Rolex Turn O'graph Watches
Rolex is one of the most celebrated and recognized watchmakers globally. The Swiss watchmaker began operating in the early 1900s under the name Wilsdorf and Davis which was borrowed from its creators Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis. While the brand’s watches are known to share individual reputation, Rolex Turn O Graph was quite famous yeah, but not as great as the other watches. From the 2000s, Rolex turn o graph begun attracting a handful of watch enthusiasts due to its golden history which was now in gold.
In 2011, natheless, the production of the watch ceased. But why? Was the watch no longer selling? Well, for me I would say the watch lineup is still alive but I don’t know your view about it. Before you can share your opinion, let’s look at the Rolex turn o graph history so that you can have a better insight into the watch.
History of Rolex Turn O Graph Watches
Rolex Watch Company is undeniably one of the most popular luxury watchmakers. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the watchmaker bears a really interesting background in horology, with the Turn O graph watches being one of the best.
Rolex Turn O Graph was launched in 1953 under reference 6202. Following its black rotating bezel and black dial, the watch was believed to be the “testing ground” of the Rolex Submariner whose production began in 1954. For those who have a brief history on Rolex watches, most often think that Turn O Graph watches were the first to have a rotatable bezel. Literally, the Rolex collection was not the first with a rotating bezel as the Zerographe 3346 from 1937 already had one. Rolex Turn O Graph, nevertheless, was the first series to have a rotating bezel as the Zerographe was only a prototype with around 10 pieces.
After the production of Rolex submariner begun in 1954, the watchmaker had to differentiate the encompassed models from the Rolex Turn O Graph. Both of the two watches had Oyster bracelet, black bezel, black dial, Mercedes hands, and dot/ stick indexes. Thus, will definitely have stiff competition amongst themselves.
Other versions of the Rolex Turn O Graph 6202 were availed with an elegant honeycomb dial in white or gold. The watches also had distinctive gold dart markers and dauphine hands. Still, Rolex didn’t find the changes enough for the lineup and introduced Rolex Turn O Graph 6309 whose aesthetics appeared much of businessmen and professionals. The dial of the watch was a little distinct from the original watch as well. The watch now was part of the Datejust family which Rolex had introduced in 1945, thus had an additional date complication at 3 o’clock. A magnifying Cyclops was added as well and a new movement, caliber 743, instead of the previous Caliber A260.
Prior to the launch of Rolex GMT-Master in 1955, Rolex Turn O graph watches were already iconic in aviation. The pilots were already using the watches in their navigational calculations using their bezels. The first known to use them was the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron pilots, popularly known as the Thunderbirds. The bond between Rolex and the Squadron group was soon solid and the watchmaker even started calling the Turn O Graph watches as Thunderbirds while advertising. For the models that have been requested by the Thunderbird for its top-talents, Rolex added the squadron’s emblem at the 6 o’clock for extra exclusivity. In 1959, Rolex presented Captain Charles W. Maultsby who was flying in the “Right Wing” of the Thunderbirds with Turn O Graph 6609. In the same year, Reference 1625 replaced Rolex 6609 where it remained iconic due to its diverse variety in the casing and dial configurations. The dressy dial had thin stick hands and rectangular markers.
In 1977, Rolex Turn O Graph 1625 was replaced with references 16253, 16263, 16264 and 16268 which run with Caliber 3035. The four models featured a classic dial which houses stick indexes and rail chapter ring with Roman Numerals. The four five digit references of Rolex Turn O Graph remained in production until in the early 2000s when they were replaced with six-digit references.
Unlike the preceding models which were much of classic beauty, the new six references of Rolex Turn O Graph had totally a distinctive splendor. Their cases were still with the modish 36mm girth but with a fatter fluted bezel which made it look larger. To distinguish it from the rest of Datejust watches, Rolex added the bezel’s 60-minute calibration with stick markers after every 5 minutes. Additionally, the name Turn O Graph was back on the dial too, though in red highlights. This resuscitated the watch’s originality, even though it was only short-lived. Some of the models encompassed in the six-digit references series include Rolex Turn O Graph 116263 WH, 116261-SSO, and 116264.
In 2011, Rolex Watch Company ceased producing Turn O Graph watches having remained on the marketplace for around 58 years. On my end, I can’t say the lineup didn’t serve its wearers optimally, for it’s clear the watch had a stiff competition aesthetically and in functionality. The Rolex Submariner couldn’t give it a chance with its rotatable bezel, while the Datejust was already popular since the era of World war. Thus, has already built a firm foundation for its fluted bezel and the date function.
This, however, doesn’t mean Rolex Turn O Graph watches has nothing to be remembered of. Before it had become a watch for the businessmen, Rolex Turn O Graph was initially a sports watch. The pioneering model with reference 6202 was available in full steel, as well as in a two-tone combination of steel and yellow gold. This makes the watch as the first Rolex sports watch to have a combination of steel and gold, primarily known as Rolesor watch.
Well… back to our initial statement, you now have Rolex Turn O Graph history with you. What do you make of the watches? Do you believe the watches are extinct or do you have it the lineup is still alive and distinctively beautiful as I feel it?