Editor’s Note: Baselworld 2017 is just around the corner, which means our overactive imaginations have kicked into hyperdrive, imagining what new forms of wrist candy the brands will be dropping on us. At the forefront of our speculations are Tudor, who always play their cards close to their chest when it comes to new releases – which only makes us speculate harder. Currently our hot tips include a ‘right handed’ version of the Pelagos LHD (pretty likely), a bronze Black Bay in a new colourway (somewhat likely) and a Pelagos dive alarm (unlikely – but how awesome would it be). Of course, we could be on the wrong tack completely and they could surprise us with an entirely new collection (they’ve done it before with the North Flag). One thing we can be sure of is that whatever they release, it will live up to Tudor’s impressively high production standards, almost certainly incorporating cutting-edge tech at a competitive price. How are we sure? Well, they’ve got a proven track record…
Over the past five years Tudor has transformed from a brand with a sprawling product offering and proposition into one that makes some of the best-looking, best-value Swiss timepieces around. A large part of this shift is due to the success of their on-point Heritage collection, which offers the perfect blend of modern quality and vintage style. Another less obvious, but equally important part of this equation is Tudor’s technical capacity as a watchmaker. It may not be immediately obvious, but their watches boast features and finish rarely seen at this price point.
Perhaps the most significant example of Tudor’s caseworking expertise is the mighty Pelagos. It’s the first ever fully titanium watch Tudor (or, for that matter, Rolex) has ever made, and it was worth the wait. Surprisingly enough, one of the best features of the Pelagos is the clasp, which can be altered on the wrist thanks to its patented micro-adjustment system.
Bronze watches aren’t new, but Tudor’s take on the genre is typically meticulous, opting for an alloy that’s high in aluminium, which means it will develop a more subtle patina than many other bronze watches on the market. Not only that, the patina will develop evenly, thanks to the finely brushed case finishing. These are small details, but details that take time to get right. The result is a bronze watch that’s finished to a level well beyond any other piece at a comparable price.
Tudor’s skill with cases doesn’t stop there. Consider the Fastrider Black Shield, its case made from a single piece of black ceramic. Ceramic isn’t the easiest material to work with, but Tudor managed to deliver this highly technical case at a competitive price. The Black Shield has an RRP of $5,850 AUD.
Tudor introduced its first in-house movement last year, the MT-5621 which showed up in the North Flag. With a strong three-day power reserve, silicon hairspring and COSC reliability it’s a big step up from ETA. Twelve months down the track and in-house movements are happily ticking away in the Pelagos and Black Bay collections.
While the MT-5621 was the brand’s first in-house movement, their first in-house module was developed way back in 2011, for the Heritage Advisor. Not only does it have an on/off indicator, date and alarm power reserve indicator, the alarm also ends abruptly, rather than slowly trailing off as most other alarms do – even on big-budget watches. The team at Tudor didn’t need to do this, but it sounds better, so they did.
Anyone who owns a watch from Tudor’s Heritage collection won’t need to be sold on how impressive the fabric straps are, but it’s worth repeating. Hand-woven using traditional jacquard techniques, the technology might be centuries old and labour intensive, but boy does it result in a superior strap.