Rolex Turn-O-Graph "Thunderbird"
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
For all the Rolex Datejust's versatility--for its ability to be dressed up or down, for the fact that it looks killer or a NATO, a Jubilee, a leather strap, or even in gold--it doesn't come across as a decidedly sporty watch. Compared with the flash of the GMT or the robustness of the Submariner, the Datejust can seem like a quieter, more staid choice. It's the ultimate go-anywhere, do anything-watch, to be sure, but if you're looking for a the sporty feel of the classic Rolex Oyster, the Datejust likely isn't going to be it.
And then, there's the Turn-O-Graph.
Introduced in 1953, the Turn-O-Graph is a contemporary of the Submariner, and earlier iterations (Reference 6202) resembled a Submariner but for the bezel, which had what Rolex dubbed a "time-recording rim," used to measure elapsed time. These early Turn-O-Graphs also featured textured dials, which Rolex called "honeycomb" dials, and in the mid-1950s gained the Mercedes hands so typical of Submariners. Rolex marketed the Turn-O-Graph to business travelers until the debut of the GMT Master in 1954.
The purpose of the Turn-O-Graph was to provide consumers with a less expensive alternative to chronographs, which cost more than time-only watches; also, it saved Rolex the need to develop a waterproof chronograph (the Daytona being a decade or so from existence).
In 1956, Rolex conceived of a new variant of Turn-O-Graph to honor the Thunderbirds, a U.S. Air Force squadron devoted to aerial demonstrations. Rolex built this new model (Reference 6609) upon the bones of the Datejust (the 36mm Oyster Case), but with an 18k gold case and the rotating bezel. Rolex offered the new reference of Turn-O-Graph to the Thunderbirds, thus giving it the nickname by which it is best known in the States.
Rolex discontinued the Reference 6609 in 1959, replacing it with the Reference 1625. The 1625, which ran from 1959 to 1977, was offered in two variants--two-tone steel and yellow gold like the Reference 6609, or steel with a white gold bezel. Unlike the Datejust, the Turn-O-Graph was never offered entirely in steel.
This particular Turn-O-Graph, a reference 1625, sports a stunning silver dial and Jubilee bracelet giving it a touch of elegance while the trademark rotating bezel offers a sporty flair. A relative rarity on the market, the Reference 1625 Turn-O-Graph remains highly-collectible, a seldom-seen alternative to the Datejust that's sure to fly away soon--snag it before it does.
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Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
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Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Rolex Turn-O-Graph "Thunderbird"