One Watch Collection
Our semi-regular series identifying the best everyday watches that are (moderately) affordable.
For Your Reference
I’ve given a brief history of the Rolex Air-King before, but today we’re going in-depth on the longest-running model in the Air-King’s history: the Air-King Reference 5500. Manufactured for over 30 years, the Ref. 5500 is one of the longest-running models in the history of Rolex. Introduced in 1957 and remaining in production until it was replaced by the Reference 14000 in 1989, it’s truly an iconic Rolex model.
The Ref. 5500 is a continuation of the Air-King name that Rolex first introduced with the Reference 4925 in the 1940s alongside names like Air-Giant, Air-Lion and Air-Tiger that flamed out. Rolex had originally introduced the Air-King as a variation of the Oyster Perpetual, intended to honor RAF pilots who served during World War II.
While this particular Air-King may not drive the passion of collectors like some more popular Rolex models, there is still plenty here for a budding enthusiast to sink his or her teeth into. And, since the Air-King continues to fly under the radar, even the most rare of Air-Kings can typically be had at an affordable price.
It’s that time of year. Far and away, our most popular article of 2018 was The Best Everyday Watches of 2018. Turns out a lot of people are searching for the best everyday watch, the best go-anywhere-do-anything (GADA) watch, or the watch to make the perfect one-watch collection (yes, you can have a one-watch collection. That’s a hill I’ll die on).
With the 2019 trade shows (meh as they were) in the rearview mirror, it’s time to update the list for 2019. In 2018, I looked at the best watches that you could still buy new. For 2019, we’re changing the rules. I’m going to look at the best vintage, pre-owned, and new everyday watches out there.
A reminder: there are no real requirements for an everyday watch besides general durability and comfort. We’re talking about watches that can be dressed up or dressed down. Watches that look as good with a suit as they do alongside a t-shirt and jeans. Lume and water resistance are nice, but not necessary. An everyday wearer can come on a bracelet or strap, as long as it sits comfortably on the wrist. And while we’re willing to pay good money for a watch we’re going to be wearing every day, we can’t spend so much that we feel we have to baby it through every door jamb.
First, up, the best everyday watches you can buy new. I’ve broken them down into three categories: (1) the Under $2,000 Club, (2) the Microbrands, and (3) the Classics.
And just as quickly as the blog boys descended upon Baselworld a week ago, they were gone. Now all were left with are a few great watches, a bunch of press releases, and a few more names on the local Rolex AD’s waitlist. Admittedly, it’s difficult to tell when all we have are a few photos and a spec sheet, but these are the watches I’m most excited to see in the metal. These are our 10 favorite everyday watches from Baselworld 2019.
Trying to decide between two greats from the Tudor Black Bay collection.
5 great everyday options from SIHH 2019.
Building a collection with one watch for every complication.
The Best watches for women and small wrists alike.
Dress it up, dress it down. These are the best everyday watches in 2018.