Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
There are few watch brands whose products are as easily identifiable as Rolex’s. They stand out, recognizable at a glance across a crowded room—the merest glimpse of a cyclops is enough to assure you that the watch that you’re looking at is a Rolex. Yet despite the popularity of the brands’s sports models like the Submariner or GMT, there are certain models that will take you aback and make you say, “That’s a Rolex?”
The Turn-o-Graph or Thunderbird is one such Rolex.
Launched the year before the Submariner, the Turn-O-Graph was meant to be a substitute for a chronograph, which were more expensive than time-only watches. Rolex intended the wearers to use the bezel (which Rolex called the "time-recording rim") to make precise mathematical calculations. Understandably, Rolex marketed the Turn-O-Graph to business travelers and pilots, the latter of which was brought home by the reference of Turn-O-Graph that would follow.
In 1956, Rolex released a new variant of Turn-O-Graph. Rolex built this new model (Reference 6609) around the Datejust (the 36mm Oyster Case), but with an 18k gold case and the time-recording rim. Rolex offered the new reference of Turn-O-Graph to the Thunderbirds, a squadron of the U.S. Air Force known for acrobatic demonstrations and experimental flying techniques, and this association gave it the nickname by which it is best known by collectors in the United States.
Rolex replaced the Reference 6609 with the Reference 1625 in the late 1950s. 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 Thunderbird was never offered entirely in steel until the 1990s.
One glance at the Turn-O-Graph featured here will tell you why. The yellow gold bezel and center links of the bracelet of this Reference 1625—along with that gorgeous gold dial—speak of the elegance that’s inherent in this watch. Though it possesses an aeronautical heritage, this Thunderbird isn’t one that you’d wear with a bomber jacket.
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
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.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
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.