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Rolex Air-King Ref. 5500 - 'Brushed' Blue Dial


Believe it or not, there are still some great, lesser-known finds in the world of vintage Rolex.

Vintage Air-Kings in particular offer a wide variety of dials and styles across a long production run, all of which do what Rolex does best: Timeless good looks, an Oyster case, and a robust movement. All of this, with a paired down 34mm case size - this is about a classic a Rolex as you can get.

The model was debuted in 1945, and as the name would imply, was honoring those pilots who participated in air combat over the UK in the now infamous Battle of Britain. This was part of a post-war lineup that included more obscure models like the Air-Lion, Air-Tiger, and Air-Giant. Naturally, many have faded into complete obscurity today. Even the likes of Pan Am gifted the Air King to its retiring pilots as a ‘thank you’ for service to the company. While the Air-King went through many iterations - including a stint as the case that housed the Explorer I dials - the Reference 5500 is the predominant reference of note. Like other iconic models (the 5513, and 1675) the reference ran for 37 years from 1957 to 1994, and used one of the incredibly robust 1500 series movements.

This piece, a Reference 5504, dates to circa 1971 and comes to us in honest overall condition. The steel 34mm Oyster case showing normal signs of wear with a small impression on the bottom right lug with a smooth polished steel bezel that shows matching normal wear. The blue dial inside features a gorgeous horizontally-brushed finish with applied white-painted 'baton' indices, fully-intact Tritium plots, and minor wear around the indices. The correct 'pencil' handset shows light oxidation from age with slightly darker Tritium within.

Fitted to a correct steel Oyster bracelet, this piece presents great value next to its more well-known siblings, and truly represents the essence of Rolex.

Stainless Steel 1971 Automatic 34mm

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From Rolex & Patek Philippe, to Cartier & Audemars Piguet. As collectors first, we love the small details that separate the Submariner from Daytona and Calatrava from Royal Oak. This is why you'll find our curated assortment spans decades of generations of models and brands. We believe that watches don't just tell time, they tell history - and life is too short to wear a boring watch.

Oliver & Clarke