A few years ago, Tudor was a brand that got neglected big time. A Rolex daughter company that creates watches with Rolex cases and bracelets using ETA movements. You didn’t want to be caught dead wearing one of those.
Hans Wilsdorf (founder of Rolex) came up with Tudor Watch Company in 1946 to make sure that people who weren’t fortunate enough to afford a Rolex at least could get a watch created with the same care and quality control, but without the in-house movement like the Rolex watches (the Daytona has been an exception on this till 2000, using Valjoux and Zenith chronograph movements).
Tudor had a line of watches very similar to the available Rolex models, like the Submariner, Day-Date and Date-Just. Tudor also had their own chronograph, with ressemblance of the famous Rolex Daytona. The Tudor Oysterdate Chronograph was launched in 1970 and this initial model was in production until 1977. This Oysterdate Chronograph had reference numbers 7031 and 7032 till no later than 1972 and after that reference numbers 7149 / 7159 / 7169 were introduced. The first two models had a hand wound Valjoux (now ETA) 7734 movement and the 71xx models had a hand wound Valjoux caliber 234 movement.
These two register chronographs register seconds and minutes when the start and stop mechanism is used. Unlike the Rolex Oyster Daytona, which had an hour totalizer as well. The case, crystal, case back, crown and pushers were all manufactured by Rolex and most of these parts carried the Rolex logo. The used bracelets were very similar to the Oyster bracelet (it probably were).
From 1980 till the mid 1990s, Tudor continued to use the Oysterdate Chronograph line, using the famous Valjoux 7750 movement. A automatic chronograph movement that had proven itself over time, and which is still used today (by Tudor and a lot of other brands).
It wasn’t until the mid 1990s that Tudor introduced a more modern looking chronograph. But as we wrote above, you wouldn’t want to be caught dead wearing one. These watches were (and are) built with great care and are very interesting with it comes to quality and price, but you just couldn’t explain to your friends in the bar who all had Rolexes, that you had a cheaper version built by a daughter company of Rolex.
Now, fast forward 2010. You can quietly cry in your pillow if you had been looking at a Tudor in the 1970s, 1980s or even early 1990s but decided to go with a Raymond Weil or Ebel instead. An early Tudor ref. 7031 will fetch (at least) 14.000 Euro / 18,600 USD. The later 71xx models start at approx. 7.000 Euro / 9,300 USD. Tudor has been stirring up the hearts of vintage Rolex collectors as well, and you just read what will happen than. Prices of these early Tudor chronographs go up faster than your expensive Italian sportscar depreciates.
The goods news is – finally – that Tudor acknowledges the request for these vintage babies and decided to make a nice gesture by creating a re-edition of the first 1970 Tudor chronograph. The Tudor Heritage Chrono model will be hitting stores in 2010, featuring a Tudor 2892 movement. As the name suggests (very fairly of Tudor), the Tudor Heritage Chrono is based on the ETA 2892-A2 movement. This version has been modified with a chronograph module add-on.
Price? We at Motoring Exposure think the Tudor Heritage Chrono price of the (ref 70330N) is very fair. The Tudor catalogue 2010 / 2011 mentions a list price of 4200 CHF, which is around 3000 Euro / 4,000 USD. Before discount. This watch comes with an Oyster bracelet and some kind of NATO strap. However, it isn’t really a NATO strap. The strap on the Tudor Heritage Chrono will be connected to the watch with regular spring bars, so there is no NATO strap that needs to be folded or anything. It is just like another regular strap. We think Tudor did a nice job on this strap though. We also think that Tudor (or Rolex for that matter) reads Rolex and Tudor forums and fan websites better than we might have thought. The Tudor Heritage Chrono is what we wanted for a long time.
Tudor Heritage Chrono 70330N Gallery
Photos courtesy of Tudor Watch Company.