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Rolex Updates Two Aviation Watches: GMT-Master II and Air-King

In this year's show, two Rolex models have generated the most buzz. Now that travelling has been allowed, Rolex's GMT-Master II and Air King novelties are the ideal companions.

The New GMT Master II

Rolex has experience making pilot's watches, as shown in the In the 1930s, when flying was at its apex. Several of the era's pilots set aerial records while donning an Oyster. The GMT-Master II is without a doubt the most well-known pilot's watch made by Rolex. It was designed as a navigational aid for professionals who traverse the world and features a bi-directional spinning bezel with a 24-hour graded inlay in dual-colour versions.

In 2022, the green and black ceramic bezels join the red/blue and red/black variants. The watch is left-handed, which is both unusual and unexpected. Besides that, you'll see that it has all the standard features of a current GMT Master II, including the dual-colored bezel with a 24-hour scale, the 40mm Oystersteel case, and the arrow-tipped hand for the GMT complication. The mechanism, Calibre 3285, which drives both the watch and the date display, has been redesigned to fit the left-side crown.

The date aperture and cyclops lens are located at the 9 o'clock position, while the crown and crown guard are located on the left side of the watch case. As part of the Superlative Chronometer certification, Rolex claims that this 180-degree change necessitated changing the accuracy testing procedure for certain of the final settings. Of course, it can still tell the time across time zones because that is what it is designed to do. Even so, getting acclimated to the new orientation will take some time. Perhaps even if you are left-handed, that is true. since the Rolex line has not had a left-handed model in recent years.

Using a Parachrom hairspring and the proprietary Chronergy escapement, the self-winding movement creates a timepiece with outstanding accuracy and performance. The GMT-Master II also comes with a 70-hour battery life.

Case Size: 40 mm

Case and Bracelet Material: Oystersteel

Calibre: 3285

Power Reserve: 70 hours

The New Air-King

The GMT Master II is known for its new appearance, yet it is not the only watch that has it. An update is also made to the Air King. Although not as significant, the alterations are still clearly pronounced.

The Air-King watch is always considered to be somewhat subdued. As a gesture to honour the British Royal Air Force pilots who served during World War II, it was published in the 1940s. Despite being less popular than the Explorer, Daytona, and Submariner, it has built a strong reputation among loyal followers over the years.

Until recently, the Air-King was a watch that, with the correct style, could pass for both a dress watch and a sports watch. To be completely honest, there was a little bit of both. Although it wouldn't quite work as well as a Datejust, it would go well with a vintage Ike jacket and denim, as well as possibly a sport jacket and wool pants. With the new design changes, the new Air-King, however, draws the line more clearly in the sport category.

The addition of crown protectors to the Air King is a major modification. This gives the watch a more aggressive profile, and what it now lacks in adaptability, it makes up for by having a much greater identity.

Another modification, albeit discernible, is the addition of a "0" in front of the 5-minute marker, which is now displayed as "05." When compared to the other marks, which all had double digits (except for the 3, 6, and 9 hour markers), the previous Air King had a simple "5" and had always felt odd. The dial becomes more balanced as a result.

The top automatic movement from Rolex, the calibre 3230, which is also used in the Submariner no-date variant, is fitted with the Parachrom hairspring in the new-generation Air-King. The Superlative Chronometer movement has a power reserve of 70 hours and is COSC and Rolex Chronometer certified.

Case Size: 40 mm

Case and Bracelet Material: Oystersteel

Calibre: 3230

Power Reserve: 70 hours


These two new watches are a bit of a surprise, especially when considered in the context of the traditional Rolex philosophy. The GMT Master II and the Air King have the same overall aesthetics as the Rolex series, yet they are just different enough to feel brand new. Rolex is demonstrating to us that you don't have to fully deviate from the norm to produce something new, even though the GMT Master II is technically a new watch and the Air-King now clearly occupies the sportier end of the spectrum. And if the Crown is moving along this path, it's safe to conclude that everyone can anticipate what comes next.