That’s the question I immediately asked myself after loading up Tudor’s recently updated website and seeing that the Heritage Ranger is now nowhere to be found. Jumping straight onto the forums, it was obvious that I wasn’t the only one thinking it either. So, could Tudor have quietly discontinued the Heritage Ranger while no one was looking? Or are we due for something new?
Released at Baselworld in 2014, the Heritage Ranger was an unexpected hit for Tudor. Slotting in nicely between fellow Heritage models, the Heritage Chronograph and Black Bay. And filling a small gap for a simple, no nonsense, do-it-all watch that further cemented Tudor’s position in the market.
To the eye, there wasn’t much to the Ranger. It had a steel case, a black dial, and three hands. But it spoke to the rugged simplicity that lovers of field watches so dearly desire. And most importantly, it was Tudor’s most authentic nod back to the watches of its storied past.
The steel case was larger, at 41mm, but its black dial featured the smiling “ROTOR SELF-WINDING” text and famed vintage Tudor rose. It also paid tribute with hand-painted hour markers and 12, 3 ,6, 9 numerals, in true “Explorer” style. While its hands followed the vintage arrow and syringe shape of the original Tudor Rangers. The result was an inspired and strong looking modern-day Ranger that most resembled the 1967 reference 7995/0 Tudor Oyster Prince Ranger.
What the Heritage Ranger did best however, was show that Tudor was eager to appeal to the collectors and enthusiasts. Offering the Heritage Ranger, with not one, not two, not three, but four different strap options. And not the usual offerings either. First there was a bracelet with straight endlinks, which did cause some divide amongst fans, with some preferring a more case hugging form.
Next there was a simple tobacco coloured leather strap, then a camel coloured bund style leather strap that really brought the ready-for-adventure feel. The fan favourite however, was the woven camo “nato” strap. Not only were Tudor one of the first brands to embrace and begin offering nato style straps on their watches, but this wasn’t your ordinary run-of-the-mill nato. The camouflage pattern was actually woven in by hand – not printed – and made exclusively for Tudor by the very same centuries old French weavers, Julien Faure, that produce robes and ribbons for the Vatican. Even more, the lugs were drilled, making switching straps even easier.
All things considered; the release of the Heritage Ranger marked an important point for Tudor. And now to see that it may be gone, I’m left wondering what Tudor can do to fill the gap, or even if there’s a gap that needs filling.
It’s an important year for Tudor, marking 50 years since the release of the brand’s first chronograph. And rumours are already flying that we could perhaps see a new version of the popular Big Block chronographs from the late 70s, 80s and 90s. Porcelain dial anyone?
But then there’s still the Ranger line, or more specifically the Ranger II of the 1970s, which was also the inspiration for the North Flag, the watch which cemented Tudor has a manufacturer of movements. So perhaps we could see an updated version of the North Flag? Or maybe it’ll be something as obvious as more colours and variations of the ever-popular Black Bay collection. A Black Bay Fifty-Eight with date?
Whatever it may be, it’ll be sad to see the end of the Heritage Ranger, the last of the Tudor roses, but here’s hoping that something new and exciting is on the horizon.