50 Years of Tudor Chronographs
Fifty years ago, Tudor launched its first chronograph, Oysterdate. Today, Tudor’s chronographs are valued in the watchmaking industry and are a faithful partner to the various exciting adventures of their owners. Find out how they have evolved over the last five decades
Series 7000 or ‘Homeplate’
Introduced in 1970, The Tudor chronograph was named the Oysterdate, and immediately became associated with mechanical sports watches. It was powered by a robust mechanical Valjoux 7734 calibre with manual winding and cam chronograph mechanism. Its case was generously pro-portioned and its design sharp and masculine. The dial design was unusual since the first two versions came in two versions, grey and black. They also featured unusual painted luminous hour markers in a pentagonal shape, earning them the nickname ‘Homeplate’ in reference to the home plate on a baseball field.
Series 7100 or ‘Monte-Carlo’
The second generation of Tudor chronographs was launched in 1971 and featured in the brand’s catalogue until 1977. Dubbed the Tudor ‘Monte-Carlo’ among enthusiasts thanks to their roulette wheel-style dials, the 7100 series chronographs retained the same case as their predecessors as well as the spirit of their dial, but the movement changed. A new colour combination was introduced in this series, Tudor’s signature blue, with a blue and grey dial and two types of matching blue bezel.
Self-winding or ‘Big Block’ Chronograph (Series 9400 and 79100)
In 1976, Tudor presented a new product family that represented a small revolution for the brand. These new Prince Oysterdate watches were the first Tudor chronographs to be equipped with self-winding movements. While the case retained the general lines of the previous families, it was made thicker to accommodate the rotor of the self-winding movement, earning it the nickname ‘Big Block’ in collectors’ circles. The name ‘Big Block’ endured when the following 79100 series was introduced in 1989, which underwent only minimal modifications.
‘Sapphire’ Chronograph (79200 Series)
In 1995, with the introduction of the 79200 series of references, the aes-thetics of the Prince Oysterdate chronograph were subtly yet significantly updated. The case became more refined and rounded keeping its highly recognisable silhouette. Several notable developments marked the design of this fourth generation over the next few years, including the introduction of a sapphire crystal – hence its nickname among collectors – as well as gold and steel configurations, and a leather strap. Its movement remained the Valjoux calibre 7750 in a substantially improved version, particularly from an aesthetic point of view.
The return of the ‘Homeplate’
In 2010, to mark the 40th anniversary of the first Tudor chronograph, the brand launched the Heritage Chrono. This watch featured a modern design, while adopting the main aesthetic elements of the famous reference 7033 (a prototype from 1970 with hourly graduated rotating bezel), blending them with numerous subtle, unique details such as the bevelled, polished angles of the horns, the polished protective shoulder of the winding crown, and the knurling on the rotating bezel and pushers. In 2013, a new version of this model was launched, the Heritage Chrono Blue, with a blue-accented dial. In addition to its colour, this new model also featured a dial inspired by the second generation of Tudor chronographs launched in 1971 dubbed the ‘Monte-Carlo’. The movement behind these models was a calibre 2892 with additional chronograph mechanism, adopting the principle of the minute counter with 45-minute graduations and the date at 6 o’clock.
Fastrider and mastering ceramic
In 2013, Tudor surprised the watchmaking world with the launch of the Fastrider Black Shield, a resolutely sporty matt black chronograph that broke away from the brand’s traditional aesthetics. Its monobloc high-tech ceramic case reflected its technological prowess and performance. Initially offered in a black configuration with red hour markers or black with bronze-coloured hour markers, the Fastrider Black Shield was also made available in a high-contrast format, black with white hour markers. Its self-winding mechanical movement was the calibre 7753 with cam chronograph system and the date at 4.30. The model’s strap came in either matt black leather with white topstitching or black rubber.
A Manufacture Calibre for the Black Bay chronograph
Since the presentation of its first chronograph, the Oysterdate, in 1970, Tudor has continued to produce watches that are closely tied to the world of motorsports. In 2017, the Black Bay Chrono boldly combined the aquatic heritage of the Black Bay family with the chronograph’s timekeeping function that ruled the racetrack. The result was the Black Bay Chrono, a chronograph with superior performance and a unique design. The year it launched, it won the prize for best watch under 8,000 Swiss francs at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. Boasting a 70-hour power reserve and silicon balance spring, and officially certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute, the Manufacture calibre chronograph MT5813, which drives the Heritage Black Bay Chrono was a high-performance movement.
Recognizable chronograph in Steel & Gold version
At Baselworld 2019 watch fair, Tudor presented a new elegant edition of the recognizable Black Bay Chrono model. The new Black Bay Chrono is called S&G, which stands for ‘Steel & Gold’, representing the materials in which the model comes. With a 41 mm case, this watch also stands out with its black dial and prominent gold subdials. This interesting chronograph comes on a bracelet in steel and gold, and a brown leather strap.
Explore the Tudor collection at the Mamić 1970 boutique at 7 Frane Petrića Street in Zagreb, which is a proud member of the international network of Tudor retailers.
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