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Look watch we found: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date ‘Thunderbird’ c1960

by Michael Weare
4 October, 2012
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About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Thunderbird

Every so often we look around some of the auction sites and watch websites to see what people are selling in terms of interesting, cool or exorbitantly priced watches. For me, this watch falls under the cool category, so cool that I  have been bidding on it, and who knows, I might win it. It just so happens to be a watch from our sister site Tempus Suisse, I  don’t know where the site owner keeps finding these incredible near mint watches from over 50 years ago, but he does.

This is a pristine, hardly worn Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date, known as a ‘Thunderbird’. Why? Because in 1959, Rolex developed a watch, especially for the US Air Force Thunderbirds Acrobatic Display Team. It was given the reference number 6609.

For this model, Rolex used as a base, a very popular and proved model, which was the Date Just. At the same time, this new model was related to the previous model Turn-O-Graph. So as the owner points out, do not confuse this with the much more ordinary and commonly available plain bezel Oyster date Rolexes.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Thunderbird close up

With a stainless steel case on the original Oyster bracelet, the watch is powered by a self winding 26-jewel movement (Cal 1560).

Of course like many watches from decades ago, at 35mm, this is smaller on the wrist than modern watches, but fashions are starting to change, the days of the 45mm + behemoths might be numbered – and Rolex never went too far down that path in the first place, so no matter what vintage you can reliably expect a Rolex to have those classic Rolex proportions.

Rolex bracelet

Those gorgeous silvered indexes on the coin-edged bezel speak to me. Its achingly simple elegance compelled me to ask the owner if I could have the watch at a special discount. “Discount? It’s already at a discount. You can bid for it just like anyone else.”

There’s just a few more hours to go. I just hope the price won’t go too crazy in the closing minutes as the sniper magpies descend upon the prize. I want it.

 

 

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

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