“I love a good story,” says Brand Ambassador David Beckham during the launch of Tudor’s new Ranger and indeed, it’s a great one. The British North Greenland expedition (BGNE) was a British scientific mission, led by Commander James Simpson RN, which lasted from July 1952 to August 1954 and during that time, among the 82 tonnes of “kit” (British speak for equipment) for the contingent was five pounds (or 30 Tudor timepieces) for the each and everyone of the team. The brand has seen fit to launch new Tudor Ranger was inspired by the legendary expedition and the original Oyster Prince which accompanied these men.
The purpose of BGNE was primarily to carry out scientific studies in harsh Arctic environments with members travelling over the frozen icecaps by foot, dog sled or M29 Weasel. Expedition members also made pioneering ascents of the Barth Mountains and Queen Louise Land, in short, environmental conditions were extreme and hence, the perfect trial for a Tudor.
Featured packed Tudor Ranger is brand’s most affordable timepiece
Dressed in a thinner, more compact case with COSC manufacture calibre within, the new Tudor Ranger is back with a vengeance, bringing renewed eyes and attention to a collection aside from the Black Bay. Known for its robust, no-nonsense tool watches, the Tudor Ranger follows in the same vein as its cousins but with a decidedly more accessible price point; it is the brand’s most affordable timepiece with a manufacture calibre.
Although the Ranger name dates back to 1929, its current aesthetics are actually closest to the 1960s model with Arabic numerals and that unmistakable “arrow head” hour hand. The Ranger was revived briefly in 2014 but after walking in the shadow of its ever popular Black Bay relative, it was quietly removed from the catalog until today.
A substantial upgrade over its predecessor, the new Ranger continues the tradition of the expedition watch born with Oyster Prince watches used by BGNE members: a top of the line model with the brand’s latest innovations including chronometer specced in-house movement and T-fit micro-adjustment clasp. At its retail price, the Tudor Ranger is currently one of the best value propositions in the Swiss watch market.
A historical badass reborn
Augustman observes that while its big brother Rolex had a similar penchant for “real world tests” to demonstrate the brand’s endurance and exceptional quality, theirs were of a more civilian nature. The most high profile trials included professional swimmer Mercedes Gleitze, the first Englishwoman to swim across the English Channel and famously, British explorer, mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary. Tudor on the other hand, opted for “low-key” testing in the ice-cap with military officers for much longer periods (three years). It almost feels as if Tudor had something to prove to Rolex but we digress.
Now 39 mm instead of 41 mm, the Ranger now feels closer to its historical inspiration, honouring its enduring heritage with latest in modern innovations. Augustman set sail from the South Bank of the River Thames just as the BGNE crew did in 1952 with Tudor’s first automatic and waterproof reference 7808 Oyster Prince models in tow and the new Tudor Ranger is exactly what a modern North Greenland expedition would need if it were to take place today.
Furthermore, in an act of commercial bravery, Tudor’s “no date” Ranger follows the no-date Oyster Prince style in a slim 12mm thick steel case, making it more wearable than the discontinued model. A fixed bezel plays up the contrast of its grained, matte-black, domed dial with the Ranger’s iconic 3-6-9-12 Super-LumiNova markers while its iconic Ranger hands are driven by the COSC-certified Manufacture Calibre MT5402 with 70 hours power reserve, the real icing on cake is seeing the “T-fit” safety catch on the Oyster-style bracelet that was previously on the more expensive boutique-only Black Bay 58 Bronze and on this year’s Black Bay Pro released at Watches & Wonders.
The T-fit allows on-the-fly adjustment of the bracelet’s fit which gives the Ranger the same flexibility for deep diving situation but really, for all practical purposes – it makes it easy for a couple to share a watch. Aesthetically, tighter proportions also mean that the dial layout is also much more balanced in contrast to the now defunct 41mm model which had a more sparsely laid out dial. All in all, the new Tudor Ranger is a clear winner and potentially, a strong pillar for a brand that has seen the Black Bay collection dominate all brand awareness.
Tudor Ranger Price & Specs
Case 39mm stainless steel with 100 metres water resistance
Movement Automatic Manufacture Calibre MT5402 with 70 hours power reserve
Price S$4210 on bracelet