Last night, Tudor gave a first look at its latest and greatest achievement to a group of journalists and bloggers in a pretty unique setting –enormous tents set up in the forests outside Basel, which we reached in a fleet of vintage Land Rover Defenders, heading up a path lit by enormous flaming torches (just like Tudor to, while other brands might create a theater of the outdoors at their Basel stands, take people out to the real thing.)
The new timepiece is the Tudor North Flag, which takes many of its design cues from the Tudor Ranger II of the 1970s, although in many respects the North Flag is very much its own design as well –not the least of which is thanks to a rather momentous event: the introduction of what Tudor’s calling its first in-house movement, the caliber MT5621.
Caliber MT5621 has been in development at Tudor, we’re told, since 2010, and it’s obviously been designed to reflect Tudor’s heritage of tough, good looking tool watches but it’s also a thoroughly modern design that offers a tremendous amount of bang for the buck for watch enthusiasts looking for an in-house movement at an ébauche price point. MT5621 has a seventy hour power reserve (there is a dial-side power reserve indication as well) and ticks a plethora of desirable boxes –an instant-switching date, a balance bridge, silicon balance spring, bidirectional winding, and a free-sprung adjustable mass balance (beating at 4 hertz) with a Tudor-designed and built –and patented –timing screw system for regulation. The high precision construction yields high precision results –this is to our knowledge the first watch and movement from Tudor to be certified as a chronometer by the COSC.
Such timing screws are used to alter the effective inertia of the balance and control rate –similar systems include Rolex’s own Microstella balance screws although timing screws have been used in watchmaking for centuries. They are generally thought to offer better rate stability over time, as they don’t drift out of position as regulator indexes can, and they don’t interfere with the oscillation of the balance spring.
The North Flag is being offered both on a bracelet and a strap, and the watch is as solid a piece of no-nonsense watchmaking as you could want –at about 40mm in diameter, it’s eminently wearable, with a yellow and black dial color scheme that we’re sure offers great all-conditions visibility, and a bezel with a ceramic middle for better scratch resistance (this is one of the points of departure between the vintage Ranger II and the North Flag –as is the absence, in the new watch, of the date cyclops.) And, interestingly enough, the pricing is almost unbelievably approachable –early speculation about the North Flag had a $5k-6K price tag discussed as likely for the first Tudor with an in-house movement, but the North Flag will be offered at just $3550 on a strap, and $3675 on a bracelet. It’s exactly what Tudor has always stood for –the watch as an ultra-reliable daily companion, through thick and thin, that offers –with a seemly degree of unpretentious confidence –some of the best bang for the buck in the business