Did you know? A ranger was originally a straightforward forest ranger – all well and good. Obviously, the word has gradually been tinged with a solid layer of coolness with military overtones and references to adventurers and looters of the woods… And it’s not the new “camping” trend emerging from the west that will make us lie. (If you think that we’ve gone mad on the camping trend I advise you to think again, man, and wait a few months to see what Les Rhabilleurs have in store for you– BOOM, teaser).
Anyway, everything Ranger is cool, starting with the TUDOR we tested for you in recent weeks.
We already discussed the other major announcement made by TUDOR in Basle 2014 (and the main announcement as far as we are concerned) during our review of Black Bay Blue, namely the revamping of the Ranger model.
We already sent “subtle” messages to the brand in the last review and we were heard! So now we are back to you to talk about the Ranger 2014 – one of the real heart stoppers of the year.
But no more beating around the bush – we’ve got our work cut out…
The first thing to notice is the balanced structure of the watch case: an admittedly somewhat imposing case for our tastes and reminiscent of another age (no big deal– 41mm), but nevertheless extremely well proportioned. Its large aperture is not that imposing and its domed plexus is a real marvel, just perfect for vintage fans like us!
It’s a delight to wear it on the wrist and its relatively large size is soon forgotten.
The other old school detail jumps out at us straight away – the presence of pierced horns. This may seem trivial but it makes a big but tasteful contribution to the spirit of yesteryear associated with the Ranger.
Finally, the round stain finished crown proudly bears the geometric TUDOR rose – sheer beauty.
The Ranger comes in a choice of steel bracelet, a (BUND type) cuff or a traditional leather strap. And with every purchase, TUDOR also slips in a little fabric strap (which is really worth it in the case of the Ranger model).
But let’s get back to these bracelet options because you may not have noticed – do you realise the timing? (yes I get fed up with myself too!) but it’s important:
The minor old school detail on the steel bracelet comes from the absence of these so-called end links that cover the area between the lugs and the case.
It’s quite unusual these days not to incorporate these “end links” but if you take a look at the Submariner Tudor of 55 (ref 7923) presented to you by Les Rhabilleurs with Antoine de Macedo, you will see that, on the contrary, it’s legitimate enough.
Moreover, it reminds us of the JB Champion bracelets from the middle of the last century and which the astronauts used on their speedmasters (MDP source). How cool! Really cool!
The other bracelet we would like to point out to you is the BUND type bracelet suggested for the Ranger. Just to give you some background, the BUND bracelet was supplied with the German Airforce (Luftwaffe) watches. It is a leather strap in one piece (originally in three pieces which are put together), which widens behind the watch to cover the entire leather surface. A small, strong bracelet, OK. To be honest, it’s not really our thing, but you have to recognise and make the most of the adventuring spirit of the Ranger and it really stands out.
As for the leather strap, the craftsmanship seems excellent, as usual, and it is a good option for the Ranger.
Yes, we told you that the fabric bracelet, included as a free gift, the classic of the Heritage line, was worth having…
Just imagine, it’s camouflage fabric. Yes camouflage. I know that camo is everywhere, too much sometimes, but do remember that this is a SERIAL camo bracelet. I mean the brand CHOSE this design.
Daring, eh? And, furthermore, I repeat what I said at the beginning, it is woven camouflage fabric, not printed like NATO camouflage you can buy on the net. And not by just anyone either. It is woven in central France by the Vatican robe supplier. It may be a gift but that’s not to say that TUDOR doesn’t care about you.
Far from it.
To sum up then, the first impressions sound like a rant – love love LOVE.
TUDOR once again shows us that, when they adopt a vintage approach, they pay meticulous attention to detail and leave absolutely nothing to chance.
Apart from a perfectly proportioned case, the other point that drives home (in our opinion) attention to detail and the brand’s unstinting respect for its heritage and history can be found in the dial of this new Ranger watch.
For starters, the most striking thing about this perfect dial is the use of famous Arabic “explorer” numerals 3/6/9/12 painted on and not applied as is the case with most watches nowadays. In fact, this detail may sound like a cheap admission. At this particular level, an applied marker is automatically assumed but, once again, this tends to be incongruous on a watch that looks as though it has just been taken out of a dusty drawer.
