While most of us might know Tudor (at least its modern side) for the countless editions of the Black Bay, the brand has far more to offer… And that, for its historical or modern collections. If you recall, in 2014 Tudor paid tribute to its involvement into exploration, by bringing back an important model, the Ranger. A robust, no-nonsense instrument made for adventure, it came back modernized with an oversized case but the same overall spirit. The Tudor Ranger has since been discontinued, but today it’s back with multiple evolutions, making it a far stronger offering. 39mm in size, equipped with a chronometer movement and some tricks under its sleeve, here’s the new 2022 Tudor Ranger 79950.
Tudor, Exploration and the BNGE
Rolex is known by many for its connection with exploration, as of the 1930s, including testing watches on Himalayan expeditions. The peak of this story occurred with Sir Edmund Hillary and expedition partner Tenzing Norgay, when they summit Mount Everest in 1953. This led the brand to the creation of an important model, the Explorer. Born in 1953, the Explorer with its no-nonsense design, its robustness and its iconic 3-6-9 dial, is the epitome of the exploration/adventure watch.
Rolex wasn’t the only brand of the “Rolex Group” to be involved in such expeditions. In fact, even before Rolex participated in peaking Mount Everest, sister-company Tudor was associated with another important expedition, the British North Greenland Expedition. Lasting from 1952 to 1954, about 30 men were sent to the Great North, in Greenland, in a station codenamed North Ice. The goal was to carry out scientific studies in glaciology, meteorology, geology and physiology, and to investigate and record the terrain. Seismological and gravitational research was also carried out.
On the wrist of these men were newly-introduced Tudor Oyster Prince wristwatches – 26 watches were issued in total, under the reference 7909. These white dial watches, with a steel Oyster case of 34mm and a self-winding movement inside, have for the most part been lost to history. The watches had to be tested, with the timing data logged by each wearer. Today, one of the watches is still in existence and some historical documents, including a letter received by Rolex from one of the other expedition members, retraces the story of the Tudor watches issued to the members of the British North Greenland Expedition.
The Tudor Ranger, and its evolution
The history of the Tudor Ranger is a topic that we’re explored extensively in the past, in this article here. Following the BNGE and the issued Tudor Oyster Prince models, the brand decided to bring an exploration/adventure watch to a wider audience, in the same vein as Rolex did with the Explorer. In short, the Ranger was the accessible version of Rolex’s watch.
What we’re looking at, mostly with the emblematic and early references 7965 and 7995, is an instrument-like steel watch, with a 34mm Oyster case, a no-date display, an automatic movement and a dial that will certainly feel familiar to some. This matte black dial was indeed fitted with Arabic numerals, in the same vein as the Explorer, however in a 12-3-6-9 configuration. The hands were also specific, with an arrow-shaped one for the hours, a syringe-shaped hand for the seconds and a standard baton for the minutes.
The history of the Tudor Ranger is quite complex. Tudor officially states that the Oyster Prince Ranger model was introduced in the 1960s and was first listed in the catalogue in 1969. It would remain available until 1988. There is no evidence still of an exact date of introduction (supposedly 1963). The problem is that the Ranger was not a specific reference in the collection, but shared its serial numbers with other, non-Explorer-like editions, such as standard Oyster Prince watches. in fact, these watches were the same, just differentiated by the dial and hands used. Thus, there are multiple references allowed for the Ranger, such as 7964, 7965, 7966, 7990, 7992, 7995, 7996, 90330 or 90220 – depending on the presence of a date or not. It was only in the early 1980s that the Tudor Ranger became a model on its own – with references 90330 and 90220 – until the model was discontinued in 1988.
Also note that there’s been a Ranger II in the collection, launched in the 1970s, with a highly original design. This watch was the inspiration for the now-discontinued Tudor North Flag.
