The return of the Big Crown ... even if it's on a Tudor
One of the few (unofficial or sponsored you decide) leaks for the upcoming BaselWorld 2012 comes to us from no other then Tudor. I could have just chalked this one up to the prevailing trend of other companies digging into their history coffers for ideas to bring yet another Tribute unless I was so excited to see an old friend coming back. (Again kudos to Jaeger-LeCoultre for starting this trend & always doing it the right way but then again I am biased)
So what's the lowdown on this new Tudor Heritage aka Black Bay Ref. 79220R. The specs reported are as follows: larger 41mm steel case (I'm fine with slight increase), 8mm Big Crown (anything Big Crown is Godly in my book), Gilt dial(looks lovely on the rendering), Snowflake (not at all period correct as they are from 1970's Tudors and God awful style wise) hands, Convex glass (I hope this means its not sapphire cause Plexi is Sexy), automatic mechanical movement, on bracelet or leather strap with folding clasp, additional fabric strap with buckle. OK so not everything is executed and as period correct to call it a proper Tribute as I would have liked (namely those garish snowflake hands which would be first to go then that red bezel insert which is unknown in vintage world), but all in all from what I see here it looks OK. Also compared to Rolex recent re-designs of their staple classics I would say I prefer this exercise in revisiting this old vintage friend (faults and all).
Comparing this Heritage to a true Vintage (as apples to apples) we simply can't do in all seriousness, especially when considering that last years Tudor Heritage Chrono was a very nice modern update of vintage Monte Carlo all while being priced at extremely affordable 3,000 Euro. I am expecting pretty much the same strategy with this Reference 79220R.
The earliest Submariner found in the Tudor family is the Reference 7922. The 7922 is a special watch as it would seem that both the Tudor Ref. 7922 Submariner and the Rolex Ref 6538 Submariner were introduced at the same time and indicate a simultaneous roll-out of the two models side by side. Also note that the Rolex and Tudor serial # ranges of the mid 1950's are almost identical.
The 7922 sports a 8mm Brevet "+" crown as does the Rolex 6538. The dial layout and hands are similar in styling, fonts and shape, to that of the Rolex 6538. Note the 100m dial vs. 200m dials is a difference between them but most likely the dials started out as 100m dials and in the late 1950's the 200m dials were introduced. The bezels are usually fitted as bi-directional bezels with red triangle - similar to the Rolex variation. The movement is a cal. 390 Tudor movement. Originally produced by Fleurier.
This all brings us to an excuse to point out that they all are closely related to the vintage legend that is Rolex 6538 aka Big Crown.
Truly a collectors dream piece. Today one of the most desired, exclusive & highly valued timepieces of Rolex Submariner fame. The extreme similarity to Rolex 6538 only helped make Tudor 7922 a legend in its own right and soon we will be able to own a small piece of it in Tribute to that Heritage piece the new Tudor 79220R.