Tudor has produced its first-ever in-house movement in its history. Yes, you heard right. It’s borrowing a page from sister brand, Rolex, which is known for making movements developed, manufactured and quality checked in a closed-loop system entirely within its own premises that are considered some of the industry’s best in terms of mechanical quality, reliability and accuracy. Joining the elite circle of movement-makers, Tudor has released its debut in-house Caliber MT5621 in the new North Flag, a “trustworthy field watch” following in the footsteps of the Heritage Ranger. The 40-mm three-hand automatic mechanical timekeeper features an instant date window at three o’clock and a power reserve indicator in the form of a disc at nine o’clock, and is water-resistant to 100 m. Work on the North Flag’s design began around March 2014 – the timepiece’s realization requiring roughly one year from conception to final product – while the development of the new movement took around four years.
In recent times, Tudor has presented its wares within the context of modern adventure, set against the backdrop of the great outdoors like the Fastrider Black Shield’s dark fictional universe of volcanic eruption, the Heritage Chrono Blue’s sunny Riviera and the Heritage Ranger’s voyage across Arctic terrain. Vastly varied environments but all embodying the promise of escape and calling for a certain self-sufficiency in the form of the ultimate tool replica watch that’s technical and reliable yet looks good – the perfect companion for today’s contemporary explorer. Tudor’s creative director, Davide Cerrato, explains, “The North Flag is aimed at active people with an acute sense of style, a desire to be different, uncompromising quality expectations and, of course, a taste for adventure.”
The North Flag in particular is meant for the planet’s extremes, for its coldest reaches studied by but not inhabited by man. It becomes a scientific instrument with great technical prowess containing Tudor’s first manufacture movement, which marks a new chapter in the brand’s history. Bringing the development and production of the beating heart of a fake watch in-house is a logical evolution and the first stage of Tudor’s industrial strategy to provide greater independence to the brand founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1926. Historically, its movements have always been sourced from Swiss suppliers, and the new in-house movement retains their high standards of reliability and precision.
The idea for Caliber MT5621, 33.8 mm in diameter and 6.5 mm thick, originated in 2010 and development began a year later. It features a bidirectional self-winding rotor system and a 70-hour power reserve, and is regulated by a variable inertia oscillator with silicon balance spring beating at a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz), secured by a traversing bridge fixed on both sides to enhance resistance to shocks and vibrations. Mirroring the watch’s rugged esthetic, the movement’s finishing is mainly brushed and sand-blasted, while the screws on the rotor, mainplate and escapement bridge are polished for contrast.
Tudor has also replaced the ETA 2824 caliber powering its Pelagos high-tech diving model with the brand-new in-house movement (in a slightly different version without the power reserve), with only a small price increase despite the switch, giving watch collectors good reason to smile. Marking other milestones for the brand, the North Flag is also equipped with Tudor’s first-ever sapphire caseback – all the better to showcase the new movement inside – and is the very first Tudor Replica Watch to attain Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) certification for accuracy, important in the sense that it gives the movement an independent appreciation of quality and calling to mind the fact that every Rolex caliber is COSC certified.
Cerrato elaborates, “Creating our own in-house movement was the next logical step in the brand development process. This element not only provides us with freedom for future developments, but also allows the brand to express even inside the rolex replica watch its unique philosophy and to reach the level of performance that ultimate tool replica watches need to provide to contemporary adventurers. The North Flag line has been created with the objective of highlighting this achievement (by the way, this is exactly what ‘flagging’ means) and creating a new Tudor technical edge. The new Tudor manufacture movement is reliable, precise and robust. It has a precision of +/-3 seconds per day, which is unique in our category and allows us to have COSC certification, a silicon hair spring and a unique tool-like look with mat finishing, laser-engraved decorations and a monobloc tungsten oscillating weight. The choices of the technical characteristics of the movement have been made to make it a state-of-the-art future proof caliber for our market segment.”
Echoing this spirit of scientific instrumentation, the North Flag’s hybrid steel-ceramic external components were designed by the in-house Tudor replica style workshop to express on the outside the high level of technology and reliability found on the inside. Take for instance the selection of a case with integrated bracelet, a kind of construction with a highly qualitative feel that called for skilled modelling to achieve maximum ergonomics and clean, fluid lines. Cerrato remarks, “The objective was to create a dedicated line to highlight the technical power of the new fake Tudor manufacture caliber. It was decided very quickly to house it in the sport range, creating the ultimate tool replica watch. The Tudor Ranger II from 1973 was taken as reference for its technical look and extreme readability of the dial, then the integrated lugs concept was injected. Around the same time, the incredible story and documents about the British North Greenland Expedition surfaced, showing how much the brand has always cared about extreme testing and total reliability of its replica watches. The link with the North Flag was evident.”
