) without my reading glasses on.

The very 'planar' construction of the OQ - its flat case, dial, hands, markers and cover lens - make legibility really good.

I think one of the problems Rolex had with the OQ is that it didn't photograph as well or as easily as the traditional more rounded designs; the OQ can look like crap in photos but in the flesh its very sexy.

Jim Morrison said 'Your barroom days are over'; with this OQ17014A on my wrist I feel as though 'My watch hunting days are over', but now I've decided to definitely collect OQ's.

My recommendation: yes, the Air-King is definitely better for comfort (on a slender wrist) than any of the bigger or full size mechanical Rolexs; but its lack of a date window, I think, makes it a bit dull to live with after a while.

If you've got the dough, look at an Oysterquartz, you'll be impressed by the weight, finish, accuracy and comfort.

(PS. in case you're wondering about the weird reflections in my photos, I photographed these two watches on top of a (concave) magnifying shaving mirror, which gives these weird reflections! Both photos are straight shots, no post-manipulation used!)
 

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