’10 Year Safe Driver’ Winn-Dixie 14000M Rolex Air-King
Alongside all the sexy Pan-Am, Qaboos, or Tiffany-signed Rolex dials, there are also a wide variety of more salt-of-the-earth stamps at 6: Pool Intairdril, Honda, Domino’s Pizza, and this Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie are US supermarket franchise of the South who, for many years, had thing for Air-Kings and fresh produce. This is an earned watch, given as reward to an employee by a management and company who valued their efforts. Increasingly rare, this relationship of balanced effort and appreciation has existed for decades inside of Winn-Dixie, manifested in the form of Air-Kings.
Earned watches are increasingly a collected category and while the Domino’s may be the most famous of that set, the Winn-Dixie is very storied amongst Rolex people. The backstory is heartwarming. In the 1980s, WInn-Dixie were growing quickly but valued freshness as a key market differentiator. Supply chain and its management became a top priority for the business. In order to incentivize performance and loyalty, WD began rewarding drivers and maintenance workers who had gone 10 years without an accident with exactly what you see here.
These Winn-Dixie Air-kings fall into four categories. They are ref. 5500 (80s) or 14000 (90s), and ’10 Year Safe Driver’ or ’10 Year Safe Maintenance’ dials. This ref. 14000 is 34.5mm and features the driver’s variant. Now, if we’re getting very nerdy about details, there are two different printing styles of the ’10’ on the ref. 14000. On dials with a ‘T SWISS MADE T’ signature, the 10 is slightly less tall. On subsequent Super-Luminova dials without a ‘T’ signature, the 10 is taller and often referred to as ‘Big 10’. This is the ‘Big 10’, and a big deal to one Steve C Forshaw whose name was engraved on its caseback in 2001. This watch took a month to make, but a decade to be deserved. Earned watches often hold far more meaning than those which simply came from a waitlist. Not everyone will see the appeal, but I quite like the concept even if as a reminder to oneself of the inherent merit in dedicated effort.
This example has a razor sharp has and untouched lugs. The caseback engraving is still very deep. Its dial shows no damage or discoloration. The Luminova pips are all present. It comes from the name in Winn-Dixie dials and indeed in vintage Rolex as far as I’m concerned, a well-regarded retailer known as Wind Vintage.
Find this Winn-Dixie 14000M here from Wind Vintage for 12500 USD.