Simon de Burton
The Rolex Cosmograph may have gone down in history as one of the most celebrated driver watches of all time, but Tudor – the brand’s stablemate – also has a track record in the automotive world.
Back in 1955 an internationally accomplished motorcyclist took a respectable third place in the gruelling, 29-hour ‘Trophee de Monaco’ after riding his Ariel’s KH 500cc Twin from the UK to Monte Carlo via the Alpes-Maritimes. The event involved ‘more than 1,000 miles of merciless vibration’ during which, the rider’s trusty Tudor Oyster wristwatch never missed a beat. It is chronographs, however, that are most commonly associated with motorsport -but Tudor didn’t launch its first until 1970 in the form of the Reference 7031 and 7032 ‘Oysterdate’ models.
Nicknamed ‘Homeplates’ because they featured five-sided hour markers in the shape of the final base of a baseball field, they soon became popular with both professional and amateur racing drivers – and, in Japan, were known as ‘Porsche chronos’ following an advertising campaign featuring the marque’s 911 coupé.
Subsequent Tudor chronographs included the so-called ‘Monte Carlo’ models (with markings similar to those of a roulette wheel); the ‘Big Block’ (the first self-winding Tudor chronograph), the ‘Prince’ of the 1990s and the more recent ‘Fastrider’ that was available in a special edition paying homage to Ducati motorcycles.
This year, however, Tudor has launched an all-new motorsport-orientated watch in the form of the Heritage Black Bay Chrono which combines a classic, 1970s aesthetic with an all-new self-winding, chronometer-certified movement developed in partnership with Breitling.
Featuring a screw-down crown and push pieces for serious water resistance and an engraved tachymeter bezel for speed and distance calculations, it’s a good-looking and robust sports watch that’s versatile enough to wear day in, day out. And, as with all Tudor models, it offers decent value for money – the bracelet version costs £3,610, the leather strap version £3,390. And, in both cases, you get an additional fabric strap thrown-in for free….