Offered here is a lovely example of a Rolex “Thunderbird” Datejust, circa 1974, Reference 1625. The Rolex Thunderbird was born from Rolex’s early “Turn-O-Graph” line – the Reference 6202. The Turn-O-Graph was marketed by Rolex as the “simplest [way] of timing”, due to its innovative rotating bezel. It was precisely this ease of use that resulted in the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbird aerobatic squadron adoption of the Turn-O-Graph as their official pilot’s watch. Due to this military connection, Rolex then began referring to the Turn-O-Graph as the Rolex Thunderbird in the American market. While the very first Turn-O-Graph looked remarkably like the future Submariner, later models of the Turn-O-Graph were actually part of the Datejust family.
This Rolex Thunderbird is in great vintage condition. The case appears unpolished, with normal wear. The dial is very attractive, with only the lightest of wear around the edge of the dial/chapter ring. The original tritium lume is still present in both dial and hands, aged to a yellow color, with minor loss in the 2 and 3 o’clock plots.