Rolex Turn-o-Graph

The Rolex Turn-o-graph is one of the most underrated watches from the brand. While popular watches such as the Submariner, Daytona, and GMT-Master have legions of fans, the Turn-o-Graph flew under the radar despite its illustrious past.

With a history full of firsts, it’s actually an important watch in Rolex’s history – and one that paved the way for its more popular models today.
br

Here are 5 reasons why the Rolex Turn-o-Graph is worth your attention.
br
br 
Rolex Vintage Turnograph Steel Watch

1. It was the first serially-produced Rolex to have the game-changing rotating bezel.

The Rolex Turn-o-Graph was launched in 1953, with its very first model, ref. 6202. Its selling proposition was actually the extra rim or rotating bezel, which back then was a new and easier way to measure elapsed time. The bezel would eventually be adapted by Rolex’s most beloved models.

Rolex Vintage Turnograph Steel Watch 6202

br

br

br
2. Because of its ease of use, it became an official military watch.
br
In the late 1950’s the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbird aerobatic squadron adopted it as their official pilot watch. Rolex took advantage of this connection and produced models with the Thunderbird insignia on the dial and gave it the nickname “Thunderbird”.
br

 br
Rolex Vintage Thunderbird

3. Early versions had a similarity to the Submariner but it eventually joined the Datejust family.

The very first Turn-o-Graph (ref. 6202) looked very much like the future Submariner, launched two years later in 1955. However, later renditions joined the Datejust family and would include the date window and Cyclops lens.

Rolex Vintage Thunderbird Turnograph Steel Yellow Gold Watch 1625

br

br

Rolex Datejust Turnograph

4. It’s the first Rolex sports watch created in two-tone steel and gold.

The “Rolesor” construction – or the combination of a gold bezel, gold center links, and steel outer links – is part of Rolex’s DNA today. The Turn-o-Graph was the first of its sports watches to be made in this combination.

Rolex Datejust Turnograph Steel Rose Gold Vintage Mens Watch 1625

br

br

Rolex Turnograph Rose Gold
The Rolex Turn-o-Graph ref. 116261 in steel and rose gold.

br

Rolex Datejust Thunderbird
5. After being discontinued for years, Rolex re-issued modern versions in the 2000s before marking its end in 2011.

It had different material configurations, together with the dynamic red date, red seconds-hand, and red “TURN-O-GRAPH” lettering.
br
  • Ref 116263 – steel and gold
  • Ref 116261 – steel and rose gold
  • Ref 116264 – steel and white gold (seen here)
While it’s no longer being produced today, the Rolex Turn-o-Graph is still available in second hand, pre-owned markets. With its place in the history of Rolex and today’s modern sports watches, it’s truly a watch worth having.

br

b

____

SEE MORE OF THE WATCHES IN OUR VIDEO:

____

r

Photo credits: Six Thunderbird F-16s in delta formation flying near the Empire State Building [Public Domain], via Wikipedia Commons
Toll-free US and Canada Only:
1-800-797-0634
Outside US:
1-404-814-1814


Customer service:
info@swisswatchexpo.com


Swiss Watch Expo
315 East Paces Ferry Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30305


M - F 10 AM to 6 PM EST
Saturdays 10 AM to 5 PM EST