One of the main difficulties in the creation of the timepiece lay in its rather unusual construction, which is a combination of a satin-finished brushed stainless steel case and a steel-ceramic “double bezel”. Cerrato discloses, “Ceramic is not a flexible material so you have to find ways to ‘attach’ it to another material. In this case, the ceramic bezel is blocked between the case middle and the upper stainless steel bezel.” The watch’s mat black technical dial design with white luminescent hour and minute hands, yellow direct-drive second hand, white hour markers and black flange with yellow markings for the five-minute intervals alludes to Tudor’s history, specifically to the brand’s collaboration with the British North Greenland Expedition in 1952 and 1953, where all its members had Tudor Oyster Prince swiss replica watches strapped to their wrists while carrying out a series of experiments in extremely hostile conditions. Their watches thereby transformed into important scientific instruments whose reliability was critical to life on-site. Cerrato notes, “At that time, machines for testing products simulating real conditions didn’t exist and our founder, Hans Wilsdorf, was a visionary in providing real replica watches in real conditions to expose them to the limits of their functionality and robustness. There is no direct link in design between these watches and the North Flag. The link is between the polar environment (the origin of the name ‘North Flag’), the testing approach and the tool watch nature of the new model.”
The 1973 Tudor Prince Oysterdate Ranger II Ref. 9111/0 was the brand’s first so-called integrated design (where the bracelet is integrated into the case) powered by an ETA 2784 movement. Today, this type of integrated design is widely used in the watchmaking industry, but back in 1970, when Swiss Rolex first introduced it (shortly followed by AP in 1972 and Tudor in 1973), it was rather unusual. Introducing this type of esthetic as early as 1973 in its Ranger II model therefore put Tudor replica at the vanguard in terms of watchmaking design. An important timepiece in the history of the brand, the 1952 Tudor Oyster Prince Ref. 7808 marked the first time a Tudor watch had both a waterproof case and an automatic movement, making it technically superior at the time. The movement was the Fleurier 390 exclusively used by fake Tudor, and it equipped a large part of the brand’s offering until the end of the 1960s. Rugged and robust as well, Hans Wilsdorf decided to put it to the test in extreme conditions by sending examples to Greenland with the British North Greenland Expedition.
As a mat appearance is especially dear to Tudor, the North Flag’s case is angular and satin-finished, which gives an extremely “scientific” feel, softened by a very light curvature of its upper face, while the angle between its sides and lower face is cut by a polished bevel. The screw-down winding crown follows the same logic: it is of a generous size to ensure good ergonomics, while lightened by its conical shape. Featuring circular satin finishes, the bezel is composed of two complementary elements that match perfectly: mat black ceramic on the side and brushed steel on the upper face to reinforce the general technical esthetic. Echoing its exterior, the MT5621 movement also showcases mat finishes to highlight its high-tech, precise and reliable qualities through large surfaces that have been sand-blasted or sunray-brushed and an open-worked central rotor.
Cerrato says, “All our sport technical replica watches uk – so-called tool watches – have a mat finishing as a key design character. This means that you are going to ‘read’ the style of the watch not by the contrast of colors, finishing or graphics, but by pure volumes in the plastic sense. This conveys great strength in terms of design and translates sharply the tool-like, robust, resistant and bold character of the replica watch and somewhere its purpose, the reason why it was created in the beginning. We only use real technical materials (titanium or high-tech ceramic) and on top of them, the mat treatment reveals their pure nature. Another reason for this choice is to provide the best readability under any condition. The North Flag sits absolutely in this logic with great visibility of its hands and indexes, a sharp, brushed and robust technical case and a ceramic ring enhancing its bold bezel. Even the leather strap is mat treated with a unique technical texture developed specifically for us.”
Tudor’s collections are based on two key cornerstones: heritage and technology. always with an experimental dimension in terms of materials and innovation, and a shared esthetic language, largely through an entirely mat finish in the shape of brushed case middles, sandblasted details and mat colors, all to reinforce a functional and technological feel. Cerrato explains this blend of history and modernity, “Tudor was relaunched in 2007. In this process, we believe that leveraging our own design DNA from our rich history is fundamental. We have conceptualized a unique reinterpretation approach, which has proven its effectiveness these last six years and has even generated the dedicated product line Heritage. In this process, the balanced mix between faithful references to original elements and the injection of contemporary design statements generates new timeless and iconic timepieces.” Available on a satin-finished solid steel bracelet with polished inter-link surfaces, or a mat black calf leather strap structured with yellow top-stitching and lining, the North Flag retails for $136 (steel bracelet) or $145 (leather strap).