Although Tudor first became known as the sister company of the more prestigious watch brand Rolex, the company allowed this to be a reason not to establish its own reputable name in the watch industry. In fact, over the years, Tudor has developed into one of the most highly-coveted Swiss watchmakers with its luxurious and refined timepieces that are available at very reasonable prices. It offers a range of top-notch watches that cater to the needs of both men and women who wish to own a high-caliber timekeeper.
Aside from that, Tudor is also known for many innovations in the world of horology, such as the creation of its own first-ever caliber movement, the Caliber MT5621, which you can find in the Tudor North Flag. This particular collection features many classic and cutting-edge timepieces, with the Caliber MT5621 providing exceptionally precise timekeeping as well. That said, the Tudor North Flag has been a remarkably underrated line of watches. In this article, we’ll take a look at the Tudor North Flag in detail and break down just why it deserves more attention from watch enthusiasts.
A Quick Look at Tudor North Flag’s History
When discussing Tudor’s roots, it is impossible not to mention Rolex. Both Swiss watch brands were founded by the same person, Hans Wilsdorf, who sought to create an alternative, more affordable version of Rolex. In 1926, Hans Wilsdorf launched a new collection of luxurious watches offered at much lower price points. Some called them the poor man’s version of the expensive Rolex, but discerning watch enthusiasts quickly noticed that they offered superb quality and robust functionality despite their lower prices. This collection quickly became known as the Tudor.
For decades, Tudor continuously produced exquisite timepieces. However, Tudor watches stopped being sold in the U.S. market in 1996. There’s no clear reason why, but the decision was likely made by its parent company, Rolex. After several years, Tudor finally returned with a powerful masterpiece, the Tudor Heritage Chrono, in 2013. Two years later, they followed up with the launch of the Tudor North Flag in 2015.
Tudor’s First in-House Calibre
The Tudor North Flag, as mentioned, stood out because it featured the brand’s first-ever powerful in-house Caliber MT5621. As earlier versions of Tudor watches were equipped with caliber movements from external suppliers, the creation of its first in-house movement was a massive milestone for the brand. In fact, this was the major shift that allowed the brand to establish its own identity in the watch community and no longer be referred to as just a sister brand of Rolex.
While it is true that the Tudor Pelagos was the first watch to be powered by the Caliber MT5621, it was the Tudor North Flag that proudly showcased its excellent functions and mechanisms with the North Flag’s see-through caseback. This feature is not one often found in Rolex watches, making the Tudor North Flag all the more distinctive. In fact, the Tudor North Flag serves as a testament to how Tudor expertly carves out its niche, setting itself apart from Rolex.
The Inspiration Behind Tudor North Flag’s Existence
Named after the British North Greenland Expedition, the Tudor North Flag actually takes inspiration from the 1952 expedition’s Oyster Prince time-telling accessory, as well as the exceptional 1970’s Tudor Ranger II.
The Oyster Prince was historically crafted to be used by the crew of the British North Greenland Expedition back in 1952, which means that it was designed to be a reliable, robust, and highly accurate timepiece that could survive being exposed to all sorts of extreme environments. The Tudor North Flag took from the Oyster Prince a similar identity of being a tough, rigid, and highly precise timekeeper intended for the hardiest of survivalists.
With regards to the overall design of the Tudor North Flag, on the other hand, a quick glance makes it immediately apparent that it has a resemblance to Tudor’s own Ranger II, an iconic timepiece from way back in the 1970s. Like the Ranger II, the Tudor North Flag features a similar arrow-shaped handset filled with lume and a heavy-based chapter ring. One difference between the two watches, however, is that the Tudor North Flag does not adopt the Ranger II’s oversized fluted bezel, opting instead for a smoother and more refined bezel. All in all, the Tudor North Flag is a fresh, modern take on the Ranger II.
Up Close with Tudor North Flag
Case Material: Stainless steel
Case diameter: 40mm
Movement: Calibre MT5621
Power reserve: 70 hours
Water resistance: 100m
Case and Bezel
Right from the outset, the most striking feature you’re likely to notice from the unique Tudor North Flag is its sophisticated case. Crafted as a luxury sports watch, the stainless steel case of this timepiece has a slim build and clean lines with its sharp, angular edges. In addition, it features a high-tech steel bezel that is unusually lined with black ceramic on the outer rim and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that serves as protection for the dial.
