Legendary Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes And The Tudor North Flag With In-House Movement
by Simon Cudd
Burrells in Tunbridge Wells, Kent (UK) recently showcased the new Tudor releases from Baselworld 2015. However, a particularly pleasurable element of the event was the invited speaker: none other than Sir Ranulph Fiennes, a man the Guinness Book of World Records has called “the greatest living explorer.” Fiennes is also a marathon runner and an accomplished writer.
Despite having seen television interviews and read magazine articles about him in the past, I was in no way prepared for how this supremely interesting man would carry himself in the flesh.
Fiennes spoke articulately, humorously, and humbly for an hour, both wowing and at times shocking the one hundred plus invited guests gathered at Burrells to hear him tell, almost playfully, his stories about life at the extreme limits.
Photography on display − often humorous despite some of the subject matter − documented some of his exploration team’s injuries, including severe frostbite and what might be termed “bog foot” in addition to the various physical experiments in progress during the journey. These experiments included a weight trial that saw Fiennes’ own weight going from 95 kilograms (15 stone) down to 57 kilograms (9 stone) at the halfway point of an expedition due to measured caloric intake: was burning 9,000 calories daily while only taking in 5,500 calories.
Fiennes, an ambassador for American watch brand Kobold, is the first person to have reached both North and South Poles by land and the first to complete an exploration of Antarctica on foot.
He spoke fondly of Ginny, his late wife of 34 years, who was a solid part of his arctic exploration organization; his early days in the military and SAS; and his inspirations along the way.
Fiennes presented photographs taken along his trips, which on occasion shocked, while others made you laugh: from the sheer awesomeness of the Antarctic landscape depicting crevasses and breaks in the ice and the team’s frozen boat, which was only removed from the ice twelve years later, to the cardboard huts dropped by plane then erected onsite. The huts ended up withstanding more than -60°C and, not surprisingly, only had a twelve-month shelf life.
At 71 years of age, Fiennes certainly is an amazing man, one I am in awe of. However, he couldn’t have been more charming and down-to-earth, answering questions and signing copies of his new book Beyond the Limits: The Lessons Learned from a Lifetime’s Adventures.
During the event, the new Tudor Pelagos, Fastrider, and Black Flag models were on display for guests to view in the impressive modern store. Burrells has been established for 45 years in the beautiful spa town of Tunbridge Wells, located just a short distance from London. It carries jewelry and high-end watch brands such as Zenith and U.K. darling Bremont.
The Tudor North Flag with in-house movement
Swiss watch brand and Rolex little sister Tudor had some great offerings at Baselworld 2015, but the big news was that it has created its own in-house movement, which is due to roll out across some of the brand’s core range of watches in the forthcoming years. Apparently without a significant hike in price, so that’s more good news. This makes Tudor a very attractive offer for seasoned enthusiasts and newcomers to watches alike.
The North Flag is one of the first models to be fitted with the new Tudor MT5612 manufacture Swiss chronometer movement, featuring a non-magnetic silicon balance spring beating at 4Hz (28,000 vph). The caliber boasts a 70-hour power reserve and measures in at 33.8 x 6.5 mm.
This movement launches in a beautifully crafted stainless steel case outfitted with a ceramic bezel. The North Flag was also on display at Burrells with its adjustable steel bracelet, as well as the more interesting black leather strap with yellow stitched highlights. That cool retro feel and simplistic design reflects the 1970s and fits perfectly in the “sports watch” arena.
Greenland Expedition Watch
The name and design of the Tudor Black Flag draw inspiration from the British North Greenland Expedition of the early 1950s.
To heighten the theme of extreme exploration of Fiennes’ talk – it made good sense for Tudor to bring along its original Tudor Oyster Prince, one of only 26 watches supplied to the British North Greenland Expedition (BNGE) exploring the frozen wastelands of Greenland from 1952 through 1954. This watch is the sole surviving piece, which often performed in temperatures well below 0°C. Seeing it today is somewhat of an honor: it has endured the tests of both time and temperature.
This particular watch was worn by Major Desmond “Roy” Homard, who is now into his nineties. Homard maintained the expedition’s Studebaker Weasel vehicles, often in -50C° temperatures. Howard donated the watch back to Tudor, who confirmed that the engraving on the case back matches the brand’s records, making it an important piece of brand history.
The watch has the most amazing appearance and is an incredible mark of what the brand stands for in terms of quality and precision.
Burrells presented the Fastrider with its vibrant yellow, red, and green dials on that cool, padded black leather strap, which is a direct representation of a Ducati bike seat. Complementing the trio of Fastriders, Burrells brought in a bright yellow Ducati Scrambler.
Ducati boasts a continued allegiance with Tudor as of 2011. The two brands declare that they share the same brand values and a common approach to style.
Possibly my favorite offering from the brand this year, however, is the bright blue Pelagos model, which boasts an equally vibrant and color-coordinated rubber strap, making it quite possibly one of the sexiest dive watches in recent years.
Quick Facts Tudor North Flag
Case: 40 mm, stainless steel with ceramic bezel
Movement: automatic Caliber MT5621 with silicon balance spring and official C.O.S.C. certification
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, power reserve
Price: $3,550 on strap and $3,674 on bracelet