In 2012 Rolex discontinued production of the Turn-o-graph but not before releasing a limited production version exclusively for the Japanese market. The model is commonly referred to online as the Turn-o-graph Japan Limited Edition Green, hence the title of this post, which is a bit misleading.
This particular watch, which I will refer to as the TOG LP, was released in 2011/2012 and features the word Turn-o-graph written in Rolex green on the dial, a green second hand and green date wheel. The model number 116263, was released in a 18k gold/Stainless Steel two tone version with an Oyster bracelet. The production of this watch was limited to 300 pieces featuring a white dial and 300 featuring a black dial.
Like the standard issue 116263 the movement in the TOG LP is the Rolex Calibre 3135. The same movement found in today’s 116234 Datejust as well as the 116610LN Submariner.
Although there has been some confusion surrounding the serial number of these watches, most commonly beginning with “F” or “D” which would date their production at 2004/2005, the watch was actually released toward the end of 2011.
Speculation is that toward the end of production Rolex decided to use remaining Datejust / Turnograph cases to issue the Japan Limited Production Turn-o-Graph which explains the 2004-2006 “D” and “F” serial numbers. Unfortunately, Rolex production is shrouded in mystery and the real reason for these serial numbers will never be known for sure.
I’ve been asked several times if these watches are numbered and the simple answer is that these are notlimited edition pieces, they are limited production and therefore not numbered. You will not find x/300 printed or engraved anywhere. We only know that this 116263 was limited to 300 white and 300 black as it was conveyed through local ADs such as Mitsukoshi, Lexia Ginza Shinsaibashi and Hanshin.
There was some confusion surrounding this watch and its official existence. An interesting series of forum posts can be read here at RolexForums. To paraphrase the forum thread – an email from Paul Riley at Rolex USA (courtesy of FremStar at RolexForums), “This TOG is after market watch. Rolex never made a TOG with a green sweeping hand.” After some research FremStar was able to confirm with Rolex Tokyo (+81-3-3216-5673) that a limited 600 pieces of the 116263 were produced with the green sweeping hand. A few days later this was posted:
I am sure the moderators and some folks here know that some Rolex executives and staff visit this site (rolexforums.com, I just personally received a call from Paul Riley (RUSA) apologizing that he gave me incorrect information on the green hand TOG. We spoke for about 4 mins when he ended the conversation like this… and I quote “If you or your friends on The Rolex Forums” purchase the green TOG and you bring it to the RSC in NY we will not replace the green hand for a red one”. [see the full thread]
Below are some images I’ve come across during my research including several of my own which was purchased August 2012 from Hanshin Department Store in Osaka, Japan. The retail price for this watch when released was approximately $11,500 USD.
The progenitor to the Submariner and the GMT, the Turn-o-graph was discontinued by Rolex due to poor sales by comparison to its offspring. To quote John E Brozek, author of The Rolex Report Book: An Unauthorized Reference Book for the Rolex Enthusiast (p.53):
The watch was not released into all Rolex markets (sold primarily in Japan) and was not a major seller. Therefore, very few were produced, making it a highly collectable model.
Although no longer in production, the existence of Turn-o-graph – the first Rolex tool watch – led to the birth of the Submariner and the GMT, arguably the most popular watches in the current Rolex lineup.
For more information about the history of the Turn-o-graph check back soon.