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Carl S. Cunanan
July 17, 2022     |    

The New TUDOR Ranger

A modern take on a historic expedition watch.

We often take for granted the fact that our wristwatches are tough. That they are accurate. That they are consistent. We forget that their being waterproof is a big deal, or that the tiny coiled spring inside them releases enough power to sit alone on a weekend and be ready for work on Monday.

TUDOR Ranger

But that wasn’t the case for a very long while. The fact that the watch brands ROLEX and TUDOR are the powerhouses they are, the fact that wristwatches themselves have become the instruments that we can now almost take for granted, was hugely due to people like Hans Wilsdorf. He decided to make watches that could stand the all the tests that could be thrown at them, that could survive the challenges that the world seventy years ago had waiting for it.

TUDOR Ranger

Many people also don’t realize just how crucial wristwatches were to the development of the world as we now know it. Huge intricate clocks were fine perhaps for scientists in their laboratories, but what about the ones that went out into the jungles and the caves, that dared the sea and the air, journeyed into wastelands both baking and freezing.

TUDOR Ranger

www.tudorwatch.com

The history of the Ranger name dates back much further than the British North Greenland Expedition. Although the Tudor watches used by its members from 1952-1954 never bore this inscription on their dials, subsequent Ranger models have perpetuated the concept of the expedition watch, a robust, practical, and affordable instrument, born at Tudor during this time.

Seventy years ago, Hans Wilsdorf and the TUDOR watch company decided to support a daring journey into the arctic ice. The British North Greenland Expedition was the first of its kind, the biggest ever mounted. Using airplanes, ships and tracked vehicles for positioning, resupply and exploration, a group of intrepid scientists and adventurers moved up to the frozen north. They brought along with them around five pounds weight of watches. TUDOR was giving them the ability to navigate, because compasses don’t exactly behave very well too close to the actual North Pole. People would need to navigate by judging time and monitoring stars, length of travel, where the sun and moon would be, whether it was even day or night sometimes. The ability to have robust and precise instruments on your body was a key advantage.

TUDOR Ranger
TUDOR Ranger

The scientists and those that supported them also had to pay the favor back. They were given notebooks, and were told to keep detailed logs of how the watches were operating, what conditions they were in, whether they were ahead or behind based on the time checks given the BBC radio transmissions.

The watches in this case were the TUDOR Oyster Princes, wristwatches that in today’s world might be considered standard rather than tough or tool watches when you looked at them. But they were the expedition watches of the era in every sense of the term. They were true field watches that happened to be elegant as well.

TUDOR Ranger
TUDOR Ranger

The actual first TUDOR Ranger came later, a watch meant to be a little more readable and clear and robust after all that TUDOR had learned from constant tests and exercises such as that expedition. The first TUDOR Ranger had details such as a black face (whereas the Oyster Price was white and probably harder to discern in the arctic) and large indices with generous amounts of luminous material at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock positions with a lot of the clear space needed to discern exactly and quickly where the highly visible hands were. The hands and their design became a tradition of the Ranger line of watches.

TUDOR Ranger
TUDOR Ranger
TUDOR Ranger
TUDOR Ranger
TUDOR Ranger

So the new TUDOR Ranger follows in a pretty amazing family heritage. It’s ancestors helped chart the planet in places that no one was really expected to survive in. But it brings along new strengths just like its predecessors did. The new watch uses a manufacture movement, a COSC certified Calibre MT5402 that has over 70 hours of power reserve. Modern strengths in a relatively modern 39mm size but with all the “Ranger” details that made the watch series what it has become. It is offered with a stainless steel bracelet, a hybrid rubber and leather strap or a very nice green, red and beige fabric strap.

The global launch of the TUDOR Ranger was held in London, and it brought forth the nods toward history and passion that you always see with the brand. The event itself was held just down the river from where the British North Greenland Expedition shoved off seventy years ago.

TUDOR Ranger
TUDOR Ranger

The watch on display at the event, one of the ones from that expedition, was actually found in a cabinet by someone who didn’t know what it was. They brought it to a TUDOR shop, where it was suggested they bring it to a specialist in vintage TUDOR. In the process of doing that, the watch was seen by someone who basically said this may be more important than you realize. He called someone in TUDOR HQ, who went to the archives and found boxes full of documents and no watch. It turns out this was one of the timepieces from that very historic journey.

TUDOR Ranger

Dr. Alexy Karenowska of Oxford University and the Technical Director at the Institute of Digital Archeology gave a very stirring speech that reminded everyone how important such expeditions were not just for science for but how man sees the world and life itself. She spoke of how one participant wrote in his journal about how the adventure felt like his own personal “Journey To Samarkand” and related the feelings and emotions of seeing parts of the world that can change your very life. In the Doctor’s words, sometimes it takes a poet and not a publication to truly see the importance of a place or a time or an event.

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