Tudor North Flag 2015 novelty

Tudor takes the world by surprise in 2015: one in-house caliber and three novelties

The brand caught its followers of guard. The year 2015 will not produce a new model in the heritage line, but rather for three novelties, including one that came out of the blue: a Tudor caliber, a world première…

By Joel Grandjean

The suspense is excruciating. On a table, for a few more minutes, a swathe of felt still covers the three novelties that the brand Tudor will be introducing this year. Everyone is waiting with bated breath. Opposite us, part of the Tudor team is gearing up to analyze our reaction. And just to think, that those foreheads and eyes now scrutinizing us already knew about this 2015 news years ago. Indeed, what we will now be witness to was not produced in the blink of an eye.

Just prior to this very privileged moment, we had been imagining all the possible options. Maybe a new heritage model, a different color for a product that the brand, launched by Hans Wilsdorf in 1926, had already gotten us used to, ever since the company had set itself on a course for total independence.  For this year, 2015, Tudor decided to hark back to its second thematic pole, a counterpart to its "heritage" values, i.e., its technical aspects.

TUDOR Fastrider 2015 models TUDOR Fastrider 2015 models

Ducati Tudor, the Fastrider chronograph

The first revelation is called the Fastrider chronograph. It is in tune with the brand's chumming with the legendary Italian crown jewel of two-wheeling speed machines, Ducati, a friendship that began back in 2011. The 2015 model, still the offspring of a tight esthetic dialog between the designers of mythical bikes and Tudor's Style Workshop, is inspired this time from the Scrambler, from which it borrowed the somewhat libertarian, nonchalant spirit. This motorbike has also experienced an evolution in registers thanks to an intelligent policy of personalization options, whose sum total of combinations now reaches 73. The vehicle is more affordable and has been conceived as one of the world's must-haves. In fact, it is already being delivered to dealerships. In anti-conformist mode, this machine exudes a feeling of exhilaration that is hard to bring under control, the image it projects is "urban adventures without limits." Tudor's most visible connection to the Scrambler is in the choice of coloring, which distinguishes the three Fastriders. They range from bright yellow, a traditional color for the brand, to olive green, the color of urban-virile tribes, all the way to retro-chic red.

TUDOR Fastrider Chrono 2015 TUDOR Fastrider Chronograph 2015 yellow

The esthetic dialog generated by the watch and the motorbike continues all the way to the ends of the two bracelets that come with the timepiece and prolong the case – water-resistant to 150 meters – in brushed steel with a definite leaning to the matt look. One bracelet features gadroons typical of leather saddles, the other is in matt black rubber. In fact, matt is the predominant aspect of the watch. It's the finishing for the black bezel or the black PVD treatment of the pushers and the crown. The whole look is faired and angular and emits myriad subtle cues. It seems to belong to that universe of internal combustion that is so appealing to the Tudor watches.

TUDOR Fastrider Chronograph 2015 TUDOR Fastrider Chronograph 2015

Under the hood is an ETA 7753 with a calendar function with rapid correction. Other technical features are: automatic winding, 46 hours power reserve, date aperture at 4.30 on a dial that is either yellow, green or red and swept by ruthenium hour and minute hands. The watch face alternates white and black luminescent mass, the totalizers are grey with a black contour, and the small seconds match the color of the chosen version. Finally, the retail price will not cross the CHF 4000 mark (a little more than $4000 in March 2015), a reminder that the brand is playing for volume and that it can therefore allow itself to take an aggressive position.

TUDOR North Flag 2015 TUDOR North Flag 2015

The first Tudor caliber welcomed by the North Flag

And suddenly, the curtain rises on something truly new. A novelty that will cause a great flow of ink in the world of watchmaking in 2015, regardless of what the other brands are doing. In almost 90 years of existence, the Tudor brand never had its own caliber, even at a time when in house movements were all the rage in the days before the arrival of quartz. This lacuna is now a thing of the past. There, on the table, it lies before our very eyes, the brand new North Flag collection, with its "scientific" look, a dedicated case, its own esthetic lines, including as another Tudor première, the integration of bracelet and case and, above all, its very own caliber, the TUDOR MT5621. Five years of development, yet the testing took place without a single leak to spoil the surprise.  It all started on the drawing board, with the same list of specifications that the brand would present to certified Swiss suppliers to ensure top reliability and precision. And speaking of precision, the mention of Chronomètre suisse certifié informs people of the fact that none of the movements can escape the tests by the COSC, the famous Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres.

