Tudor unveiled its second series of chronographs in 1971, known as the 7100 series. Following on from the first series of chronographs, known as the “Homeplate”, Tudor continued to embrace a flamboyant use of color that was an emerging hallmark of the brand. Alongside the vibrant color schemes, the watches were housed in big cases for the time at 40mm. The Rolex Daytona was 36mm at the time and so the Tudor was the big bruiser brother!
It was this series that became known by collectors as the original “Monte Carlo” watches, as the dials had a resemblance to the roulette tables of the famous casinos of Monte Carlo. Very often the Homeplate watches are also referred to as Monte Carlos, but this isn’t technically correct and the nickname should only really be used when referring to the 7100 series of watches.
Tudor introduced a third bezel type for the Monte Carlos. Having experimented with the 12-hour bi-directional rotating bezel on the prototype 7033 Homeplate, it was now in production.
This was a function unique to Tudor chronographs, unlike the acrylic and steel tachymeters that could also be seen on Rolex Daytonas. The line-up comprised three references:
- 7149 with acrylic tachymeter bezel
- 7159 with steel tachymeter bezel
- 7169 with 12-hour graduated bezel.
The watches all featured the long triangular orange stopwatch second hand and had a two-register dial layout and date window at six o’clock. The color scheme of gray/orange/black that Tudor first used on the Homeplates was supplemented with a gray/orange/blue color combination. The introduction of the blue element on certain watches was complemented by a blue acrylic tachymeter bezel instead of black on the 7149s and a blue 12-hour bezel insert on the 7169s. The Homeplates were equipped with the Valjoux caliber 7734 but the Monte Carlos were powered by the Valjoux caliber 234.
The 7100 series watches featured painted hour markers instead of applied metal markers. In my opinion, this gives the watches a sportier aesthetic reminiscent of vintage Submariners. The homeplate markers from series one chronos were replaced with a more conventional rectangle of lume flanked by two black lines. The use of bright color was quite pronounced, with bright orange elements on both chronograph registers as well as on the outer seconds markers. The 7100 series remained in the Tudor catalog until approximately 1977.