July 22, 2013
by Ariel Adams
People here in the US are getting really excited about Tudor’s return to the American watch market. The reason, at least for watch lovers, is that Tudor represents two very good things. First, is a tradition of making good looking, yet conservative watches a lot of people are happy to put on their wrist. Second, is that Tudor comes from a very well-respected and trusted house. Tudor watches are made right alongside Rolex watches. If you are among the last people to learn this fact, Rolex is a sister company of Tudor, each being technically owned by the Wilsdorf Foundation (named for Hans Wilsdorf who began Rolex). Tudor has been a laudable sub-brand of the world’s most famous luxury watch maker for decades. Also, in cooperation with our friends at Watchonista, we’d like to point you over to their collection of Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue reviews here, which our aBlogtoWatch review being the very first.
Nevertheless, as we’ve mentioned before, Rolex kept Tudor out of the US for a long time. In fact, I am not even sure about the last time a Tudor watch was officially sold in the US. Why is Tudor making a comeback? I think part of it has to do with the positioning Tudor is making for itself not as a Rolex competitor, but as a more accessibly priced brand with clear distinctions from Rolex, but something that the same type of people would happy to wear. Today’s Tudor watches are sporty, often focused on heritage, and pretty well-priced (all things considered).
One of the star watches for 2013 is the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue ref. 70330B. It would be amiss to call it a new watch because it is actually a different color variation of the more gray toned Tudor Heritage that was also recently released. Each of these modern timepieces is in fact directly inspired by vintage Tudor watches. Aside from the size and some minor details, the new versions of these watches are remarkably similar to the older versions. While the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue is a thoroughly modern watch in its materials and construction, there is a heavy helping of retro 1970s design. The original model this watch is based on is the Tudor “Montecarlo” ref. 7169.
We offered a detailed first look with a hands-on experience of the Heritage Chrono Blue during Baselworld 2013. In that prior post you can see what the watch looks like on the wrist with the provided blue and orange NATO-style strap. Yes, Tudor supplies both a steel metal bracelet and strap with each Heritage Chrono Blue. Tudor is a detail-oriented company (just like Rolex), and if there is anything positive to say about the Heritage Chrono Blue it is that Tudor really makes sure each angle of the watch looks and feels good. Detailing is meticulous and people familiar with watches will immediately notice the excellent use of materials.
One reason for that is that Rolex/Tudor produce so much of their parts in-house. When you make your own cases, dials, bracelets, etc… you can tightly control quality and produce the exact product you want. Whether you like Rolex and Tudor watches or not, one thing you have to admit is that their quality control and level of detail gives luxury watches a good name.
For the money, the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue’s 42mm wide steel case is wonderfully finished. Everything feels solid, nothing wiggles, and the pieces fit together very well. The steel feels well machined (because it is), and you get a high level of confidence when wearing the watch. The case design is actually quite similar (though not at all the same) as the also 42mm wide Tudor Pelagos that we reviewed here. Both watches fit the same on the wrist – which is a good thing. For a 42mm wide watch, the Heritage Chrono Blue wears large – which I like – because of the wide-spaced and long lugs. It also looks a bit larger because of the thinner bezel.