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Watch Review

Vintage of the Week – Rolex Air King Intairdrill Dial

Paul Altieri

The Rolex Air King Intairdrill Wristwatch

The vintage Rolex ref 5500 Pool Intairdril Dial watch was released in the late 1970s. Though the Air King boasts a long history dating back to the 1930s, this particular Air King is special. Ref 5500 dons a beautiful silver dial with applied gold or black baton hour markers and luminous dots. Most importantly, the dial features the name Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King below the 12 o’clock mark and the Pool Intairdrill or “petroleum” logo above the 6 o’clock mark. This particular version represents the partnership between Rolex and the Pool Intairdril Company, a petrol company working in Lybia in the 1980s.

Air-King 5500 Pool Intairdril
The Air-King 5500 Pool Intairdril has a logo on its face.


Inside, Ref 5500 utilizes a caliber 1520 self-winding mechanical automatic movement with 71 jewels. An acrylic crystal covers the dial and is surrounded by a polished, smooth bezel. The case is stainless steel and offers a waterproof screw down crown for optimal water resistance. The bracelet can come in several forms including a leather strap or matching metal bracelet.

rolex air king intairdrill wristwatch
Rolex Intairdrill Dial Wristwatch is unique.


The Rolex Air King Background

The Rolex Air King is a special family of watches initially created in the 1930s, but made famous during World War II. During this time of upheaval, the British Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots chose Rolex watches because of their proven durability. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of the Rolex company, was so honored that he paid homage to these brave RAF men by creating a special collection for Rolex. Initially, the company juggled a few names including Air Tiger, Air Giant and even Air Lion. The company finally decided on Air King and officially launched it in the 1940’s. The Air King, in any form, is a perfect example of how Rolex’s durability is as timeless as the look of its classic wristwatch.

Rolex Air-King 5500
The Air-King 5500 Pool Intairdril logo is an oil company.


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Paul Altieri