The Tudor Ranger has flown under the radar since its modern reissue a few years ago. From the start, the Ranger seemed to be the black sheep of the Tudor sports watch family, never garnering much affection from the larger watch consumer market. However, those in the know in the watch community have seen the Ranger for what it is: a fantastic watch at an attractive price.
Tudor discontinued the Ranger in mid-2020, leaving some to believe the brand would relaunch the watch in a smaller case with an in-house movement. At the time of this writing, that has yet to be seen and has left a hole in Tudor’s sport watch lineup, at least in my heart. Let’s look at what made the Ranger so good and hope that it finds a way back into the lineup.
A quick note: this watch was lent in by a friend of the website. The photos will show that this watch has been used and well loved.
On the Wrist
Perhaps what kept the Ranger from being innovated upon by Tudor was a lack of sales. The lack of sales may have been from the dimensions on paper as well as the bracelet. I’ll go over each aspect, why it may have kept people away, and how it was worth a second look.
The Tudor Ranger is a pure tool watch. Coming in at 41mm wide, 48mm lug-to-lug and 12mm thick, the Ranger can look a touch big on paper to some, but the on-wrist feel is completely different. The lugs taper so dramatically that they take away from the watch’s wrist presence, slimming the whole thing down. If Tudor had made them even a touch thinner to accommodate a 20mm lug width, it may have thrown off every proportion of the watch. The proportions as they exist make the Ranger comfortable all day.
I can see why fans of the Ranger would want the watch to be 38-39mm. The Ranger is almost all dial so its 41mm size can look large. After wearing the Ranger for a few days, that perception of a large dial went away. The bezel and box sapphire crystal help break up the outer edges of the dial and case, bringing the Ranger down to a more manageable dial size.
I’ll cover the bracelet in more detail later, but the elephant in the room needs to be addressed now. Tudor opted for straight endlinks, much to the vexation of potential buyers (at least from what I gathered after reading many online comments about the watch). Tudor decided to go for the vintage vibes and opted out of fitted endlinks. While the decision would make sense in several vintage reissues, it is one that makes you scratch your head when it comes to the Ranger. The original Rangers didn’t have straight endlinks and if Tudor was going for the “true to original” look, why not keep the endlinks the same?
These are questions I’ll never have answers to, but I can say that I saw a few people who found fitted-endlink bracelets that fit the Ranger (from Black Bays) and those endlinks take something away from the watch. It just didn’t look right. With that said, I can see why it might put some people off from purchasing the Ranger. For me, the straight endlinks are where it’s at with the Ranger.
Tudor Ranger Video Review
The name of the game when it comes to the Ranger is legibility. The 12, 3, 6, 9 dial is easily readable in just about any light due to the contrast between the numerals and matte black dial. Add to that the fact that the numerals and hour markers are heavily painted and pop out from the dial, almost like applied markers. What looks like a flat dial at first glance has a ton of depth.
Tudor’s rose logo is displayed at 12 o’clock and was the last watch from the brand to be offered with the rose logo on the dial. It adds a touch of Tudor’s history to the dial and is something I wish they would have continued using on their dials. As far as I can tell, the Tudor rose is only embossed on the crowns of some of their watches.
The entire dial layout is like that of the original Ranger, right down to the dial text at 6 o’clock that reads a smiling Rotor Self-Winding. The hour and minute hands were also carried over from the original Ranger. The only change to the handset is the seconds hand, which has been painted red. It adds a nice pop of color and pairs well with the yellow-ish paint of the dial markers and text.
Case, Bracelet and Strap Options
The case of the Ranger is straightforward with brushed sides, a fixed bezel with a polished chamfer, and Tudor’s signature sterile caseback. Even though the case can appear spartan in appearance, the finishing choices made by Tudor strike a nice balance between tool watch and dress-worthy sport watch. The Ranger could easily be paired with a leather strap and look right at home with a suit and tie.
While I discussed the bracelet above, I only touched on the endlinks. There is more to this bracelet than just the endlinks. If you’re familiar with the bracelets on Tudor’s other sport watches, there won’t be any surprises with the bracelet. A simple Oyster-style bracelet with Tudor’s shield clasp is offered with the Ranger.
I found the bracelet to be extremely comfortable despite not having a ton of articulation in the links, perhaps due to the shape of my wrist. I lamented the lack of a quick-adjust system on the Black Bay 58’s bracelet, but there is no need for it here. Tudor’s shield clasp with a couple micro-adjust holes gets the job done and is thin to keep comfort to a maximum.
If the straight endlinks aren’t your jam, don’t fret. The Ranger comes with one of the coolest fabric straps I’ve seen offered with a watch. The NATO-style strap is fitted to the Ranger and the spring bars go through the strap instead of slipping the strap through the gap in the lugs. It’s a thing I wish was available on more fabric straps. If the camouflage strap also isn’t your jam, once again, don’t fret. Because of the Ranger’s simple appearance, it is going to look great on just about any strap you can dig out of your collection.
Why Get Rid Of It?
I’ve been going on about how great I think the Ranger is, so why did Tudor abandon the watch? I can’t say I’ve sat in on a board meeting with the execs at Tudor to hear what they had to say, but I’d imagine it came down to sales. Not only do I not see a ton of Ranger owners on the Internet, I don’t hear anyone talking about the watch.
There seems to have been just enough that people didn’t like about the Ranger to make it fall to the wayside. It doesn’t help that in the middle of building hype for the Ranger, Tudor introduced their cash cow Black Bay series of watches. Tudor just didn’t see enough in the Ranger to innovate on the platform, which may be part of why it never received an upgrade from the ETA movement to an in-house caliber like many of Tudor’s other watches. For me, it’s a crying shame.
Rolex Explorer 39
Rolex steel sport watches are hard to get these days, but it is still a great alternative to the Ranger if the extra cost can be absorbed by your budget. Sporting a similar dial layout, albeit more modern in appearance and coming from the same family as the Ranger, it’s hard to deny at least taking a look at the Explorer.
The Omega Railmaster is, in my mind, the closest thing to an original design in the spirit of the Ranger I reviewed today. While the Railmaster has its own heritage, the watch packs the same sports watch soul as the Ranger and looks the most like the Ranger. It is more expensive than the Ranger, but considerably less than the Explorer 39.
If you want something more in line with the pricing of the Ranger and want a numeral dial, the Sinn 556A might be the perfect match. I’ve reviewed the Sinn 556i (review here) and it is one of my favorite tool watches available today. This watch also would make those wanting a 39mm Tudor Ranger happy.
I don’t expect Tudor to read this review, but if they do, I want you to bring the Ranger back. I don’t care how you bring it back. Make it 39mm or offer it again in 41mm, just find a way. What I don’t know is how to make people want to buy this watch. I’ve read the comments on posts I’ve made about this watch and many have said they would be first in line if it were smaller. If all it takes is shaving 2mm off the case, I’m sure the engineers at Tudor could figure it out.
The Ranger isn’t perfect, but no watch is. The Ranger has charm. It is a watch with a great history from a storied brand and was a good value. The Ranger could be had on the bracelet for less than $3,000 which is pretty dang good for a great watch from Tudor. I fear that if Tudor were to reintroduce the Ranger, it would come in with an MSRP far higher than that.
If you’ve been curious about the Ranger, call your AD; it is possible they might still have some NOS examples available. If not, they are still readily available on the used market, which comes with less of a risk than buying new. Give the Ranger a shot; the ones still available deserve new life.
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Tudor Ranger Specs
Bracelet and NATO-style strap