Archive for June 5th, 2010

Rolex Turn-O-Graph: A History


The Rolex Turn-O-Graph was first produced in 1953. The main feature of this new watch was a rotating bezel to record elapsed time. Rolex called it a time-recording rim. Each minute division was shown by a small circle and each 10 minute interval was a number. The first Turn-O-Graph had pencil hands and was certified to dive up to 50 meters.

Later on in the 1950’s the Turn-O-Graph, along with the Submariner, changed to the Mercedes hands. Also, the luminous part of the second hand was closer to the center of the watch.

The first Turn-O-Graph had a very distinctive dial with the word Turn-O-Graph written extremely small under the Rolex signature. Also, the words Oyster and Perpetual were very far apart. A year later Turn-O-Graph was written in its normal size. There was also a honeycomb dial available on early models.

A selling point for the Turn-O-Graph was its ability to record elapsed time while still costing much less than an expensive chronograph. It was also water resistant which most chronographs were not.

The watch was first promoted by convincing people it would be a great watch for an international business traveler. It was out shined by the GMT Master in the 1960’s because of the GMT’s ability to show two time zones at the same time.

In the early 1960’s the Turn-O-Graph ceased production which led way to the more popular GMT-Master. Rolex brought back the Turn-O-Graph back and it is available for sale today.
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