Whilst I would argue that this is a watch for any discerning horologist with an interest in alarm watches, or simply anyone who enjoys well-made complicated watches (and isn’t looking for your standard chronograph), there are certain professions and use cases which spring to mind for this model. As an Tudor Heritage Advisor Replica, the watch comes into its own when needing to keep to a schedule. For example, when travelling, moving between meetings, giving lectures or perhaps to be alerted to the timing of your next operation.
It is a complicated watch that is designed to be worn regularly which makes it the perfect ‘work watch’ in my view. I have enjoyed business travel with it, especially when abroad in other time zones, and it has been useful for keeping to time in environments where phones or electronics are not present.
It would suit a range of occupations, but even on the bracelet it is clearly more dressy than sporty. It would be a perfect watch for a black-tie event (especially on the alligator strap) or for attending an interview.
As much as I love the Heritage Advisor it is not a perfect watch and there are a few considerations to be aware of.
Firstly, the size – although it fits well, I think it would appeal to a wider audience and be closer to its roots at 39-40mm. However, in practice it doesn’t feel too big and the increased size compared to the original Advisor makes sense when in use – ensuring readability of the date and alarm tracks. The increased size also gives the dial prominence and better proportionality with the new date subdial. The black dial variant appears a little smaller on the wrist because of the darker colour. A slimmer case would be appreciated but it doesn’t feel unduly thick or slab like.
One functional constraint, as a consequence of the introduction of the large date subdial (which intersects a portion the inner minute track), is that you cannot read the inner minute track precisely between 23 and 37 past the hour. This does not impact on the ability to set the alarm (where you use the outer track) but it does mean that should you wish to hack the second hand and set the time between 23 and 37 past the hour, it is less easy to be precise and you have to use the 5 minute markers during this period. Another, possibly petty point, is that the alarm hand is not lumed, which would be useful when checking the watch at night or in dark environments.
The alarm pusher is another design choice that not everyone will enjoy. Ideally, I would have preferred it to have been less prominent although I have to admit it is very ergonomic and makes operating the alarm very simple. It also adds to the unique character of the watch. The crowns are not screw down which is understandable given the style of watch, however I would have preferred the extra peace of mind for water resistance. One other design change I would have preferred for the alarm indicator window would be to change the ‘ON’ text to red (while keeping the ‘OFF’ text to black). This would visually align the indicator to the red alarm hand and red power indicator to further cohere the design.
The bracelet, although very comfortable and robust, lacks any kind of on the fly clasp adjustment (no easylink or glidelock here) and only has 3 micro-adjust holes on the clasp (in common with the Black Bays). There are no half links on the bracelet. This limits sizing a little and I would have preferred 4 micro-adjust holes spaced a little less far apart. Lastly, I think the design and style of the Heritage Advisor would be better suited to a bracelet with polished centre links. This would have further complimented the other polished surfaces and the dressy style of the watch while also differentiating it in the lineup.
One thing many people would no doubt want to change is the price. At £4695 on the bracelet or £4490 on the alligator, it is one of the more expensive Tudor offerings and significantly above the steel Black Bays. Because it is a less hyped watch it is possible to buy new for under retail. Some people may be cautious at this price because of the ETA movement specification, however, as discussed above, this is a customised movement with an in-house alarm module. For me, the question is about value for money and uniqueness. There are very few alarm watches anywhere near this price point. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox is £10,300 and the more affordable Vulcain Cricket is probably the closest competitor starting at around £4000. I believe that the Heritage Advisor is an attractive proposition at current market prices, especially when you consider the quality, heritage, and execution of the piece.
Reviewing watches is inherently subjective and despite the rather definitive BLUF (see last bullet), the reality is that there are some watches that you connect with for reasons that are hard to quantify. For me, my enthusiasm for the Advisor is an emotional connection just as much as it is about a rational appreciation. I am an advisor in my day job and no doubt that is another reason for the connection, but I do think the design and function of the watch, combined with the Tudor heritage, make this a very compelling piece. The fact it is often overlooked in the range also gives it a kind of ‘best-kept secret’ appeal. Then again, perhaps for all its history, rarity, and clever features, I simply like the way it looks on my wrist. The Advisor may not be as immediately masculine as the Black Bays, but it makes up with sophistication and rarity – the connoisseur’s Tudor Heritage Advisor Replica perhaps.
There is also something about a mechanical alarm that catalyses my love for mechanical watches more generally. It may be because the Tudor Heritage Advisor Replica is in stark contrast to the digital, ‘quantified self’, tech driven, smartphone centric culture we now live in, that it has a certain simple charm. It is not a digital assistant, it is a mechanical analogue advisor – a more human antidote, perhaps, to the ever-present Alexa/Siri. It is a connection to the past on my wrist, wrapped up in a brilliant modern timepiece. This is a watch that rewards attention to detail and increases the wearers appreciation over time. The watch has many elements and subtleties that are not immediately obvious (it took me a while to realise I could use the inner track as well as the outer track to set the alarm – like the vintage piece – which came like a revelation!). And, like a well-produced music album that reveals new sonic layers and melodies with each new listen, the Heritage Advisor draws you back time and time again.
After finishing this review, I became aware that there is currently very little stock in the UK. It appears likely that this watch is being discontinued (along with the rumoured discontinuation of the North Flag, Heritage Chrono and Heritage Ranger). I would advise anyone interested in this watch, if they cannot find stock at an authorised dealer, to buy new/unworn from well-known grey dealers or to consider pre-owned from large authorised dealers (who often provide 2-year warranties) while this amazing watch is still available at reasonable prices.