With its proportionate 40mm case diameter, previous owners have reported that the Tudor North Flag is extremely comfortable on the wrist, with a size that is just right. Its incorporated lugs and tapered crown are fine details that add to the lightweight profile of the watch. Along with its substantial 100m water resistance, this timepiece displays a contemporary appearance that is a modern twist on the vintage Tudor Ranger II.
The dial of the Tudor North Flag is yet another highlight of this handsome timepiece, as it boasts an avant-garde and minimalistic style. Along with its rectangular hour markers, the watch also displays two oversized Arabic numerals at 6 and 12 o’clock that dominate the black dial. The numerals and hour markers are all wrapped in white lume to provide excellent visibility even in poor lighting conditions.
You will also notice the small rectangular date aperture located at the 3 o’clock position and a bright yellow power reserve indicator located at 9 o’clock that serves as a splash of color to the dial. This power reserve also works as a rotating disc, adding a touch of contemporaneity to this timepiece.
Another elegant feature of the Tudor North Flag is its luminous silver-toned hour and minute hands, and vibrant yellow seconds hand with a rectangular tip. The white and yellow handset smartly contrasts against the black dial, which adds to the legibility of this timepiece. We can also find the Tudor name and logo printed on the dial, right under the 12 o’clock marker.
Tudor ensures that the hour markers and hands of the North Flag are all either coated or filled with luminescent material. This gives it a gorgeous light blue glow in low-lighting conditions, making time-telling easy no matter where you are. This is one of the most essential features a timepiece must have and the brand’s use of a high-end lume for the Tudor North Flag highlights how Tudor spared no expense in crafting this watch.
While the gorgeous aesthetics of the Tudor North Flag are definitely an eye-catcher, the real show-stopper when it comes to this watch is its movement. The Caliber MT5621 movement is, as previously mentioned, Tudor’s first-ever in-house caliber movement. It was a significant turning point for Tudor, as this ability to craft a top-notch movement with excellent engineering and craftsmanship helped the brand to build its own reputation instead of just being identified as a sister company of Rolex. As the Tudor North Flag was the primary vehicle that Tudor used to introduce the Caliber MT5621, this gives the watch a special status in the Tudor catalog and history indeed.
Going back to Caliber MT5621 movement, it is a top-notch automatic movement that features a 4Hz beat rate, a bidirectional winding system equipped with an anti-magnetic silicon hairspring, and an adjustable inertia oscillator. It is a COSC-certified chronometer with a record of accuracy rating of not more than -2/+4 seconds, and as such is a highly reliable, accurate, and functional movement that you can rely on for years to come. It also features a whopping power reserve of up to 70 hours. This is a particular standout compared to other high-end sports watches, which tend to only offer up to 40 hours of power reserve.
Moreover, this in-house movement is also surprisingly durable. Not only is it able to withstands shocks and external vibrations, but it is also anti-magnetic and has superior dimensional stability. It features a free-spring balance wheel, a design that is characteristic of high-end Swiss-made movements like those from prominent watchmakers Patek Philippe and Rolex. The mechanisms of the Caliber MT5621 can be observed through the see-through case back of the Tudor North Flag, allowing wearers to appreciate the grand and efficient design of this movement.
Tudor offers two different options for the strap of the North Flag. You can choose between a brushed, professional stainless steel strap or a yellow-stitched, black leather strap. The former is crafted with a solid satin finish, which blends perfectly with the matching stainless steel case. The yellow and black leather strap, on the other hand, pairs well with the neon accents visible on the Tudor North Flag’s sporty dial. Regardless of which one you opt to use, both straps are crafted by Tudor to be durable and easy to wear. Both of them feature safety catches and folding clasps that allow the straps to fit nicely and securely around wrists of any size.
Pros and Cons of Tudor North Flag
Despite all of the impressive attributes of the Tudor North Flag, it is not quite the perfect timepiece. That is why, before making a decision on the Tudor North Flag, you want to make sure to consider all the good and the bad first. We’ve come up with a list of pros and cons so you really know what you’re getting with the Tudor North Flag.
