In the pantheon of great, under-appreciated Rolex models there are shrines to the Air-King, Thunderbird, PT Yachtmaster, 4113 Rattrapante, and many others. Amongst those storied names must surely stand this: the early Turn-O-Graph. Even if it were properly appreciated, though, most fair-weather collectors would probably mistake it for a Submariner anyway. I don’t mind. The obscurity and lack of sporting pretensions are a part of what make the 6202 great. That’s if you haven’t already fallen in love with the subtle and classic steel design.
The 6202 entered the Rolex family in 1953, becoming popular amongst pilots before the GMT. Rolex called it a ‘time-recording-rim’, something you’d better not ask Alan Carr about. The innovation was a first for Rolex, though others (namely Blancpain) got there ahead. The 6202 Turn-O-Graph was released alongside the 6204 Submariner, intended to give the same functionality to the non-seafaring crowd.
At a slim 36mm, the Turn-O-Graph feels more similar to a 1016 in proportion than a comparable Submariner. However, the rotating bezel adds an extra dimension of attraction for me. Then there’s just the bold laughable simplicity of the moniker Turn-O-Graph. It’s like Rolex naming the Sky-Dweller the Travel-O-Graph. Maybe that’s even preferable, now that I say it aloud. Turn-O-Graph bezels, with their gold, red, and gilt accenting, sell at a huge premium. This is possibly a latter production or a replacement bezel. The watch and its caliber A260 almost serve as backup dancers to its simplistic beauty. Nothing is out of the Rolex ordinary. You have a free, ‘+’ signed crown, riveted bracelet, and radium dial.
This example is fairly strong. Its dial is a faded grey with slight spotting, but all radium markers present. The handset is original and seems matched, although the seconds lollipop may be discoloured or possibly refinished. Hard to tell. Its case has seen some ‘love’ but retains shape. The bracelet is very strong, flexing but un-re-finished with a solid clasp. Its movement is not pictured, so check that first. But, all told, it is a strong and fun tributary of vintage Rolex that safely deserves to steal more of the limelight.
Find this 6202 here from Herschmann Ascona for 31725 USD.