As mentioned previously, the Rolex Turn O graph (Thunderbird) is IMHO an under rated models that has the potential for appreciation in values (lets look at the Daytona, Submariners, Sea Dweller and GMTs, Explorers etc). There are a few versions of the Thunderbirds and in so far, I can only managed to find the earlier 1957 Ref 6609, and second generation ref 1624 from 1966.
These watches are generally known as Turn-O-Graph, though in some special references, are also known as Thunderbird model. Both watches, reference 6609 and 1625 are actually a variant of the more well known and succesful Model Date Just.
The original Thuderbird model, got a 18K case and was equipped with a turning bezel (turning in both directions). The concept of a revolving bezel graduated in minutes, was just revolutionary. The first TOG reference 6202, offered an stainless steel case, with black dial, and black bezel. In the year 1954, Rolex introduces several changes in their TOG model, changing its overall aspect, and its movement, first for the A296 caliber, and later for the caliber 1065. The new TOG receives the reference number 6309, and was kept in their catalog till year 1959.
Between the years 1956 and 1959, a new variant of the TOG is offered, under the reference number 6609, equipped with a caliber 1065. While in Europe, the 6609 reference keeped being known as Turn-O-Graph, in the USA this particular variant is better known as "Model Thunderbird".
It is important to note,that the true "Thuderbird Model" should only be considered the 6609 reference, as this one was the similar one to the watches supplied to the Aerobatic Team.
This in spite of the fact that it is the extended custom, specially in the USA, to call "Thunderbird" to every TOG, incuding posterior references.
By the other hand, the Rolex official name for the line of wacthes hereby presented, is Date Just Turn O Graph.This makes for a little confusing about the names of these models and variants, and I hope this helps to clarify this issue.
The rotating bezel, is also 18K (white gold or yellow gold) revolving in both sides, with high relief numerals. It is ineresting to note, that in spite of the fact that the TOG is a variant of the famous Date Just, an it got the same markings under the Coronet, there is a difference in the options:
1. The TOG Thunderbird was never offered with a whole case AND bezel made of stainless steel (which the common Date Just offered).
2. The TOG always included a "touch" of gold, being in the bezel (yellow or white gold) in
combination with an steel case, or full gold case, and gold bezel.
3. The TOG Thunderbird either come with a leather startp or Jubilee bracelets (NOT Oyster bracelet)
There are some differences between the 6609 and the 1624 :
3. Markers : 6609 tends to have triangular markers while the 1624 has straights
So, watch collector, start your hunt for the