Rolex Air King discontinued

Will Rolex Air King discontinued in 2024? – When did they stop making it?

Will Rolex Air King discontinued in 2024? There has been a great deal of speculation about Rolex’s new releases, as there is every year. The Air King is among the most discussed, speculated, and anticipated models. There was much expectation that Rolex would discontinue the Air-King reference 116900, and now it has become official.

The Rolex Air-King 116900 is no longer available! The Air-King 116900 was introduced at Baselworld in 2016 and is now discontinued five years later. However, Rolex still needs to discontinue the Air-King model altogether. Instead, they substituted the new reference 126900.

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Rolex Air King model’s updation

Rolex Air King discontinued

The dial of the 2016 Air King was criticized for lacking luminescent hour markers for 12, 3, 6, and 9. Instead, they were made of white gold. As a result, the numbers frequently appeared to be lost on the black Explorer-style dial introduced in this version.

The dial has been updated for the 2022 iteration with a Chromalight display and luminescent hour markers at 12, 3, 6, and 9. The number “0,” positioned before “5”, adds to the overall clarity of the dial. The upgrade improves the new dial’s unity and readability.

The 2016 Air King was slightly different in shape from previous models. It has more curved lugs and a domed bezel. Furthermore, the acrylic crystal was modified with synthetic sapphire for increased durability. On the other hand, the new one features a non-functioning bezel and crown guards for the first time! These new additions strengthen the watch even more. Furthermore, as is typical of Rolex, the 2022 version has an advanced movement due to the new caliber 3230. Calibration 3131 fueled the 2016 iteration.

What product has Rolex decided to discontinue in 2024?

The rumors were circulating, notably about the Yacht-Master 2’s probable demise. It’s because of its poor performance. The speculation proved to be accurate. When a Rolex model is phased out, it might become a valuable collection. These retired models exit the retail stage and enter the secondary market. Thus, their prices might skyrocket due to their new scarcity.

Datejust with Palm and Fluted Motif Dials:

Rolex decided to withdraw several of its more specialized Datejust models. The collection is less popular than Rolex’s sports watches, but it has unique and textured dials.

The debut of the fluted dial was welcomed with mixed views. Some thought the design was out of date. Younger watch lovers didn’t find the palm dial attractive because of its “Retire in Florida” theme. These dials were phased out to make room for Rolex’s newer and more creative dial designs.

The Datejust models featuring fluted and palm dials will be discontinued by Rolex in 2024. These pieces are noted for their meticulous laser-etched detailing. It showed unique depth and light interplay, showing Rolex’s manufacturing skills. But after a short production run, these watches are being phased out. Thus, it is indicating a shift in Rolex’s design approach toward more modern and unusual kinds.

White Gold Daytona ‘Le Mans’:

Since its release in June 2023, the Rolex Daytona “Le Mans” reference 126529LN has been regarded as a highly collectible and rare item. It was even among the brand’s VIP customer base.

Unexpectedly, less than a year later, Rolex decided to discontinue this model. It was only in production from June 2023 to April 2024. This specific Daytona is made of 18k white gold and has a black Cerachrom ceramic bezel with a distinct red “100” marking. It was built to honor the 100th anniversary of the Le Mans event.

In spite of its exclusive status as a limited edition and its popularity, Rolex has officially discontinued the Daytona “Le Mans.”

Rolex Air-King: 2016 vs. 2022

The Air King has returned! The timepiece was first introduced in 1945 to honor British Royal Air Force pilots who participated in the Second World War. With a small case and a simple dial, the initial idea was very similar to that of the Rolex Oyster.

Rolex updated the Air-King in 1957 with a new case and dial design that matched the other Rolex Sports designs. Rolex discontinued the Air-King in 2014 but reappeared in 2016 as the Rolex Air-King Ref. 116900.

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In March of this year, the Maison released yet another iteration of the Air-King, which is the Oyster Perpetual Air-King Ref. 126900. At first glance, the 2022 watch may appear to be a reimagining of previous models. We can notice that a lot has changed by taking a closer look. For one thing, the body is shaped like the renowned GMT-Master II, unlike the Milgauss-style case design of the 2016 version.

Second, portions of the oyster bracelet have shifted. It allows for wider lugs to adapt to the broader bracelet. The bracelet is more expertly inspired than ever, with widened center links. Also, it is with an Oyster safety clasp for the first time.

Air King 116900 discontinued

Nobody was surprised when the Air-King 116900 was discontinued. It was even more expected. One of the causes is that the watch is driven by an older-generation caliber 3130. Rolex is 

working actively to transition to new-generation calibers for all of its watches. This would be the no-date caliber 3230 for this model. The caliber 3130 had been in production for a very long time and desperately needed an upgrade. And, in the end, that’s precisely what happened.

Furthermore, there is an exciting backstory as to why Rolex may have felt that discontinuing the model was necessary. The Air-King 116900 was created in collaboration with the Bloodhound SSC task, for which Rolex produced cockpit instruments in 2006. This project aimed to develop a car reaching 1,000 mph on land. The instruments created by Rolex for the car were utilized as inspiration when creating the dials of the Air-King.

The Bloodhound SSC project faced financial difficulties in 2018. It was later rebranded, but Rolex was no longer involved. The Rolex instruments were thus excluded from the vehicle. In some ways, the project was a failure, and with Rolex’s slogan, “a crown for every Rolex,” the firm prefers to be associated with success rather than failure.

Rolex was no longer a part of the project that inspired the Air-King. Hence, it was time for Rolex to withdraw the Air King 116900 and consider replacing it with something new.

Rolex Air King 126900 after discontinuation

Rolex unveiled the much-anticipated Air-King 126900 at Watches & Wonders in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 30, 2022. The Rolex Air-King 126900 is in typical Rolex fashion, replacing the earlier production 116900. It was, indeed, as expected and charged by the latest-generation Caliber 3230.

Also Read – Is Rolex Milgauss Discontinued

Apart from the new dial, the most noticeable upgrade and change to the Air-King is that Rolex has added crown guards to its design. This results in a sportier appearance and a plan that better aligns with the Air-King.


In the end, the Air-King is a pilot’s watch. The 2022 Oyster Perpetual Air-King has its distinctions and similarities. It is one to watch, with a dial influenced by the Bloodhound SSC supersonic vehicle and color combinations of historic Air King watches. The Air-King 2016 was discontinued last year, focusing entirely on the new Air-King.

How did the watch community react to the discontinuation?

A lot of members of the watch community accurately predicted their downfall. Critics on social media networks agreed that these models were less visually appealing than other Rolex products.

What does the discontinuance indicate for Rolex’s future products?

The discontinuation could open the door for new developments as Rolex evolves its product line. It implies an intentional move toward refining and focusing on models with a greater market reach.

Why did Rolex discontinue the Yacht-Master 2 Collection?

The Yacht-Master 2 Collection was discontinued in 2024 because of its niche appeal and low commercial acceptance. Though technically impressive, the collection stayed outside of Rolex’s core product line.

How does the Yacht-Master 2 differ from other Rolex watches?

The Yacht-Master 2 has a unique and expensive 4161 caliber with a programmed countdown regatta chronograph. It is designed for the precise timing of regatta races. However, its particular functionality appeal to collectors less than other Rolex models.

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