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Review of Tudor North Flag from Baselworld 2015

by Robin Lim on April 14, 2015
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In the past, Tudor had often been overlooked by many collectors, especially since it was often overshadowed by Rolex. However, Tudor has grown tremendously under Davide Cerrato (Tudor’s Head of Marketing and Product Development) with their new design directions and creations int he recent years. With that, Tudor is emerging as a great threat to many brands in the modestly-priced sector. This time round, Tudor tried something bolder and took it a step further by launching the North Flag.

Tudor North Flag in bracelet.

Tudor North Flag in bracelet.

We did a short feature on the new Tudor North Flag when it was first launched in Baselworld a few weeks back. The North Flag represents, as mentioned, a huge leap forward in terms of the branding and technological prowess of Tudor. To begin with, the North Flag features the first in-house movement made by Tudor themselves. What is even more amazing is the fact that the movement is chronometer certified. As compared to the use of ETA movements in their previous watches, this bold move by Tudor is certainly changing our perspective towards the brand itself.

Before we continue further, we thought that it will be good to clarify our stand on the use of ETA movements in watches. There is absolutely nothing wrong in using ETA movements: they are reliable, and they are the reason why some watches are able to keep their prices relatively affordable. However, there is always this pre-conceived notion that an in-house movement is definitely better than an ETA movement. Of course, if the in-house movement is well-made, it definitely value-adds to a horological device. But if the watchmaker does a terrible job in producing an in-house movement, we thought that it will definitely be better to stick to the ETA counterparts. So, which side does the North Flag stands? Well, until we (or other collectors) start to utilize this timepiece, there is not many convincing way to tell whether Tudor had made a right move here. But on paper, things certainly does look good at the moment.

The Tudor North Flag, with the leather strap this time round. Which one would you prefer?

The Tudor North Flag, with the leather strap this time round. Which one would you prefer?

Now, back to the watch itself. Our fellow writer, Nick Gould, covered this piece a few weeks back when the North Flag was first unveiled to the public. Like many, there were different takes on this timepiece. Nick thought that the watch looks rather cool. However, some of us thought that it was a little ordinary. Somehow, we were not really excited by how the North Flag looks. Perhaps we were expecting more, after Tudor released some rather good looking timepieces in the past few years (think of the Black Bay, the Ranger, and the Monte Carlo Heritage Chrono). The North Flag, in terms of aesthetics, somehow fell flat a little.

Another take on the North Flag, this time round with the Tudor cufflinks.

Another take on the North Flag, this time round with the Tudor cufflinks.

The North Flag features a 40mm stainless steel case, and it comes in either a stainless steel bracelet or a black leather strap with yellow stitching. The watch features two complications: a power reserve indicator and a date display. It is a nice touch, especially since this was their debut in making in-house movements. Legibility, like the Ranger, is very good. The dial is rather clean, and the indices and hands are rather big as well.

We felt the watch is equally comfortable on both the leather strap and the bracelet. However, in terms of aesthetics, we thought the watch looks better in the bracelet somehow. That is probably attributed to the fact that the watch case integrates better with the bracelet, instead of the leather strap. Also, we thought the the bracelet’s quality is rather excellent. It somehow feels quite solid and robust, just like Rolex’s Oyster bracelets.

The movement on the North Flag. It is a pity that the finishing is just plain and average.

The movement on the North Flag. It’s a workhorse movement, with a date display and a power reserve indicator.

Now, we are at the main selling point of this timepiece: the movement. The watch is powered by Tudor’s in-house MT5621. The automatic movement is COSC certified, and it features a power reserve of approximately 70 hours. As mention, it also features a power reserve indicator, as well as a date indicator. Another interesting feature would be the use of silicon balance spring, in which it is non-magnetic. We thought that it was a great move by Tudor to include some complications to its first in-house movement. It would definitely have been much more simpler (and cheaper) to create a basic movement that is not COSC-certified. Kudos to Tudor on this aspect.

However, there is a lack of high-end finishing on the watch. This is perhaps attributed to the fact that it is a workhorse movement, and it is there to get the job done without being too fanciful. In fact, it is pretty decent in terms of performance and complications. This goes in line with the price point that Tudor is offering.

A mandatory wristshot of the North Flag.

A mandatory wristshot of the North Flag.

In our opinion, the Tudor North Flag represents great value for money. It is an interesting and great attempt for Tudor, especially since it is their first try at making a timepiece with an in-house movement. For budding collectors, this is one of the watches to look out for if you want a Swiss made timepiece that is relatively affordable with an in-house movement. The in-house movement is a great move for Tudor, and it can be a wonderful platform for better things to come. We will certainly be keeping our eyes peeled on their novelties next year.

The leather strap model will retail at US$3,550, while the bracelet model will cost US$3,650.

 

Specifications from Press Release

TUDOR NORTH FLAG
REFERENCE 91210N

CASE
Type Monobloc middle case, open back with sapphire crystal
and screw-down winding crown
Diameter 40 mm
Material 316L stainless steel, satin finish
Bezel Double bezel in steel and matt black ceramic
Winding crown Screw-down, double waterproofness system
Crystal Scratch-resistant sapphire
Waterproofness 100 metres (330 feet)
BRACELETS
Material: 316L stainless steel, satin finish or black leather with yellow stitching
and yellow leather lining
Clasp Folding clasp and safety catch
DIAL
Colour Black, matt finish
Hour markers White hour markers with white luminescent material, black flange with white
minute markers and yellow marking for the 5-minute intervals
Hands White hour and minute hands with white luminescent material, yellow directdrive
second hand and black power reserve disc with white painted hand

MANUFACTURE MOVEMENT TUDOR MT5621
Calibre: MT5621, Manufacture TUDOR
Self-winding mechanical movement with bidirectional rotor system
Precision: Swiss Chronometer Officially Certified by the COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute)
Functions Centre hour, minute and seconds hands
Instantaneous date with rapid setting without non-correction range
Stop-seconds for precise time setting
Power reserve indicator via disc
Oscillator Variable inertia balance, micro-adjustment by screw
Non-magnetic silicon balance spring
Frequency: 28,800 beats/hour (4 Hz)
Total diameter 33.8 mm
Thickness 6.5 mm
No Of Jewels: 28 jewels
Power reserve Approximately 70 hours

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