Regarding the classic Ranger and its emblematic dial, Tudor brought back the model in 2014, with this very watch, the Tudor Heritage Ranger 79910. Measuring 41mm in diameter and being fairly modernized regarding the design, it was equipped with an outsourced ETA movement. The main connection between present and past was the dial, with the signature 12-3-6-9 painted Arabic numerals over a matte black surface, the arrow-shaped hour hand, the fully red-coated syringe seconds hand and the overall no-nonsense, toolwatch feel of the watch. It was available on various straps and bracelets, including a steel bracelet with straight end-links and a light brown “Bund” strap. Importantly, there was no Ranger mention on the dial, but a smiley-face Self-Winding indication at 6 o’clock and the classic Rose logo at 12 o’clock. The model would be discontinued in mid-2020, without being replaced… until now.
The New Tudor Ranger 39mm ref. 79950
The new Tudor Ranger isn’t properly a revolution, yet many things have changed, to the point where it actually is a truly new watch. This is, once again, the brand’s vision of a toolwatch made for adventure. No frills, no additional functions, no external bezel, just a plain simple and ultra-focused watch to resist most conditions.
The first thing to note about the new Tudor Ranger is its new case. Modelled after what’s found on the Black Bay 58, for instance, it now measures 39mm in diameter and approximately (even though not yet indicated) around 11mm in height. The case, for an true instrumental look, is entirely satin-finished, including the lateral bevel that runs from one lug to another. The same finish can be found on the smooth bezel that framed a domed sapphire crystal, yet a thin polished accent can be found on its periphery. The case will feel entirely familiar to those accustomed to a BB58, as it shares the same overall shape and design – minus the rotating bezel, of course.
Other elements of the case are also in line with traditional Tudor watches. The caseback is solid steel and screwed. The crown, equipped with the historical Rose logo, is large and finely fluted and also screws down to guarantee a comfortable 100m water-resistance. And with this 39mm diameter and style in mind, you’ll see that the brand somehow offers an alternative to those who preferred the old Explorer 39mm…
Looking at the dial of this new Tudor Ranger 39mm 79950, you’ll immediately see the connection with the vintage Ranger models, as well as the resemblance with the previous generation of this watch. The dial is matte black, with a finely grained texture. It still relies on the classic Arabic numerals at 12-3-6-9 and baton markers for the 5-minute indications. The hands are also in line with vintage versions of this watch, with a combination of arrow shape for the hours, baton for the minutes (yet with an elongated pointy tip) and a syringe tip, which is luminous, for the seconds. All printings are rendered in beige, enhancing the retro feel of this watch and adding a. bit of charm.
A few things have changed with the new 2022 Tudor Ranger. First of all, now only the tip of the seconds hand is red-coloured (it used to be the entire hand). Then, the “smiley face” at 6 o’clock has been removed and only the Ranger name can be seen. Finally, the logo of the brand is the modern Shield. Now, looking at the watch, you’ll see that is partially corrects one of the flows of the previous generation. Large time-only watches often have a rather sterile, empty dial and the more compact size as well as the larger bezel makes it more balance overall. Keeping the tradition of toolwatches, the Ranger sticks to a no-date display.
Inside the case is the other main novelty of this 2022 Ranger, the manufacture Calibre MT5402. Previously powered by an ETA-sourced movement, the Ranger now relies on the same movement as the Black Bay 58, and thus benefits from a strong mechanical upgrade as well as more precision, the movement being chronometer-certified by the COSC. The Kenissi-made movement is automatic, with bidirectional winding and a transversal balance bridge for robustness. It features an antimagnetic silicon hairspring and stores up to 70h of power reserve.
The Tudor Ranger 39mm is still offered on multiple bracelets and straps. First is a classic Oyster-style, non-riveted steel bracelet with fully brushed surfaces. It now comes with classic end-links and is fitted with the brand’s new folding clasp, equipped with the T-fit rapid adjustment system. Also, you can choose a textile Jacquard strap in olive green with two red stripes and one beige stripe, or a more modern strap in a combination of rubber and textured leather, closed by a folding clasp.
Availability & Price
The 2022 Tudor Ranger 39mm reference 79950 will soon be available from retailers and boutiques, and will be part of the permanent collection. It is quite aggressively priced, starting from EUR 2,560 or CHF 2,600 on one of the straps and EUR 2,860 or CHF 2,900 on the steel bracelet. It comes with Tudor’s five-year guarantee.
For more details, please visit www.tudorwatch.com.
Here are some first exclusive live images (more to come later in a proper hands-on article)