Over the past 5 years or so, Tudor have been on a bit of a role. Creating some of the most eye-catching reinterpretations of a handful of their iconic timepieces. A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of attending a one-off event in London for the launch of their latest re-edition: the Ranger. Of course, this isn’t the first Ranger they’ve re-released – back in 2014 we saw the introduction of the Heritage Ranger ref. 79910, which was discontinued in 2020. That said, this new Ranger ref. 79950 is closely based on that previous reference.
This new Tudor Ranger was made to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the British North Greenland Expedition. It was on 8th July 1952, that the British North Greenland Expedition left Deptford, an area on the banks of the Thames in London, for a two-year scientific mission studying ice sheets in Greenland. Equipped with the brand-new Oyster Prince model, TUDOR’s first watch that was both automatic and waterproof, the members of the expedition, mainly British scientists, and sailors, conducted in-depth glaciological and seismic surveys at several sites. TUDOR also asked them to gather performance data for the 30 Oyster Prince watches that would be worn under extreme conditions. It is the adventurous spirit of these pioneers of arctic exploration that the latest addition to the Ranger line celebrates, offering an affordable combination of state-of-the-art watchmaking technology and historic aesthetics.
Though there’s no real tie between this new piece and the timepiece that accompanied those on said expedition, though it’s interesting to know that the Ranger name dates back much further than the British North Greenland Expedition. The origins of the TUDOR Ranger family date back to 1929. This was the year when Hans Wilsdorf registered the “Ranger” name, just three years after registering the “The TUDOR” trademark. At the time, the name was not used to indicate the model specifically, but instead to add an adventurous aspect to certain watches in the TUDOR collection. The aesthetics that we now recognise as the Ranger didn’t appear until the 1960s, with its large Arabic numerals, generously coated with luminescent material at 3 (for models without the date), 6, 9, and 12 o’clock, as well as its uniquely designed hands.
This new Ranger sports a 39mm case made from stainless-steel, with all angle’s satin brushed, except for the lip of the bezel – this lends it a utilitarian look. The Ranger is waterproof to 100 metres (330 ft) and as said by Tudor “designed to withstand the elements.” Its winding crown tube is also satin-brushed steel, while the crown features a Tudor rose. The case is finished in a fashion we’ve come to expect from Tudor, with precision but retaining that tool-watch charm and likeability, hence the reason it is available on a choice of three bracelets: olive-green Jacquard fabric, hybrid rubber and leather with a fabric-like textured black finish, or an entirely satin-brushed steel bracelet, with the Tudor “T-fit” clasp equipped with a system for rapid length adjustment.
The dial is styled in the typical fashion we’ve come to expect from Black Bay; it’s a matte black affair, with a mixture of directly applied Roman numerals (3,6,9 and 12) and baton markers. It’s nice to see that Tudor have stuck with the arrow-head hour hand but have added a little touch of colour to the sweeping seconds hand, with a red tip. Of course, like the markers the hands have also been inlaid with Super LumiNova. At a glance you’ll notice that the dial is rather sparse, of course there is no date window, however, one other aspect that lends to this is the omission of the COSC rating – which it is qualified to have but a decision was made to leave this off the dial.
For this new Ranger, Tudor didn’t need to create a new calibre but chose to go with a movement already tried and tested in the BB58: the calibre MT5402. With its 26 mm diameter, the Calibre MT5402 displays hour, minute and second functions and has been designed for medium-sized Tudor watches. And, just in case you were wondering the normal Black Bay makes use of a 31.8mm calibre – so the difference is rather significant. Moreover, it is certified as a chronometer (COSC), with a 70-hour power reserve.
I really like this new Ranger from Tudor, and the conscience use of back story that has some loose connections to said timepiece, while a little odd, does what is intended by bringing watch-nerds attention to the important role Tudor watches have played in history. The new Ranger’s rugged charm is evident, as well as its versatility. The all-satin brushed case lends a stealthy but more importantly unique look to it, not to mention the downsize to a 39mm case that in my opinion was most definitely required. But, perhaps the most compelling point in its favour is its price point – which is rather handsome if I don’t say so myself…
The Tudor Ranger Ref. 79950 on the riveted steel and gold bracelet is priced at £2,420 and is priced at £2,170 on the rubber strap or fabric strap. For more information on visit tudorwatches.com.