Swiss watchmaker Tudor likes to surprise at BaselWorld, which it managed quite nicely in 2015 with the North Flag watch. This is perhaps paradoxically entirely consistent with what collectors are used to when it comes to anything out of the Rolex manufacture (Montres Tudor SA is a wholly owned subsidiary of the brand that wears the crown).
Before examining the watch collection in question, here is why serious watch collectors (that means you) should care, in two quick points:
#1 – The North Flag watch is powered by an in-house COSC-certified automatic manufacture movement – Tudor MT5621.
#2 – The North Flag watch has an exhibition caseback, which means calibre MT5621 can be freely admired.
Both these developments are unprecedented and it is worth remembering that this is the first Tudor calibre to be COSC-certified. As far as actually seeing the movement goes, the only other way to get a glimpse of a Rolex manufacture movement is via the Cellini Prince. Well, you could also get some watchmaking tools and ruin your watch (certainly voiding the warranty) but the Tudor North Flag makes everything so much simpler. One additional point about calibre MT5621 is that it shares some characteristics with Rolex manufacture movements, including a silicon hairspring (no Parachrom blue here) and a 70-hour power reserve. The power reserve display (disc at 9 o’clock) adds to the functional aesthetics of the watch and also brings something truly new to the world of Tudor watchmaking.
Now, a few words about the North Flag itself. Tudor calls it the “ultimate tool watch” and it is certainly the best so-called “tool” watch that Tudor has recently created. To be clear, the tool watch is simply a tough beater that is meant to function as a tool – so substance over style basically. Ok, smart watch this is not, clearly, so perhaps the definition of “tool” watches should be reworked – to be fair smart watches are quite fragile compared with the North Flag and its 40mm 316L steel case. There are many little details here that elevate this watch above the level of many competitors, including polished bevels that make what look like sharp edges here (above) softer in reality. The bezel here is in steel and ceramic, adding to the technical flourishes in the North Flag. Water resistant to 100 meters, the watch is available in two versions, one with a bracelet and one with a black leather strap. Both hour markers and hands have a white luminescent coating.