The story in a second:
The Tudor North Flag replica is the first Tudor with an in-house movement, the first with a sapphire caseback and the first you can put down on Friday and pick up on Monday still ticking. Boom.The North Flag represents the future of Tudor, as it forges new pieces to add to their Heritage collection. Having said that there’s a good dose of Ranger in the mix – particularly in the hands. The first thing I thought of when I saw the press shots of the North Flag was ‘Ranger II’. The Ranger II is a fairly obscure 1973 version of the original Ranger, using the same integrated lugs as the Rolex Oysterquartz.
Since 2012, Tudor have given the best Basel buzz. So when we received a mysterious invite to get a sneak peak at the new watch we weren’t entirely surprised when it started with a convoy of Defenders and ended with a smoke-filled tent and a bar stocked with vintage rum in the middle of the woods. All leaning towards the release of another Heritage piece. And that would follow, given they’ve had such success with the Heritage collection over the last three years. The Black Bay Red, the Black Bay Blue, the Ranger…
But we were headed in the wrong direction – after bumping through paddocks outside Basel, we ended up at the North Flag.
The North Flag is definitely not a heritage piece, even though it makes a few nods to the past. In fact, give it a casual glance and you’d be forgiven that best quality Tudor North Flag copy watch have released another sporty three-hander. Nothing special.
But the bright yellow power reserve disc should give you a hint, the dial text at six is a bigger clue. And flipping it over and seeing the unprecedented (for Tudor) sapphire caseback totally gives the game away. The North Flag is the first Tudor to be powered by an in-house movement.
For years the value proposition of Tudor has been Rolex relation, ETA movement, good design, very strong legacy game for those that cared to ask. The North Flag entirely changes this proposition. In fact it represents a significant change in Tudor’s strategic direction. In what Tudor describe as that “first stage in a major industrial strategy aiming to provide greater independence to the brand” the North Flag is powered by the in-house MT5621.
The MT5621 is impressive, particularly the 70 hours power reserve and silicon balance (which isn’t the same as the Rolex Syloxi silicon in case you were wondering), oh and the movement is COSC certified. The biggest news here is that meet the swiss Tudor replica have done very well to stay within their price-point – even with an in-house movement. No word on official Australian pricing yet, but on leather the watch will be 3,400 CHF (inc VAT), and 3,500 on a bracelet. That’s a good price for a whole lot of watch.
But the watch is more than the sum of its movement parts. There’s the style of it, too. Tudor have created the sort of watch they do best, a good-looking sports styled three hander. A watch that fits into the now customary fictional/aspirational universe of Tudor, where men wrestle wolves, speed across volcanic landscape, or, as appears to be the case with the North Flag, scale icy crevasses in the name of discovery.
The final point to make about the MT5621 movement is how it looks. It is finished fairly simply, which is in line with both the price and the strong tool watch vibe of the piece. But the movement design is well beyond utilitarian – note the interesting bridge architecture and a cut-out rotor. No wonder they broke with tradition to show it off with a sapphire caseback.
The North Flag is a very ‘now’ Tudor watch, and while not everyone will warm to the design, that’s somewhat missing the point. For Tudor to release an in-house movement is impressive, but to deliver such an impressive movement that is deliberately not a rebranded Rolex movement clearly demonstrates that Tudor are scaling up their independence in a big way.
Tudor North Flag Pricing
The North Flag will retail for 3400 CHF on leather and 3500 CHF on steel – including VAT. Australian pricing to follow.
|Case Material:||316L stainless steel, satin finish|
|Dial:||black, matt finish|
|Strap:||316L satin finished steel bracelet or black leather strap with yellow stitching and lining|
|Movement:||MT5621 manufacture movement, COSC certified, 70 hours power reserve, variable inertia balance and silicon balance spring|
|Functions:||Power reserve disc and instantaneous date|
|Bezel:||Double bezel in steel and matt black ceramic|