Did you know that the Tudor Ranger is older than the Rolex Explorer 1? At least its name is. Hans Wilsdorf registered the name Ranger in 1929 while the name Explorer didn’t appear on a dial until the 1950s. But like many things that belong to a distant past, the Tudor collection did not officially make its debut until 1943 on a mysterious tonneau-shaped watch made for the Indian market. With that said, the first modern Tudor, the one the 2022 39mm version resembles the most, is the reference 7995 from 1965. The latter came with the now iconic shovel-head hour hand and the name “Ranger” printed below the pinion.
But in any case, today I’m going to make another prediction: a 36mm version of the Ranger. As I was hesitating what Tudor could do with the Ranger line in 2023—I hesitated writing about a potential titanium version—I thought to make a wild guess and talk about a 36mm variant…with date! So let’s take a look!
My Favorite Tudor Ranger Reference: Reference 7966
If money wasn’t an issue and that I had unlimited access to the best vintage watches in the most pristine conditions, I would go for a 34mm Ranger. Specifically, the reference 7966. I love the fact that it had a smaller case, a date aperture with a date magnifier, and the iconic shovel-head hour hand. I wouldn’t want to ask anything more or less of a solid, everyday tool watch made for exploration and adventure. While I love the Explorer 1 in its many iterations—and, in particular, a 36mm case—I feel that it has always been missing one thing: a date. I know, the Explorer 1 wouldn’t be the Explorer 1 if it had a date, but I personally find that having a date is a must for an everyday watch.
Although the first Ranger iterations didn’t have a date complication, for example the reference 7995 (pictured below,) it eventually did. And I for one think it was a great idea for Tudor to add a date to differentiate the Ranger from its brother from another mother, the Explorer 1. It’s like Tudor adding a date complication to the Tudor Submariner while the first references of the Rolex Submariner didn’t have one. (I know, I’m not the most precise in terms of enumerating reference numbers. Others do it so much better!) Regardless, most Ranger references came with no date complications, hence why the 2022 model, reference M79950-0001, doesn’t have one.
To be precise: of the 10 historical references dating from 1963 to 1988, only three had a date complication. Tudor basically stopped making a Ranger between 1988 and 2022. So to speak.
Prediction: A Tudor Ranger in 36mm
So, what does it all mean in terms of predictions for 2023? Well, although this is mostly a selfish dream more than a possibility, I do have an ounce of hope that we could see a 36mm version of a Ranger come out in 2023. Even better, a version with a date complication and—to make things even more exciting and unprobable—a date magnifier. Basically, a modern version of a 7966 with modern technology. Seeing a 36mm version is possible given that Rolex released a 36mm version of the Explorer 1 a couple of years ago after producing a 39mm version for many years. And since Tudor often follows in the footsteps of Rolex, a 36mm Ranger is possible.
Yes, it is!
But Tudor is also more daring than Rolex. Making a version of the Black Bay 58 with a silver case was unpredictable in early 2021, although Tudor did it whilst Rolex merely increased and then decreased the case of the Submariner. And whilst Rolex released an Explorer 2 with bigger hands, Tudor released a Black Bay Pro with three-dimensional lumed Arabic numerals. You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? To put it simply, Tudor does crazier things than Rolex and that’s why we could see a 36mm Ranger with a date aperture in 2023. If this were to be the case, I would be the first one to sell all of my watches (and perhaps an organ at the same time) to get my hands on my dream Ranger.
One of my favorite YouTuber actually made a rendering of what a better Ranger could look like. (See picture above.) Seeing that someone else has the same wish made me feel more hopeful that we could see a 36mm version of the Ranger in 2023. While IDGuy’s rendering shows a date complication with no date magnifier—and I love the way he integrated the date aperture in his rendering—I secretly wish it would come with a date magnifier. To me that would send a clear signal to Rolex that daring is caring about the watch community. And yes, I do see how releasing a 36mm Explorer 1 was indeed doing something for the community.
However, a 36mm Ranger with a date and Cyclops, a modern movement, construction, and perhaps even a COSC caliber? That would just be brilliant. But these are just my thoughts. What do you think Tudor would announce with the Ranger line in 2023? Please share your thoughts below.
Featured image: www.rescapement.com