So TimeCaptain bought himself a brand new timepiece. Again. After months of deliberation, he made an acquisition.
And the new timepiece is… A Tudor Fastrider Chronograph. And here is the story.
My friends at WatchPaper asked me to blog about this latest acquisition in order to show the process, rationale and motivation behind the purchase of a new piece. So here goes.
In my first blog, I wrote about my first obsession in life – Formula 1 racing and motor sports. I also wrote about the strong link between watches, cars and racing. I guess it was inevitable that I would want a real motor-racing-inspired timepiece one day- something with some links to a racing team or a racing series. Enter the Tudor Fastrider Chronograph.
Tudor launched the Fastrider line of watches to celebrate their timekeeping partnership with the Ducati motorcycle racing team. It’s not F1, but how cool is that? You’ve got a classic watchmaker teamed up with a classic motorcycle racing team and this inspired a sensational racing chronograph. Yes! I have added a photo of my own Fastrider, but check online for photos and specs of all the various models and variations. So far, we’ve ticked a couple of boxes.
The piece itself? I have written about my taste for oversize pieces, but the Fastrider is only 42mm. Nevertheless, it sits very large on the wrist with a good height and a chunky feel. My real watch snob friends always tell me that 42mm is ideal – it won’t become outdated when the oversize fad dies and it’s large enough to be impressive. I went for the steel strap- partly because I am fed up of changing straps all the time and I like the “dressier” look of the steel strap. The Tudor bracelet is great, if you ask me. It’s quite beefy and looks nice with a suit as well as with short sleeves.
The Fastrider uses Tudor calibre 7753 based on the ETA Valjoux 7753 movement. This is not a super high end manufacture movement, but it is a well-respected chronograph movement. I thought it was very adequate for my racing piece.
OK, so we have a real motor racing association, a racy design with beautiful features and a great steel bracelelt. But what about the BRAND? What about Tudor? I have blogged several times about the importance of the BRAND when choosing a timepiece. After all, when you buy a piece, you are buying the BRAND and its style, image and values. So what about Tudor?
Tudor is the sister brand to Rolex. After a 17-year absence, Tudor has now returned to the U.S., although Tudor watches have been available in Canada already. Rolex was founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and became known for exceptional quality and reliability as well as precision. In 1946, the same Hans Wilsdorf founded Tudor, which was named after the British Royal Family.
Tudor was created because Wilsdorf wanted to offer watches at a more reasonable price than Rolex, but which also delivered the same level of reliability. Remember- back in the 1940’s and 1950’s, people really did DEPEND on mechanical timepieces. So you see, from the very beginning, Tudor aimed to build “reasonably priced” watches. And perhaps this was Tudor’s “problem” with its image – prestige. One of my watch snob friends refers to Tudor as “Rolex’s poor cousin” and Tudor is sometimes known as “the poor man’s Rolex” or “the working man’s Rolex.” But what’s wrong with value? What’s wrong with quality at a reasonable price? Just as my Fastride too, Tudor watches always used movements supplied by ETA SA, resulting in more affordable watches with accurate movements.
Tudor actually built up a cult following over the decades with classic diving watches. And some different military groups used Tudor watches over the years. Tudor watches were also used on some famous expeditions in the 1950’s. So, while Tudor was always classed as Rolex’s poor cousin, the brand built up its own history and accomplishments. Today, Rolex is paying more attention to Tudor’s brand position and is marketing Tudor to a younger crowd. Tudor are making the sporty watches that Rolex won’t sell, such as my Fastrider. So really, Tudor is more “me” than Rolex.
Based on all of this “analysis,” I felt that Tudor was a suitable brand for me. Is it Hublot? Is it Blancpain? Is it IWC? No. But it’s nowhere near those prices, either. In Tudor, I found a brand with history and tradition that is now making the sportier watches that I like. And this was the last piece in the Fastrider puzzle.
And there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this blog. Happy shopping.