- Excellent build and quality finish. Each component of the Tudor North Flag watch is skillfully crafted by the brand to ensure its durability, reliability, and functionality. Furthermore, knowing that Tudor is one of the most reputable Swiss watchmakers, you can rest assured that it only uses premium materials to create its timepieces, and the Tudor North Flag is no exception.
- Equipped with Tudor’s first in-house movement and COSC-certified chronometer. One of the most noteworthy features of the Tudor North Flag is that it is equipped with the brand’s first-ever in-house movement, the Caliber MT5621. This movement is shock-resistant and has anti-magnetic capabilities, making it a durable movement with a long shelf life. It is also commended for its highly precise timekeeping, showcasing the identity and reliability of a genuine Swiss-made movement.
- Known for its affordability. Another highlight of the North Flag watch is its budget-friendly pricing. Considering the robust features this watch offers, getting it at a price that will not break your bank is certainly considered a steal.
- Limited strap options. If you’re the type of person who loves to switch up the straps of your timepiece for different occasions, then sadly, this Tudor North Flag might not be for you. Although it has incorporated lugs to provide greater comfort against the wearer’s wrists, there isn’t really a diversity of choice available in terms of strap options. As mentioned, these North Flag watches only come with two types of straps, formal stainless steel, or a sporty black and yellow leather version. An alternative solution is to buy a custom-made strap, which, unfortunately, can be quite expensive.
- Not as popular as other Tudor collections. Despite all the features the Tudor North Flag offers, it remains quite an underrated timepiece. If you’re planning to buy a watch to invest in for the future, buying this watch might be a risk for you, particularly when it comes to resale value, as it isn’t as heavily sought-after as some of its Tudor peers.
Two Variants of Tudor North Flag
1. TUDOR North Flag 91210N-0002
One notable feature of this version is its stunning black dial, boasting a contemporary and classic sporty look. This Tudor North Flag 91210N-0002 features a 40mm stainless steel case, a sapphire crystal to add extra protection to its dial, a see-through skeleton caseback, and a smooth black leather strap with a fold-over safety clasp to complete the overall classy, sporty look. It is equipped with the brand’s first-ever in-house automatic movement, famous for its high accuracy and resistance to shocks and magnetism.
Aside from that, this Tudor model also comes equipped with a water resistance rating of up to 100 meters. You’ll notice that the handy date aperture can also be found at the 3 o’clock position. This first version of the Tudor North Flag is available for only $3,939 USD.
2. TUDOR North Flag 91210N-0001
This second version of Tudor North Flag features all the same characteristics as the previous watch. It also has a 40mm round stainless steel case with integrated lugs, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and a see-through caseback that showcases the watch’s in-house Caliber MT5621 movement. It has an impressive power reserve of up to 70 hours and is equipped with 100 meters of water resistance. The only difference of this Tudor North Flag 91210N-0001 is its strap, which is made of stainless steel and offers more of a professional, classic feel with its clean geometry. This version is just a little pricier, retailing at $4,499 USD.
We can’t deny that we tend to opt for the most prestigious watchmakers like Rolex, Tag Heuer, or Omega when looking at Swiss luxury watch brands. Sometimes, we forget that it is not just the most prominent brands that are worthy of interest or capable of delivering high-quality timepieces. Indeed, Tudor, with its luxurious and reliable watches available at very reasonable prices, is definitely one to keep an eye on.
In particular, the Tudor North Flag is a classic and functional timepiece that offers highly accurate timekeeping and a handsomely contemporary aesthetic. This timepiece was the vehicle through which Tudor introduced its first-ever in-house movement, which adds to the historical significance and depth of the Tudor North Flag as well, as part of this impressive Tudor milestone. At the end of the day, the Tudor North Flag is a durable, reliable, and functional time-telling accessory with an important history to boot. For these reasons, it is an excellent and underrated piece perfect for watch enthusiasts looking to expand their collections.
Looking for other Tudor watches you would definitely want to add to your collection? Check our article on the Best Picks From Tudor Watches.
All photos are credited to Watchshopping.com unless stated otherwise.
Featured image from Manuel Rebic on Flickr.