I realize that a comparison has been made before regarding members attempting to decide whether to buy the 214270 Explorer I or the 116900 Air-King but am unsure whether or not anyone has attempted to assess the two watches side by side. I have owned my 39mm Explorer I for the past eight years but acquired my 40mm Air-King a few days ago with the idea of possibly wearing it with one of my Greg Stevens Design custom straps as soon as the hot Texas weather cools in October.
The difference between case widths of the 39mm Explorer and the 40mm AK seems negligible, but the difference in thickness of the two cases seems more noticeable. The AK has the same case and movement as the Milgauss, both designed to withstand magnetic fields. The Milgauss is $2000 more expensive than the AK.
Although the AK is just slightly larger than the Explorer, I don’t have the perception it wears bigger.
The difference in thickness of the cases is apparent. However the AK doesn’t feel clunky and balances nicely, at least on my wrist. The crown on the AK is slightly larger than the crown on the Explorer.
One can see the difference in lume between the Explorer on the left and the AK on the right.
My preference of dials leans heavily in the direction of the Explorer although the AK dial looks much better up close than the pictures might indicate. I also like the flip lock clasp of the Explorer. Both have the Easylink extension link that the OP does not have.
All in all I am very pleased that I acquired my Air-King and will post pictures whenever I eventually try it on strap.