1982 Rolex Datejust Turn-O-Graph "Thunderbird" Ref. 16253 18k YG/SS - Full Set
Despite being the most overlooked sport watch in the Rolex lineup, the Turn-o-graph is one of the most innovative and historically important Rolex models, filled with firsts. The 6202 that was the predecessor to the first Submariner was a Turn-o-graph. That same watch was also the first Rolex with a turning bezel, making it the first true tool watch ever made by Rolex. It was also the first sport model offered in gold, and like the watch here, two-toned steel and gold. These gold versions were issued to the US Air Force's acrobatic Thunderbird pilot team, garnering the Thunderbird nickname for the watch, and making the Turn-o-graph Rolex's first pilot's watch.
It's amazing to think a watch with so much history and being the "father" model to Rolex's two biggest sports watches was never all that popular in itself, and as such excellent examples are difficult to find, especially with a full set like the 16253 offered here. This watch is in excellent condition with a strong case and crisp sold gold bezel, accompanied by the original punched papers, booklets, and boxes.
Take a look at our detailed photos and description below:
Case: 36mm stainless steel case in excellent condition. The case is extremely crisp and has seen minimal polishing. The case surface shows only very light signs of wear with no significant defects. Serial and reference numbers are both clearly visible. Serial is 7.45 million, dating production to 1982.
Bezel: Original 18k yellow gold bidirectional turning bezel in outstanding condition. The bezel is very crisp and appears unpolished, with the original grained texture and timing markers extremely crisp.
Dial/Hands: Original gold dial with gold stick markers with black accents in flawless condition. All tritium is present with a pleasing patina on the hour markers. The gold hands are also mint with a matching tritium patina. The date wheel is also original with open 6's and 9's.
Caseback: Original caseback in excellent condition as shown. The caseback has the following light engraving: "Thanks for the miracle year, B.K.C."
Crystal: Original acrylic crystal in excellent condition. There are no deep scratches, chips, or cracks in the crystal.
Movement: Rolex caliber 3035 automatic movement. The movement is in excellent condition and keeping great time. All functions work as they should including the quickset date.
Bracelet/Strap: Original 62523H Jubilee bracelet with 455 end links in excellent condition showing only minor surface wear as pictured and with only very light bracelet stretch.
Box/Papers/Accessories: The original inner and outer boxes, warranty papers, booklets, and paper/booklet holder are all included.