Friday, October 10, 2008

San Francisco Fleet Week...

The Original Rolex Thunderbird
Ultra-Rare First Generation Watch

The U.S. Air Force was born in 1947, just after World War II. Six short years later, on May 25, 1953, the Air Force developed its official air demonstration team know as the Thunderbirds. The demonstration team was activated at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, with the designation of the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit.

Since Luke Air Force base was located in Arizona, the team adopted the name "Thunderbirds" based upon the American Indian culture and folklore of the American South West. The American Indian legend said there was a great Thunderbird that was an eagle or hawk, and that when this great bird took to the sky, the earth would tremble from the thunderous power of its wings.

In 1959 Rolex developed a special Rolex Datejust for and worn by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds in 18kt gold as seen below.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Ku

The add below appeared in 1959 for the first Rolex Datejust Thunderbird and I typed out its text below to make it easy to read.


World's first supersonic precession aerobatic team the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds! Brilliant pilots, each is also a "scientist" with years of research to back his in-the-air mastery. Demonstrating the ultimate in precision maneuvers, with wing tips overlapping at "broom stick" clearance, their speeds range up to a spine-chilling 720 m.p.h. as the lowest altitudes. More than 21 million international spectators have seen their "Century Series" fighters go through their thrilling punishing paces... You've got to see them to believe them!

Like the aircraft of the famed "Thunderbirds," the Rolex Oyster Perpetual "Thunderbird" is an unerringly precision-dependable part of their equipment...You've go to see it to believe it!

The Thunderbird, Rolex Datejust. 18kt Gold comes with "Turn-O-Graph" bezel. 25 jewels, as identified by the Rolex Red Seal, self-winding PERPETUAL, completely protected by the famous waterproof Rolex OYSTER case. New cyclops crystal magnifies date for easy readability. With strap, $550.00, bracelet extra.

The Rolex Thunderbird Ad below is from May of 1960

Philipp's Fabulous Thunderbird

Philipp is one of the top vintage Rolex collectors in the world and he has excellent taste in Rolex watches and seems to be an advanced expert on knowing how to accessorize the watches with the best choice of bands. In the wrist shot below Philipp is sporting his ultra-rare original Rolex Thunderbird on a leather NATO with yellow gold returns.

This next ad is from the Rolex Manufactury:

A fantastic achievement!

There are over


Rolex wristlet chronometers with official rating certificates endorsed especially good results–a very high distinction in the world of watchmaking. These chronometers are equipped with the finest Breguet hairsprings.

The ROLEX MANUFACTORY has been a pioneer in manufacturing very fine watches since 1878 and is the birthplace of the marvelous micromechanical organism inside every ROLEX watch, which is entirely manufactured by ROLEX from raw materials to the finished movement.

The high-precision tools used in ROLEX MANUFACTORY are made by specialists in the company's own MICROMETAL division.

Did you know

that these same micromechanical engineers and specialist of the ROLEX MANUFACTORY and MICROMETAL also produce small, but very important, mechanical components for the steering system of a jet that flies at more than twice the speed of sound–components on whose superfine quality the life of the crew and their plane directly depends?