THE ROLEX 1625 TURN-O-GRAPH – GOING UNDER THE RADAR

At first glance, it’s hard not to think of a Datejust when looking at the Rolex 1625 Turn-o-Graph. After all, the dressy dial, thin stick hands, applied rectangular markers and Cyclops over the date window are pure giveaways. Of course, the word “Datejust” on the dial seals the deal as well. It’s a funny thing because I’d wager that most think of a Datejust and the fluted bezel comes to mind. So, perhaps it’s this adder of the rotating bezel that comes off as a little incongruous to some because they’re so used to seeing something else in its place when paired with such a dial. That being said, the bezel is worth a closer look.

Rolex 1625 Turn-o-Graph

Let’s get into a little bit of history (for more, head here to this more extensive article). The original Turn-o-Graph was introduced in 1953 and the 6202 that appeared looked an awful lot like the Submariner that was still to come. It featured a black inlay rotating bezel and was offered with either a black or white honeycomb dial. With its introduction, it was actually the brand’s first production model with a rotating bezel. These models are scarce and rather expensive as they were only made for roughly a year until being replaced by the 6309 reference. Notably, the 6309 introduced a gold metal bezel, a trait that stayed with the model until it ceased production in 2011. At this time, it also became an official sub-model within the Datejust line. Also, during the 6309’s production, the watch became the official watch of the US Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team and took with it the “Thunderbird” nickname that was often used in American Rolex advertising. In roughly 1959, though, the Rolex 1625 Turn-o-Graph was introduced and it was produced until 1977.

When viewed up close, it’s actually a gorgeous piece of finishing that’s often tainted by wear or, somewhat offputtingly, by dirt and grime. The whole thing is cast as one piece in 18-karat gold and, therefore, the numbers are in relief at the tens along with the stick markers at the 5’s. In between, there’s fine ridging that almost makes the whole thing so bright that it’s truly difficult for the eye to take in at once. Yes, there’s that much lighting contrast. Plus, all of these topographic features become collectors of daily detritus and make themselves accessible to dents and dings. This example, as you can see, is really in lovely shape.

THE ROLEX GMT-MASTER II EVEROSE REFERENCE 126715CHNR

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The dimensions and specifications of the Rolex GMT-Master II Everose are largely comparable with the Rolex GMT-Master II that we talked about here (new Pepsi). It’s a 40mm diameter watch with bi-directional bezel and the Rolex in-house developed caliber 3235 movement. The bracelet, in this case, is an Oyster bracelet with polished center link (like the one on all other GMT-Master II models except the new Pepsi) with Easylink system and fliplock Oysterclasp. There is little to tell that we haven’t already explained to be honest.

However, the use of Everose gold is new to this model (and the bi-color version) and this, in combination with the black and brown ceramic bezel, makes it a very special watch. Shouldn’t this be yellow gold with a brown dial (perhaps even with some nipple hour markers), I asked myself when looking at the displays of the Rolex booth. Once on the wrist though, I felt that the Rolex GMT-Master II Everose is really easy on the skin: less ‘hard’ than a yellow GMT-Master II would be. Because one of our guys has an earler model and for the sake of comparing, we put it next to the new Rolex GMT-Master II Everose.

My initial enthusiasm was not so big for this model, since it did not have the brown dial and was not made of yellow gold. That said, this disappeared rapidly when I had the chance to try it myself. It’s a well balanced watch, and the use of the brown and black on the bezel matches perfectly with the Everose gold case and bracelet. The gold details also come back in the dial, in the writing of ‘GMT-Master II’ as well as in the indices and hands. Did you also notice the little crown between Swiss and Made? The new Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi with Jubilee also has this feature.

With this Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi, the GMT-Master II Bi-color (steel and Everose) and this GMT-Master II Everose, there’s quite an interesting line-up of new variants. Let’s also not forget about the new white gold GMT-Master II Pepsi, with blue dial. Unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to shoot this particular reference. Also good to know is that the Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Batman’ (blue & black bezel) will stay in the collection, despite other rumors in the market. We checked this with Rolex and they confirmed that this model will stay in production.

THE ROLEX AIR KING REF. 5500

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The Air King made its debut in 1945 as a tribute to British air force pilots of the era. The Air King timepiece was typically regarded as an entry-level Rolex watch with its smaller 34mm size, minimalistic three-handed dial, and more accessible price point. As one of the longest running Rolex collections still in production today, there have been so many different Air King references throughout its history. But we’ll focus on a few of the most popular Air King references in the secondary market, as well as a quick look at the most current version.An early model in the collection, the vintage Air King ref. 5500 launched in 1957 and enjoyed a more than 30-year production run and plenty of variations.

For instance, the mens Rolex stainless steel Air King 5500 housed two different automatic movements—the Caliber 1520 and the Caliber 1530. There are also the mens Rolex two tone Air King 5501 versions, in addition to the gold-plated ref. 5502 and ref. 5506 models. Interestingly, there’s also the Air King ref. 5504 that sported an Explorer case! Additionally, Rolex also made the Air King Date ref. 5700 models for specific markets, which as its name suggests, boasted a date window. In the mid-1970s, Rolex unveiled the Air King ref. 5520—the first gold-filled model of the collection.

Although Rolex is famous for constantly improving their watches, the timepieces tend to maintain the same overall aesthetic throughout the years. In fact, today’s Submariner, GMT Master, and Daytona watches look remarkably similar to those from the 1950s and 1960s. This is part and parcel of the Rolex magic—a signature style that is instantly recognizable. However, this no longer applies to the Air King. In fact, current iterations of the Rolex Air King models look absolutely nothing like preceding models.