Typically I stay away from sharing my thoughts on a new model, but I think the new Tudor Ranger is quite interesting for a few reasons. Looking at the history of horology as a whole, there aren’t many brands that can claim to have models with history tied to some human exploit. There are brands such as Seiko which have been making tool watches for professionals for a long time, but rarely were they used on historical adventures. The exception is the Seiko ref. 6105, worn by Japanese explorer Naomi Uemura during his solo trek across the North Pole in 1976.
Tudor’s Ties to Exploration
Rolex and Tudor are two brands known for their ties to adventure and exploration. As you may very well know, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay wore early versions of the Rolex Explorer during their ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. The watches they wore were actually Oyster Perpetuals that had been modified to sustain higher altitudes and dramatic variations in temperatures. Furthermore, Rolex is tied to underwater exploration as it has supported the 1960 and 2012 dives to the Mariana Trench. Amongst other things.
Tudor also has ties to similar exploits. For several decades since the 1960s, Tudor was partnering with France’s Marine Nationale to develop specialized dive watches for their frogmen. Tudor recently released the Tudor Pelagos FXD, marking the return of the brand to its historic collaboration with the French Navy. Additionally, Tudor has always been supporting land adventures: it famously provided early Ranger models to the British North Greenland Expedition of 1952. After the expedition, Tudor released several variations of the Ranger and just announced a new model.
It goes without saying that there are other brands that have participated in adventures below and above ground—and in the case of Omega—to the Moon. For the purpose of this article, however, we are focusing on Tudor and the 2022 Ranger.
The New 2022 Ranger
Ever since the first photos of the new Ranger were released, lots of opinions have been shared on YouTube, watch magazines, and social media. Either people like it or hate it, and this for a few reasons that I will discuss below. But first let’s look at what this watch is and what it doesn’t pretend to be. The Ranger is a toolwatch through and through. It has always been one, manufactured and designed for hard-core explorers in the 1950s. As such, it has to fulfill one function and one function only and to the utmost perfection: keeping good time in the harshest of conditions. The Ranger’s goal has never been to be a fashion accessory or a luxury timepiece.
For one reason or another, I’ve heard complaints about the price of the new Ranger as it relates to its design. In a way, some watch enthusiasts link the simplicity of a watch design to its price tag. What I mean is that they think they should pay less for a watch that looks simple. (Maybe they’ve seen too many inexpensive fashion watches that look bare.) Yes, the Ranger looks simple and it does so because it must: people who truly need this type of watch require to be able to tell time easily at a glance. In this case, the dial must be clean, clear, and only display the most essential information.
The other moan people have with the Ranger is the fact that it is 39mm in diameter (the previous model was 41mm) instead of being 36mm like the newest Rolex Explorer 1. While I do love the fact that the new Explorer 1 is back to its original size, I for one am happy Tudor didn’t follow that trend because Tudor is not Rolex and it’s nice to have options. So in a way the Ranger will please those who wished the Explorer 1 was bigger, while the Explorer 1 those who wished the Ranger was smaller. While brands have gone back to offering smaller watches, keeping the new Ranger at 39mm makes sense as it fits most wrist sizes.
Looking now only at the positives, the new Ranger impresses me for three reasons. First, the fact that it is equipped with the MT5402, an in-house, COSC-certified movement which offers 70 hours of power reserve. (The previous generation Ranger had an ETA movement.) That’s a hell of a beast to put in an adventure watch which totally makes sense to me. Second, the bracelet (if you choose this option) comes with a proprietary tool-less micro-adjust clasp which also makes sense for an adventure watch, as our wrist tends to swell throughout the day. Lastly, its price tag: $3,050 on the bracelet and $2,725 on the hybrid rubber strap or fabric NATO.
This is very personal but I love the fact that Tudor keeps doing its own thing, independently from Rolex. While Rolex’s technology keeps getting better and more advanced—see this article to know more—Tudor sticks to mostly making pure tool watches. The Black Bay lineup gained fame for offering great bangs for the bucks and for looking more utilitarian than a Submariner. And I would say the same is true of the Black Bay Pro released earlier this year, and even more so of the new Ranger.
The latter looks like a true tool watch, both on photos and on paper, with all the necessary features to go on the toughest of adventures without the shine of other Swiss luxury watches—mainly, the use of precious materials on the dial or bracelet. The Ranger is, therefore, the best example of a tool watch released by a Swiss house name in a long time.
Featured image: www.hodinkee.com