Since its return to the US market, Tudor has been on a roll with a string of retro-inspired hits like the Heritage Chronograph, Black Bay and Ranger, all darlings of the watch-collector crowd. But up until this past year, the Geneva-based brand has been a victim of its own success and pedigree. Long seen as the affordable offspring of the luxury juggernaut Rolex, Tudor was expected to continue trotting out winning pieces inspired by its archive of classics. So when the curtain went up at BaselWorld 2015, revealing the North Flag, with its fresh, modern design and the brand’s first-ever in-house movement, little doubt was left about Tudor’s direction: steadfastly forward, and out of Rolex’s shadow.
The North Flag is an embodiment of Tudor Watch circa 2015. Though it can trace a thread back to the 1970s Ranger II with its blocky Arabic numerals and integrated bracelet, its minimalist angular case, splash of dial color and optional textile strap are distinctly millennial. While Tudor’s Heritage watches hearken back to those iconic timepieces of Kodachrome-captured National Geographic explorers, the North Flag is all GoPro Mountain Games, a tough watch that can survive a kayak drop off a 50-foot waterfall and look good on Instagram doing it.
While the North Flag’s aesthetics are enough to make people take notice, it’s what is under the hood that really makes a statement of Tudor’s intentions. In the past, the formula of a Tudor watch was to use Rolex-derived cases and then make them affordable by fitting them with outsourced movements. No more. The calibre MT5621 is Tudor’s first fully in-house developed movement, a chronometer-certified self-winding motor with over 70 hours of autonomy and an anti-magnetic hairspring, finished with an unfussy minimalism. No doubt this movement will trickle down into other timepieces in the future, both new and vintage-inspired. But Tudor made a statement by first fitting it in the North Flag, a watch that represents the future of Tudor: confident, modern, adventurous and independent. Consider the flag planted.
Movement: Self-winding mechanical calibre MT5621
Case: 40mm stainless steel
Water resistance: 100m
Functions: Time and date plus power reserve
Strap: Black textile and steel bracelet