Tudor Heritage Models – History and Background

Tudor Heritage ranger

Tudor heritage models – History and background

Tudor has released a number of heritage models over the years. And with all right. Tudor has a long and interesting history. Most importantly perhaps a close relationship with Rolex, as they were founded by the same brand.

Tudor has been very clever in its design strategy for releasing watches, as it uses Rolex’s reputation and prestige, by making models that are in many ways similar to Rolex’s vintage watches. This is because Tudor watches were made with Rolex parts back in the days, hence the similarity between vintage Tudor watches and vintage Rolex watches.

Therefore, by making heritage models in modern times, Tudor takes advantage of the reputation of its bigger brother.

Tudor heritage: Background

Tudor has released a number of heritage models in recent times which all seek inspiration from Tudor’s history and past. They combine modern technology with old design languages and thus combine the best of both worlds. Amongst the lines, the Heritage Black Bay has proven to be the most successful. Partly because dive watches speak to a large audience, but partly because it, with its large crown and iconic case design, reminds us of vintage Rolex watches.

Tudor has since its relaunch focused on differentiating itself from its bigger brother, and in recent years also successfully been able to do so. Through new and unique models, and by investing in in-house Tudor calibers, Tudor is now a brand on its own, strong enough to stand on its own legs – and with a heritage that makes the company so much more interesting and appealing.

Tudor Heritage Ranger

The Tudor Heritage Ranger was released in 2014. It is based on a vintage Ranger series which first appeared in Tudor’s catalogs in the 1960s. Originally, the ranger was released as a budget version of the Rolex Explorer.

Photo by Tudor.

The similarities between today’s Rolex Explorer and Tudor Heritage Ranger are very evident. Equally so are the similarities between the vintage Tudor Ranger and the modern reissue. However, as you would expect, there are of course many differences.

The Tudor Heritage Ranger has a 41mm satin-finished stainless steel case, equipped with an Oyster bracelet, but also available on leather variants. The original has a 34mm steel case but the new Ranger has a 41mm case.

Tudor Heritage ranger

Just like the original, it has a matte black dial and 3-6-9-12 hour configuration with tick marks in between the numerals. The hands are almost identical in design, and comparing them side-by-side will reveal that the dials are very similar.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is Tudor’s most important heritage model, and has been iterated in many new versions and variants since it was first introduced back in 2012. The Heritage Black Bay is the flagship of Tudor takes inspiration from Tudor’s big-crown dive watches dating back to the 1950s.

The Heritage Black Bay is clearly vintage-inspired in its design, but also instantly-recognizable with its large crown, no crown guards, chamfered lugs, and matte black dial. It looks very similar to the original, yet is still very much up-to-date. This goes to show just how timeless the design of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay really is.

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay line was revised in 2016 when the previous reference 79220 was discontinued and replaced by the new 79230. The biggest change was, of course, the change from an ETA movement to an in-house Tudor caliber in the watch.

Tudor Black Bay 79220 VS 79230 ETA VS IN-HOUSE

Tudor Heritage Chronograph

The Tudor Heritage Chronograph model line was launched at Baselworld world 2013.

The Tudor Heritage Chronograph is inspired by the Tudor Chronograph 7169 released in 1973, also known as the “Monte-Carlo”. The new Monte-Carlo model from Tudor was an important release from the brand as it abandoned the Valjoux calibre 7734 which had previously been used in the TUDOR chronographs and instead equipped with the manually-wound Valjoux 234. This new movement offered the wearer better accuracy thanks to a higher frequency – 21,600 beats per hour versus the former 18,000 beats per hour – and had a more sophisticated chronograph mechanism, with a clutch and column wheel.

Photo by Monochromewatches

The Tudor Heritage chronograph pays tribute to this model and thus features a very similar design as the original. Like the original, the reissue featured a rotatable bezel with 12-hour graduation to tell the time in a second time zone.

Tudor Heritage Chronograph 70330B

Tudor Heritage Advisor

The Tudor Heritage Advisor was introduced in 2011 and is inspired by a vintage Tudor alarm watch that the company released in 1957. This is a watch that is very much in the shadow of the other heritage models from Tudor, however, at its release in 1957, it was a very important model for Tudor due to its complicated alarm mechanism.

Photo by Tudor

The modern Heritage Advisor is clearly a tribute to the early Advisor alarm watches from Tudor, but only a few of the design features of these original watches have been incorporated in the new watch – unlike with the other Heritage watches where the design inspiration is undeniable. 

The Heritage Advisor uses an ETA 2892 calibre, with a custom alarm module developed in-house by Tudor. At the time this watch was released, it was the only mechanism developed by Tudor, but this has since changed. The dial of the Heritage advisor is very different from the originals, and it’s difficult to see a resemblance other than the advisor print on the dial that is a nod to the original model name.

Photo from Tudor


It’s safe to say that Tudor has succeeded well since its reissue

Tudor has gone from being a ”Poor man’s Rolex”, to now being known as a serious watchmaker that both develops and makes its own in-house calibers, as well as unique and intriguing designs.

The brand is playing it smart by leveraging its history and past both in its marketing but also in its design language. Vintage Tudor watches have shot through the roof, and obviously, there is a correlation between the releases of the ”heritage models”, allowing people to discover the originals, but let’s not forget the vintage Tudor watches were popular before that.

Tudor simply takes the recipe of what is tried and true and mixes that with modern technology and watchmaking expertise, and the result are watches that are both stunning, qualitative, durable, and timeless.

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