*Unpolished* 1968 Rolex Two-Tone Datejust "Thunderbird" Turn-O-Graph (Ref. 1625) Silver Dial "United States Air Force Academy"

Do you know why the Rolex Turn-O-Graph has the nickname "Thunderbird"?  The Name Thunderbird comes from the late 1950s, at the dawn of the Jet Age. The United States Air Force equipped the Thunderbird's aerobatic flight demonstration team with the 18k Rolex Turn-O-Graph watches for navigational timing & calculations. The Rolex ref. 1625 Tun-O-Graph models worn by the Thunderbirds team members were made from 18K solid yellow gold and featured the Thunderbirds logo at the 6 o'clock position on the dial.

Rolex Thunderbird

The Rolex Turn-O-Graph is quite an interesting piece due to the fact that it is also alongside the Submariner and GMT one of the first "tool" watches made by Rolex. In fact, the Rolex Turn-O-Graph was first launched by Rolex in 1953 the same year that the Rolex Submariner was introduced, and the GMT was introduced a year later in 1954. The Rolex Tun-O-Graph is considered a tool watch due to the fact that it has a rotating bezel that allows the person who wears the watch to rotate the bezel to time different events. Unlike the regular Datejust, the Turn-O-Graph was never offered with an Oyster bracelet it was only sold on a leather strap or on the Jubilee style steel or two-tone bracelets.

*Unpolished* 1968 Rolex Two-Tone Datejust "Thunderbird" Turn-O-Graph (Ref. 1625) Silver Dial "United States Air Force Academy"

We always love a watch with a story and this 1968 Rolex Datejust "Thunderbird" certainly delivers in that department, along with being a beautiful example. The case back of this ref. 1625 example states the original ownership of "Ernest R. Jennings" with an engraving along, who is a man of many accomplishments. Ernest attended college at the United States Air Force Academy where he was the star wide receiver for the football team, in fact he still holds records for the school's team. After graduating from the USAFA in 1971 Ernest was drafted to the San Francisco 49ers and played professional NFL football until 1975, after which he began a career at NASA. It's not every day we get in a watch as beautiful as this, but with provenance that overshadows it, but it's always a great day when we do.

Stock # RLXDJ1625-2
Brand Rolex
Style Datejust Turn-O-Graph "Thunderbird"
Model 1625
Serial 19XXXXX
Size Men's
Material SS / 14K YG
Dial Silver
Millimeters 36
Bracelet Rolex 6251H Two-Tone Jubilee Bracelet W/ 255 End Pieces


The impressive case appears to remain unpolished as its original factory shape, geometry, and finishing all remain intact and crisp. The 14k yellow gold rotating "Turn-O-Graph" bezel is unpolished and in very crisp condition with almost no signs of use present. The original Rolex 6251H two-tone rolled-link Jubilee bracelet with 255 end pieces retains 22 links that show only moderate stretch for the age of the bracelet and will fit up to a 7 3/4-inch wrist. The case back remains unpolished as well and features an engraving that reads "Ernest R. Jennings, USAFA 1971".


The silver sunburst "pie-pan" dial is in beautifully preserved original condition, showing no damage and gentle aging at the base of some of the gold stick markers. The tritium lume plots have aged to a handsome eggshell patina and exhibit no degradation when inspected under U.V. light. The original yellow gold tritium hands have aged to a dark grey patina and show no degradation under U.V. light inspection. The metallic date wheel is original with "open" 6's and 9's.


None. The watch is keeping time perfectly, backed by a 1-year warranty on accurate timekeeping.

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