Tudor has become synonymous with “the poor man’s Rolex,” which is a bit of a shame. Tudor has consistently been making their own movements and putting them into their own watch cases for a number of years at this point. Their movements have 72-hr power reserves and some even come COSC certified. With that said, Tudor is still using top-grade ETA movements in some of their watches, and I’ll be discussing one of their ETA equipped pieces today.
The Tudor Ranger’s roots, much like the Rolex Explorer, are in arctic expeditions and overland lore. Today, it’s a watch that you strap on your wrist when you want to feel like you’re going to walk out of your crudely constructed A-frame shelter, jump into your Land Rover Defender and continue your overland adventure to the next stop, even if in reality it’s just to and from the office, in a Camry. But first, some specs:
- Case Width: 41mm
- Case Thickness: 12mm
- Lug to Lug: 48mm
- Lug Width: 22mm
- Water Resistance: 150 meters
- Power Reserve: 38 hours
The Tudor Ranger is a joy to wear. The watch hugs your wrist closely. With such a trim case height this is no surprise. Sometimes I feel like a broken record when I describe a watch as wearing close to the wrist, but really that is the biggest area that I look at when I am reviewing watches. I feel like case height is the first thing that you’ll notice when you strap a watch to your wrist, and at a mere 12mm tall the Ranger is perfect in that area.
Ahh, the ETA 2824… what a reliable work horse you are. You’re like a Chevy small block: you always work and if for some reason you don’t nearly anyone can fix you with parts they can get from any auto zone any-day except Sunday.
Tudor uses the ETA movement perfectly in the Ranger, redacting the date and regulating the movement. The example I had kept COSC time with an excellent power reserve. My one gripe, and I read that this is common on this particular model because of the redaction of the date, is when you pull the crown out to set it, occasionally the seconds hand won’t hack (stop). This feels weird, like the movement is doing something wrong, but based on my experience and research it’s not damaging anything.
Case and Crown
The case on the Ranger is simple, brushed steel, with a trim unadorned steel bezel. The lugs are nice, relatively simple, and drilled. The latter makes changing straps a cinch with anything from a straightened paper clip, to a push pin, to an actual spring bar tool. All in all the case really classes up the watch.
The bezel is separated from the case by a polished bevel, and when the bezel catches light just right it looks awesome. The crown is large and nicely textured for grip. I did, however, find that it sticks out a lot, and can dig into the back of your hand from time to time. The length of the crown tube is a bit difficult to get used to visually. It NEVER looks like you have the crown screwed all the way down.
Dial, Crystal, and Bezel
The sapphire crystal on the Ranger is slightly domed and raised with deftly applied anti reflective coatings (I think just on the inside). The curve at the very edge of the crystal plays with the indices and markers on the dial in really cool ways making the watch very interesting to casually look at while you’re driving, or just sitting around (I can’t be the only one that does this).
The hands are simple with a spear head shaped hour hand and a sword minute, the are polished steel with a generous amount of lume set into them. The seconds hand is a dark red with a lume pip on the end. The dial is matte black with painted indices and text. The text on the Ranger is very classically styled with the Tudor rose at noon, and curved text on the bottom hearkening back to the original Ranger. The lume on this dial is generous. My first Tudor was the ETA version of the Pelagos, and I found the lume to be lackluster at best. Thankfully, the Ranger does not suffer from this problem.
The Ranger is available on several strap options. My version came on the steel bracelet with the woven camouflage NATO.
The bracelet is very similar the the one used by the Black Bay. Unless I am mistaken, the only difference is the end links. As we’ve seen throughout the different aspects of the Ranger, Tudor is trying to make a direct callback to the old vintage Rangers, and they really do this in the bracelet with straight end link “bars.” Comfort wise, I love these bracelets. Tudor, since they’re owned by Rolex, have a direct line into some of the nicest bracelet making in the Horological World. The Ranger bracelet doesn’t have some of the features that Rolex uses, like quick comfort or Glidelock clasps, but they do utilize the screw together construction and excellent fit and finish.
So how about that NATO? That was the the big highlight for me, Tudor utilizes the same company to make their straps as the Vatican does for their robes. The strap material is soft and supple, but also has a sturdy quality to it. It doesn’t operate like regular NATOs. Instead, it has sewn in slots for spring bars and wears like like a regular strap. The camo pattern is not dyed into the material but rather woven into the strap. It’s also sizable (as in able to be sized): the strap passes through the clasp and allows you to adjust the “tail” length to suit your wrist, and prevents you from needing to cut it.
Long story short, the Tudor NATO is easily one of the best nylon straps I’ve used, and justifies the enormous premium they command on the secondary. Only downside to them is that they’re pretty specific to what watches they’ll fit on, based on the sewn in spring bar slots.
Tudor Ranger Review – Final Thoughts
If what you’re looking for is a watch that will serve you well in your day to day life, or on an overland adventure, then the Ranger is the watch you want. Conceived in the image of watches that went on some of histories biggest adventures, modernized to be practical and reliable in today’s society, and priced to be a good budget watch in the luxury marketplace the Ranger is the watch for you. Available on the secondary market for real bargains (I’ve seen prices below 1500$) I can’t recommend this piece enough, especially to get something so closely related to Rolex.