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Tudor Fastrider Black Shield chronograph

50 Years of Tudor Chronographs

Tudor Fastrider Black Shield chronograph

This year Tudor celebrates 50 years of chronographs, so we’re looking back at the timepieces that marked milestones in the brand’s history. 

It started in 1970 when Tudor launched their very first chronograph, the Oysterdate. The colorway came in only black or gray with luminous pentagonal shaped hour markers. It was because of the marker’s unique shape that the Oysterdate was also called “Homeplate”, resembling the plates on a baseball field. It had just three models, clearly distinguishable by the way the bezel looked. 

The Oysterdate 7031 had a bezel with a Plexiglas disc marked with a 500-unit graduated tachymeter scale; the Oysterdate 7032 used a satin-brushed steel bezel with an engraved tachymeter scale; and the Oysterdate 7033 featured a bidirectional rotating bezel with a 12-unit graduated black disc. All three models were powered by the manual winding Valjoux 7734 caliber with a cam chronograph mechanism.

Tudor Oysterdate Chronograph

A second generation of Tudor watches with roulette-wheel dials was launched in 1971. They were called Monte Carlo, after the famed casino in Monaco. It used the same case as the Oysterdate, but added new color combinations including one with the blue which would become Tudor’s signature. It came again in three models and had a brand new manually wound Valjoux 234 caliber with better chronograph mechanisms, a clutch and column wheel.

Tudor Monte Carlo Chronograph

In 1976, there was another collection from Tudor: the Prince Oysterdate. This collection showcased the first ever Tudor chronographs with their very own self-winding movements. Dials came in combinations of black, white and silver, but they were also available in the previous dial designs done by Tudor. 

The case’s style remained the same, but made thicker to accommodate the Valjoux caliber 7750–earning the name “Big Block” among collectors. Once again, the collection featured three models all identifiable by the bezel’s look.

Tudor Big Block Chronograph

Minor adjustments were made to the Prince Oysterdate in 1995. This year’s collection used softer lines, while the case and configurations had rounder curves. Alongside that, Tudor introduced sapphire crystal to the Prince Oysterdate, which earned it the sobriquet “Sapphire Chronograph”. The watches still housed the same movement, but were now offered in gold and steel arrangements.

Tudor Sapphire chronogaph

Fast forward to 2010, when Tudor celebrated 40 years of chronographs with the Heritage Chrono. Some of the design elements, such as the home plate shaped hour markers and gray and black configurations, were subtle nods to the original Oysterdate. The timepiece was offered with a black, grey or orange Jacquard fabric strap, which soon became a trend in watchmaking. The movement used for these models was the caliber 2892 with an additional chronograph mechanism.

Tudor Heritage Chrono

The success of the 2010 Heritage Chrono paved the way for a second one in 2013. This new one came in blue and paid homage to the Monte Carlo. 

Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue

Within the same year Tudor surprised and impressed watch enthusiasts with the Fastrider Black Shield, a sporty matte black chronograph. It diverged from Tudor’s traditional aesthetic; it had a very detailed and angular design reminiscent of a superbike fairing. The sleek timepieces came with red, bronze or white hour markers and were equipped with the self-winding caliber 7753 that had a cam chronograph system and a date at 4:30.

Tudor Fastrider Black Shield Chronograph

In 2017, Tudor launched the Black Bay Chrono which combined their Black Bay’s aquatic history with the chronograph’s timekeeping functions. The Black Bay Chrono was COSC-certified and had a high precision regulating organ developed by the brand. The movement had a balance spring, column wheel and vertical clutch while boasting a 70-hour power reserve. All this was thanks to the manufacture caliber chrono MT5813, which was a result of collaboration between Tudor and Breitling. Proving itself to have superior performance and design, the Black Bay Chrono won the prize for best watch under 8,000 Swiss francs in the 2017 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie Geneve.

Tudor Black Bay Chrono

As Tudor remains committed to producing more and improving their watches, we won’t be surprised if they come up with another family of chronographs in 2020. 

Get to see select TUDOR timepieces up close when you visit our stores.

 

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