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26 February 2020

1970 – 2020: 50 Years of the Tudor Chronograph

By: Jamie McFadden

2020 isn’t just a year on which we can all look ahead to the “roaring 20s” - as we’ve become accustomed to calling it here at DMR HQ. It is also a chance for watch fans to look back at some pretty significant achievements in the world of horology. This year sees Tudor celebrate 50 years of their iconic chronographs.

1970 was a historical year… The Beatles release their final album; the world’s first jumbo-jet makes a commercial flight between New York and London, and DMR was still only in the first year of our journey. It was also the year that a bold, daring watch manufacturer, introduced a new addition. It was in 1970, that TUDOR launched its first chronograph, the Oysterdate. A robust and functional timepiece, this watch heralded an exciting time for the brand, paving the way for 50 years of TUDOR chronographs. Immediately associated with mechanical sports watches, the Oysterdate was powered by a robust mechanical Valjoux 7734 calibre, with a manual winding and cam chronograph mechanism. With three variations released of this first sporty TUDOR chronograph, each was distinguished by their bezel type, with two dial variations. Unusually shaped luminous hour markers quickly earned the nickname “Homeplates” due to the resemblance they bore to the home plate on a baseball field.

The second generation of the TUDOR chronograph was launched in 1971. Dubbed the TUDOR “Monte-Carlo” in honour of the roulette wheel-style dials, the 7100 series retained the same case as their predecessors as well as the spirit of their dial, but featured a new movement, offering a more sophisticated chronograph mechanism. It was also in this 1971 addition that TUDOR’s signature blue was first introduced to the collection. Over the next five decades, TUDOR went on to prove their “Born to Dare” spirit through the development of their chronographs. The year 1976 saw the introduction of the Prince Oysterdate, the first TUDOR chronographs to be equipped with self-winding movements. Made thicker to accommodate their new movements, their robustness was highlighted in advertisements from the 1980s. The 1990s heralded design change for the TUDOR chronograph with the 1995 release of the “Sapphire Chronograph”.  Maintaining its highly recognisable silhouette, it now presented a softer curved case and rounded configurations. Sapphire crystal also made its first appearance in the collection, hence the nickname given to the watch by collectors.

Fast forward to TUDOR’s current collection and we see a more recent addition which remains true to the sporty heritage of the brand’s chronographs. In 2017, TUDOR launched the Black Bay Chrono which boldly combined the aquatic heritage of the Black Bay family with the chronograph’s timekeeping function that ruled the racetrack. The result? The Black Bay Chrono presented a chronograph with superior performance and a unique design, which went on to win the prize for best watch under 8,000 Swiss Francs at the Grand Prix dHorlogerie de Genève. Boasting a 70-hour power reserve and silicon balance spring, the Black Bay Chrono remains true to TUDOR’s philosophy of quality, presenting extraordinary robustness and reliability which is guaranteed by the array of extreme testing applied to all TUDOR products.

50 years on, TUDOR’s commitment to innovative and expert watchmaking continues to advance with the changes in technologies and styles. The release of the Black Bay Chrono S&G at Baselworld 2019 is testament to TUDOR’s ability to evolve in design and materials.

For more information about TUDOR Chronographs at DMR, contact your local showroom here.

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