Tudor Heritage Chronograph 

Ross Povey looks back at the factors that have shaped the unique identity of Tudor’s popular sports watch.

What is the most famous Oyster-cased chronograph? Most people will say it’s the mighty Daytona. Rolex began using its iconic Oyster case for chronographs in the late 1930s. If we trace back the lineage of the three-register steel Oyster chronograph to its genesis, then we would reach the reference 4048. Believed to be made in less than 100 examples, all in steel, the reference 4048 was a 12-hour timer in a 35mm steel case in one piece, known as the monoblocco. But as this article is primarily about Tudor, we should also take a look back at the beginning of the two-register Oyster chronographs.

The first two-register Oyster-cased chronograph was reference 3481, a small 29mm steel watch. After this came reference 3525, a 35mm chronograph with a 30-minute chronograph function. Made in steel, yellow gold, rose gold and in two-tone steel and gold combinations, when the 3525 was introduced in 1939, it was one of the very first chronographs to make use of the Oyster case. The watches used the screw-down case and the screw-down crown, but Hans Wilsdorf’s Oyster case had only pump pushers, which at the time were perfect for the job. It would be another 25 years before the screw-down pushers became a reality and made the watches truly waterproof.

The first actual sports chronograph came in 1963 in the guise of the reference 6239. Having been through a couple of decades of pre-Daytonas, it was in 1963 that the star was born. The 6239 was seen as an actual sports watch due to its 36mm steel case and bezel ring in the form of a tachymeter. The watches, however, still featured pump pushers and so were not blessed with the word “Oyster” on the dial; this also applied to the 6241 with black plastic tachymeter as well as references 6262 and 6264.

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Ross Povey

Published

April 2021

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