We once knew that Tudor’s 2020 collections would be unveiled at Baselworld on April 30. Now we do not even know that.
What we do know, however, is that this year is the 50th anniversary of Tudor’s very first chronograph watch. And, given the fact that its communications team is already sending round reminders of the anniversary, it is reasonable to think that there will be a focus on wristwatches with stopwatches this year.
1970 was the year that Tudor’s original sporty chrono, the Oysterdate, was unveiled, housing the hand-wound mechanical Valjoux 7734 movement.
There were three versions created, but only two — both with tachymeter bezels — made it into production. The third, with a bidirectional rotating bezel with hour markers, never got past the prototype stage.
Tudor revived a prototype watch that never made it to market last year in the form of the Black Bay P01. Perhaps it will do the same this year with an Oysterdate with black ceramic bezel.
The first automatic chronograph came in 1976 with the launch of Prince Oysterdate watches using the Valjoux calibre 7750.
It was 1.5 mm thicker than earlier Oysterdates, and had its dial reconfigured so that the date was at 3’o’clock and three subdials were located at 12, 6 and 9.
The 1990s saw the introduction of the 79200 series in a more rounded case and the black and white colour combination more familiar to chronograph fans today. They were also tougher, particularly thanks to the introduction of sapphire crystal glass to protect the dial.
Heritage models harking back to earlier designs were re-introduced in 2010, the 40th anniversary, but the next big leap forward was in 2017 when Tudor made the Black Bay Chrono housing the manufacture chronograph MT5813 movement with silicon balance spring and a 70 hour power reserve (is it actually a derivative of the Breitling 01 calibre, but who’s splitting hairs?).
With steel on sports watches the hottest style on the market today, Tudor was always likely to add to its racy collection. With the chronograph marking its 50th anniversary, I would put that down as a racing certainty.