Time for Tu­dor

Sought- af­ter pieces give Rolex’s baby brother a mo­ment in the sun

Prestige Hong Kong - Tic Talk - - CONTENTS -

Tu­dor watches are, as they say, hav­ing a mo­ment right now. In Oc­to­ber, at Her­itage Auc­tions in New York, a rare, 1958- vintage Big Crown Submariner, ref 7924, with a red tri­an­gle bezel and gilt dial, sold for US$ 162,500, a record for a watch man­u­fac­tured by a brand that’s all too ofte n shaded by its big brother, Rolex.

The high price for that his­toric diver, how­ever, par­tially re­flects the huge re­cent strides made by Tu­dor to re- es­tab­lish it­self as a brand in its own right, which were kick- started by its 2013 re- en­try to the US mar­ket and, more im­por­tant, the in­tro­duc­tion at Basel­world 2015 of its first in- house move­ment, the self-wind­ing, CO SC chrono me­ter­cer­ti­fied MT 5621. The re­cent ap­point­ment of David Beck­ham as one of Tu­dor’s # Born to dare am­bas­sadors was hardly a dumb move ei­ther.

With a sil­i­con bal­ance spring and a power re­serve of about 70 hours, the MT5621 – which vi­brates at 28,800bph – first ap­peared in the func­tional North Flag, a tool watch if ever there was one, its name in­spired by a Bri­tish Arc­tic ex­pe­di­tion of the 1950s. Since then, evo­lu­tions of the move­ment, which also in­clude a chrono­graph, have turned up right across the Black Bay range. In­deed, a Tu­dor man­u­fac­ture cal­i­bre now pow­ers all Black Bays aside from the ba­sic 32, 36 and 41 mod­els; an in- house en­gine also fea­tures in the trio of Pe­la­gos divers, which are depth- rated to a thor­oughly re­spectable 50 bar.

How­ever, it’s prob­a­bly two of Tu­dor’s lat­est Black Bays – the GMT and the Fifty- Eight, both un­veiled in Basel – that have given the brand its fi­nal push to­wards the sta­tus it now en­joys. With its black dial and two- tone “Pepsi” bezel, the four- hand, 41mm GMT of­fers jump­ing- hour func­tion­al­ity and can si­mul­ta­ne­ously dis­play time in three zones. Given the fact that it’s also COSC- cer­ti­fied, it of­fers much of the ca­chet – and, for that mat­ter, not a lit­tle of the looks – of its Rolex GMT Mas­ter II cousin – which, un­less you’re es­pe­cially pally with a watch dealer, is nigh im­pos­si­ble to get hold of – but at less than half the price. The Fifty- Eight diver, on the other hand, with its red tri­an­gle bezel and gold- on- black graph­ics, ref­er­ences the very same vintage 7924 Submariner men­tioned ear­lier, and is pow­ered by a new MT5402 move­ment that’s been down­sized to fit the watch’s vogueish 39mm siz­ing. ( To our eyes the Fifty- Eight looks es­pe­cially tasty on a brown Tierra di Siena leather strap.)

This pair of new Black Bays are supremely cov­etable and rep­re­sent as­ton­ish­ing value – and therein, of course, lies the rub. Be­cause not only can nei­ther watch cur­rently be found in any Hong Kong dealer that we’ve in­quired at, but their de­sir­abil­ity has also rubbed off on other Black Bay, Pe­la­gos and North Flag mod­els to such an ex­tent that for sev­eral months we haven’t spied a sin­gle new man­u­fac­ture Tu­dor on sale any­where in the city. Such is pop­u­lar­ity.

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