People often overlook the Tudor Ranger and its qualities. Tudor, being the little brother of Rolex, easily garnered attention among the collecting and professional circle. You may be more familiar with the Tudor Heritage Chronograph or the Tudor Black Bay. Both watches have endured their times being number one, not only for the brand but for their respective categories in general. These are amazing watches themselves, but there’s something about the humble Tudor Ranger that makes it a true classic.
No, you won’t find any record-breaking or historic moment anchored with it. No deep seas, high mountains, or never-travelled-before routes, but it surely has its merits. The Tudor Ranger is more than just a tool watch. It’s an everyday piece with an appeal and aesthetic that not all watches can carry. We all know how some watches simply like to serve a certain purpose. For instance, the Rolex Submariner functions mainly as a dive watch. You may not find the same features from such a powerful and expensive watch, but its simplicity is what people vie for in the Tudor Ranger.
Technology is so advanced now that manufacturers of cars, watches and even furniture can stress test their products by recreating the most extreme and challenging environments within the comfort of their testing facilities. Look back 70 years, however, and things were very different. Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex and Tudor, pioneered the use of what he termed testimonees to wear the watches when undertaking challenging endeavors. Cross-channel swims, exploring Everest and military conflict were all endured by Oyster watches, and the feedback obtained was key in the development of the watches. One such expedition led to the development of one of Tudor’s most enduring lines, the Ranger.
In July of 1952, Commander James Simpson of the British Royal Navy led a group of scientists and military personnel on a mission to Northern Greenland. This mission, known as the British North Greenland Expedition (or BNGE) involved conducting seismological and gravimetric surveys. Additionally, a number of scientific studies in geology, meteorology, physiology, and glaciology were also carried out. The mission took place over a period of two years and claimed the life of one of the men involved. Of the 30 men who participated, 26 were equipped with Tudor Oyster-Prince wristwatches. During their stay in Northern Greenland, they used BBC radio signals to keep track of the accuracy of these timepieces.
Today, Tudor sets its sights back on the adventuring spirit of 1952. The brand uses the inspiring tale of the icy expedition that surrounds those watches as spiritual inspiration for the new Ranger. Announced this afternoon in London, this latest Tudor watch is sure to cause a stir amongst Tudor fans. Whether it’s a welcome return or not, however, is yet to be seen. The new Tudor Ranger watch takes early 1960s design and charm, a pinch of Tudor and Rolex DNA, and wraps it up in a conveniently wearable 39mm package. But before I jump into the key details about the watch, let’s go back to earlier this week.