Tudor Ranger; A Fantastic – And Relatively Affordable – Alternative to Rolex
by Martin Green
For decades, Tudor was seen as Rolex’s little sibling. That was a pity as Tudor has always had quite a few unique treats to make it appealing on its own. Since the new millennium, Tudor is shining with great watches, excellent marketing, and an extensive revamp of its collection, much of which is emphasizing its own rich history. With the introduction of manufacture movements, the times have long gone since a Tudor could be considered a ‘Rolex light,’ like a soda with artificial sugar.
Inspired by its predecessors, the design of the Tudor Ranger is pleasantly uncomplicated. Smooth bezel, black dial, Arabic numerals on four positions with markers on the rest, and all topped off by a domed sapphire crystal. The crown is screw down, ensuring water resistance up to 100 meters. This straightforward approach gives the Tudor Ranger a very likable look, but also one that ages very well.
It has a timeless quality that some might look upon as being too plain but has a deeper charisma that reveals itself over time. At 39mm, the Ranger is neither too large or too small. It is a very balanced design, in which much of the flavor comes from the hands, and in particular, the red tip of the seconds hand. Tudor earns extra credit for keeping the writing on the dial to an absolute minimum, giving it a sense of purity.
The time that an ETA movement powered a Tudor is long gone. Inside the Ranger ticks a manufacture movement, and an impressive one as well. Caliber MT5402 is as robust as its case. In all honesty, it is not the prettiest movement, as there is more of a focus on getting the job done. See it as the Landrover Defender of movements, and you will understand it.
A full bridge holds the variable-inertia balance firmly in place, ensuring precise performance even under difficult circumstances. The Chronometer certification of this movement underscores this. A 70-hour power reserve highlights that this is a modern movement. Like true engine, and a true tool watch, Tudor hides the movement behind a closed caseback, letting it do its thing in peace and quiet.
Get the bracelet!
The Ranger looks great on any type of strap, but you are missing out on something when you don’t get the bracelet. Like the case of the Tudor, it is beautifully crafted and finished with an eye for detail. I would even say that it is on par with the bracelets Rolex is offering, and that includes the clasp. It offers the option for micro-adjustments, ensuring that it sits perfectly on the wrist in all conditions, but that is not even its greatest asset: that’s the way it feels when you operate it.
It is just such a joy to open and close the clasp that you will probably do it more times than you have to. It feels like quality, and that is also why buying a Ranger without the bracelet is not something I recommend. And it is always easier to buy an additional strap than an entire bracelet.
Why a Rolex over this Ranger?
It might not be fair for either of them to compare Tudor with its bigger sibling. However, a common question I got when I was testing this Tudor was whether to pick a Rolex over the Ranger. The answer is quite personal, as the best (and in my opinion only) Rolex to compare the Tudor with is the Explorer. This watch comes with perhaps even more pedigree than the Ranger, but it also costs around twice its price (if you can find one). On the plus side, the Rolex keeps its value very well, which negates the steep price somewhat. The biggest difference is perhaps the size. The Explorer is 36mm, while the Ranger measures 39mm. This gives them quite a different appearance, with the Tudor being the more sporty of the two.
In today’s world, the Explorer is almost a dress watch, but although the Ranger can play that part if you it want to, it still prefers to play outside.
The hands also make a difference as the ones on the Ranger are not as serious as those on the Explorer. An added advantage is that the bolder design of the Ranger is extremely legible. I can actually see myself owning both, as they really are like siblings; from the same parents but with different charisma and personalities.
For more information, please visit www.tudorwatch.com/en/watches/ranger/m79950-0001
Quick Facts Tudor Ranger
Case: 39 x 12 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber MT5402 with silicon balance spring, power reserve 70 hours, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, officially certified C.O.S.C. chronometer
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Price: $ 3,150