Of course, TUDOR emphasises the point by using the rose logo, which we view as a deliciously quaint feature of BBB. It stands the test of time and is the hallmark of the range. It also gives the Ranger the look of a bygone era which we absolutely adore.
The domed dial is very clean-cut (little information available) but very far from seeming empty with the numbers, the logo and then the wording, “rotor – self-winding” at 6 o’clock. Just like its elder siblings from the 1960s..
The hands are also very distinctive, starting with the hour hand in the shape of a tulip, which is the hallmark of the vintage range.
And finishing off with the pink/burgundy direct-driven seconds’ hand with its small trapezoidal, luminescent insert (again faithful to the original).The hands are covered with luminescent material with a slightly retro look paying tribute to the patina of items from bygone eras.
The only slight downside is perhaps in the shade of this seconds’ hand, which is a little surprising (but justified in the end – seems as though the hand was originally burgundy-coloured and would have faded with age, forming a patina).
So to sum up in two words: incredible job.
You become familiar with TUDOR, as with ROLEX – nothing to hide with the plexi back. The back of a really solid watch should really be fastened That’s how it is. It’s not a problem.
Because it should be remembered that we don’t buy a Ranger or an Explorer for the finishes of its movement. We buy it because it does its job. And basically that implies a robust, reliable, solid movement. No manual chamfering (even if that never hurt anyone –point taken).
But, as is customary with Tudor, they know how to create (and modify) the right movements so don’t lie awake at night worrying about it.
Especially at this price – I mean it would be slightly out of place to split hairs.
It should be emphasised that the Ranger is a very affordable watch (around €2,200). That’s not exactly cheap but look at what you’ve got to compare it against at this price and work it out for yourself in terms of quality/pedigree/style/price, etc. Yes we thought you would say that too…
How should we tell you? A major success story.
It’s simple. EVERYONE has spoken to us about it. And EVERYONE loved it.
OK, so maybe it is due to the fact that we quickly focused on its camouflage strap (which does not go by unnoticed but really works well with any cool outfit and even with some more formal attire), but the fact is that, having spent the past two weeks with this fine specimen firmly attached to our wrists, we’ve tended to cut a dash in society.
And, the most interesting aspect of all this is not necessarily that the watch was liked but that everyone liked it, regardless of their knowledge of watch-making.
The #watchnerds were looking to find something (without really finding anything) whilst some of us mentioned the legendary Red Ranger to show off (literally legendary– we’re not sure – could it be an urban legend perpetuated by the fora illuminati), whilst amateurs simply find it hyper cool, hyper manly, hyper nice and hyper good. Even girls and nippers want to scrounge it from us secretly.
So did Lionel’s son who did not hesitate to scrounge it from us to make him part of the Les Rhabilleurs Team! Welcome on board, bro!
And the price– the proverbial icing on the cake. For once the audience did not get carried away at the mention of the cost of a watch!
Yes, but then?
I’m not sure whether you’ve realised it throughout this review but we are really smitten with this Ranger 2014.
For all the reasons outlined above, the TUDOR Ranger is, in the end, a watch created for guys like us (not to mention how much it pleased our family, friends and acquaintances). It is a modern, robust, reliable watch that fairly and intelligently incorporates and respects all the codes of the sporting watches of the 1960s/1970s but yet includes modern techniques – a bit of a wet dream for us.
Of course, we are gradually becoming well aware of the reviews dedicated to TUDOR that simply seem to be intended for blinkered fans. This is pushing limits to the same extent as the nerds who camp outside the Apple Store eager to get their hands on the latest iThing, but, unfortunately, the company doesn’t leave us much choice.
TUDOR is certainly THE cleverest “general public” brand at the moment, developing products in keeping with our expectations and beliefs. We are quite simply chafing at the bit to see what the Heritage (or any other) line will have in store for us at BASLE 2015…
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Tudor Ranger: video
Tudor Ranger: Cinemagraph mode
Don’t forget that the Tudor Ranger is the first watch to appear on cinemagraphs. Click here to discover a whole series of creations by Les Rhabilleurs.