When Tudor first teased this release, it tied the watch to the British North Greenland Expedition (BNGE) that first started way back in 1952. The timing of that expedition was fortuitous, given that Tudor had released its then new Tudor Oyster Prince, which allowed the brand to issue them to 25 men on this adventure. While it was meant to be a limit testing move by the brand, it was also surely done with a marketing connection in mind, since it allowed Tudor to run ads like “The Tudor Oyster Prince roughs it in Greenland”. Clearly, that marketing foresight is still paying dividends today with the brand’s latest release, the Tudor Ranger.
Though the release of the Ranger is tied back to the BNGE, its model name and design takes after a watch released much later, in 1967, the Tudor Ranger ref. 7995. While the Ranger’s roots can certainly be traced back to the Oyster Prince, it was also very much the brand’s version of the Rolex Explorer. Perhaps it was the lack of specific a landmark event or expedition tied to the Ranger, or the fact that the Ranger collection never had as singular an identity as the Rolex Explorer, that Tudor has opted to tie the Ranger 79950 to the BNGE. Regardless, the Ranger is fully deserving of the rugged plaudits that it gets from the association.
Interestingly, this latest release is not Tudor’s first go at a modern Ranger, nor its first go at a BNGE related modern watch. For those who do not know, Tudor first launched a modern Ranger back in 2014, the ref. 79910. A year later, it launched the quirky North Flag, which took its design inspiration from the now vintage Ranger II. Unfortunately, those two watches did not gain the same traction that the Black Bay line got. The Ranger 79910 was too large for a time only watch especially with its thin fixed bezel, and the lack of a properly integrating steel bracelet made it feel like it was a bit of an afterthought by the brand. The North Flag on the other hand, was daring and bold, but Tudor fans had by then been perhaps too conditioned by the vintage inspired aesthetics of the Black Bay line. It was also bulkier than it should have been. Tudor seems to have learnt its lesson though, because it has designed this watch to give it a far better shot at success. Let’s get into it.
Design & Watch Specifications
Steel, 39mm x 11.9mm case, 3-6-9-12 dial with bar indices, 100m water resistant, steel bracelet (with integrated endlinks)/hybrid leather & rubber strap/green fabric strap with red & beige stripes, time only
It only takes a single glance at the Ranger 79950 to recognise it as a Ranger. After all it carries the same 3-6-9-12 dial that the traditional 7995 had and comes paired with the same arrow head hour marker. While this dial may not be as iconic as the Explorer 3-6-9 dial, it is a hallmark in its own right. The Ranger 79950 also splits the difference between the use of colour on the 2014 79910 and the absence of it on the vintage 7995, with just the tip of the seconds hand painted red. It’s a shame that Tudor didn’t use the ceramic block indices that the Black Bay Pro has on this watch though, since that would’ve allowed for a nice balance between modern functionality and vintage aesthetics. Still, painted numerals do a good enough job for this not to be a major issue.
The dial also steers clear of something the brand has at times failed at, too much text on the dial (looking at you, Pelagos). There is the usual Tudor Geneve and crest at 12 o’clock but at 6 o’clock, the brand has opted to leave out anything besides the simple word “Ranger”. Strangely, the result is a dial that seems like it has a tad too much empty space in the centre, though that might have more to do with the too-close placement of the word to the 6 numeral, and the Arabic numerals all being too close to the minute track. Perhaps seeing the watch in the metal would change my perspective on that. Either way, it isn’t a deal breaker though, since there is a lot to like about the watch.
One of those things is the new proportions which are more elegant than the 2014 version. At 39mm x 11.9mm, this watch is unobtrusive, without being underwhelming. Do I wish it was 36mm? But 39mm is extremely versatile too. With an all brushed case, the Ranger 79950 takes to the “Go Anywhere, Do Anything” philosophy extremely well, certainly far better than the 2014 iteration. This is further aided by the inclusion of an integrated endlink bracelet, which makes the watch feel far more complete. It this day and age, it seems odd to point out something as basic as that, but that is a testament to the failings of the Ranger 79910. The T-Fit clasp is definitely modern though. It was a feature I loved on the Tudor Black Bay Pro, and it will add a ton of functionality to this watch which seems appropriate for an out and out tool watch like this. Collectively, this would probably make for the most comfortable modern Tudor tool watch, that comes with all the brand’s latest bells and whistles. Of course, if you prefer, you can always get this on a hybrid leather & rubber strap, or a green fabric strap with a red & beige centre line, but why wouldn’t you get it first on a bracelet? In my opinion any way.
Calibre MT5402, 70 hours power reserve, 4Hz, COSC certified, internally regulated to -2/+4s per day accuracy, silicon hairspring
The watch doesn’t utilise the most advanced movement that the brand has to offer, since it doesn’t come with METAS certification, but the in-house calibre MT504 is well capable to hold its own. It gives you all the specifications you might need like a 70 hour power reserve, relatively good accuracy and antimagnetic capabilities, no more no less. In essence it bears the same no nonsense personality that you would expect from the Ranger.
Price & Availability (Expected)
US$3,050 (bracelet)/US$2,725 (either strap), Regular Production – Expect a waitlist though
Like all Tudor watches, this watch offers tremendous value. You would be hard pressed to find a watch that sits in this category, that has all the features this has, and the brand heritage to go along for less. And as overrated as some may claim heritage is, to me, it important since that heritage usually comes with enthralling stories of the days of yore.
Overall, this watch is a great release from Tudor. Does it reinvent the wheel, design wise? No it doesn’t. Does it build on the quirky innovation of the brilliant North Flag from 2015? No it doesn’t. But it is unfair to hold a watch accountable for what we want it to be. Instead, we should look at the Ranger 79950 for what it is; a solid, no-nonsense comfortable utilitarian watch, that you can slip on the wrist and never worry about, with just enough vintage charm to keep from ever becoming boring.