The true story of the Rolex Air King Double Nine
The one and only Air-King "Reverso"...discovered by Watchfinder.
The incredible story behind the Rolex Air-King Double Nine or Rolex Ninety-nine, if you prefer, should be listed among the most significant finds of the year and is exclusive to Watchfinder, the world's leading luxury watch sales online platform, that joined the Richemont Group nearly a year ago. What is a Rolex "Double Nine" and why is this story so extraordinary?
It all started last month when Watchfinder published a new video on their YouTube channel; the brand's videos are different from the competition, they're not aimed solely at promoting the watches they sell, they instead help expert collectors and new buyers to make the right choice when looking for their new luxury watch. From this point of view, Watchfinder pride themselves with adopting a smart and elegant editorial style, that is unique in the pre-owned business scenario. This case is no different. The video talks one of the less coveted steel Rolex; at least in Italy, the Air-King is not as famous as a Rolex Pepsi, a Rolex Batman or a Rolex Daytona.
Superb video quality along with professional and original story-telling complement each video. Since I subscribed to Watchfinder's YouTube channel, I periodically receive alerts about any new video content released, and when I first read this video's title my curiosity aroused, and I was captivated. Which is the topic? Watchfinder found a one-of-a-kind Rolex Air-King 116900 that features a couple of nines instead of a standard pair of three and nine, on the dial. Are we sure this is a one-off? It is, according to what we understood. How is it possible that Rolex made such a mistake?
For the record, the source is not mentioned in the video; the story-teller focuses on guessing how this thing happened given that Rolex is so structured and well industrially organized that what came out is hard to believe. Rolex is by far one of the most solid watch manufacturers whose quality rate is second to none (even if such a mistake does not affect a product's reliability at all). Rolex is also a fully vertically integrated manufacturer, that looks after every single part of a watch and oversees every single step of the production process, without leaving room to even the smallest flaw. Except, in this case, it seems.
It means no one has noticed this defect as the timepiece was rolling through the assembly line, nor did the retailer and the final owner of the watch when he finally bought it. Unknowingly, he became the lucky owner of the rarest Rolex Air-King ever, more unique than a Rolex Patrizzi, and whose exclusivity is on par with a Gronchi Rosa stamp. Chance or intent? Is it possible that no one has ever noticed it along the way? It is reasonable to doubt, considering Rolex's brand strategy. However, it's pure speculation. We will never know the true story, but one thing is sure: it turned the Air-King, that has never been the most admired Oyster and less so is the current one, from a frog into a prince. Kudos to Watchfinder for sharing such an original story with the entire watch community. This story has also fueled the hunt for the potential owner of this one-off Air-King: who is the owner of one and only Rolex Air-King Double Nine in the world?
(Photo credit: courtesy of Watchfinder, Horbiter®'s proprietary)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®