TUDOR North Flag 2015 TUDOR North Flag 2015 on the wrist

In its determination to become totally independent,  Tudor has just crossed the Rubicon. It now has a caliber all of  its own, exclusively, with automatic winding using a bidirectional rotor, that displays an outstanding power reserve of up to 70 hours via a disc display placed at 9 o'clock. That is enough to keep from having to wind up the watch between Friday night and Monday morning. As for the mechanical pulse of the device, it beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz), regulating a balance with variable inertia with an antimagnetic silicon balance spring. In addition to the sweep hours, minutes and seconds hands, the caliber also features an instant date function in an aperture located at 3 o'clock. It's a robust and reliable piece of equipment, high-tech stuff with a tool-like feel. This is particularly apparent in the steel and ceramic esthetics expressed by the North Flag , a timepiece that pays homage to the early 1950s, when members of the British North Greenland Expedition wore Tudor's Oyster Prince models to carry out their experiments in hostile environments. They needed a timekeeper that could be trusted, and instruments that would measure time precisely. The satin-finished matt surface of the angular middle case is a good backdrop for gentler ministrations, like the slight curve on the upper side. The bezel, with its circular satin finishing, is made of two, perfectly fitted, complementary elements: matt ceramic on the edge and the brushed steel on the upper face.

TUDOR North Flag 2015 TUDOR North Flag 2015

Another first at Tudor is the transparent case back, which gives a glimpse of the interlacings inside this spiffy caliber, which is striated with new technological tricks, sandblasted surfaces, and details boasting snail or sunburst patterns. The esthetic quality of the North Flag extends to the two integrated bracelets, the one in satin-finished steel with polished inter-link segments, the other in matt, structured black leather, with yellow top-stitching and lining.

TUDOR Pelagos 2015 TUDOR Pelagos 2015 novelties

The new Tudor Pelagos, the big blue and the in-house caliber

On the table, another surprise. This time, it's the external part that will also make the world's Tudor collectors' hearts skip a beat. Yes, the Pelagos 2015, a tool watch, water-resistant to 500 meters (about 1,600 feet), is one timepiece with a very high reputation in the world of diving. And now it reconnects with its history through a magic blue. It harks back to a time when the French navy adopted it for its frogmen towards the end of the 1960s. The original matt black version is now joined by a version in matt blue with a definite techno-professional esthetic. This model continues in the innovative spirit from which it was born, by featuring a helium valve that helps regulate the alternation between time in the deep and time in the chamber. Already? The other great surprise with this 2015 model is that it will from now on be equipped with the brand's own new caliber.  It's a change that should give all older models more value. This Tudor Pelagos, therefore, is also a COSC-certified chronometer. It's price ranges from CHF 3,950 and CHF 4,400 (around $4000 to $4500) if you opt for the magic blue version.

TUDOR Pelagos 2015 TUDOR Pelagos 2015 blue dial

By coming to Baselworld with these three novelties, Tudor is reminding its fans of these two inspiring pillars, namely heritage and technology. In 2015, it is clearly the technical dimension that has seized the initiative, even though the brand has never shied away from adding technical extensions to each of its heritage models, be it by the combination of materials, or by the adding of innovations. And lastly, something that does relinquish these two stylistic planks, to a certain extent, is the visual communication, which suggests vision of fictional contemporary adventures dreamt up by urban folk needing some fresh air, calculated risks and places to explore.  When all is said and done, why not? Is it not possible to feel a part of it all, with a few adventures filled with suggested decors and titillating exploits, even enjoyed from the comfort of one's armchair? After all, we all do need some sun and thrills....

TUDOR Pelagos 2015 TUDOR Pelagos 2015 black dial 

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