The 1970s inspired, understand the sporty-chic watch with an integrated bracelet, is more fashionable than ever. This is undeniable and many brands, from high-end to accessible, have entered the race to cater to those who’re in the market for such piece. Driven by the market’s enthusiasm for icons such as the Royal Oak and the Nautilus, we’ve seen multiple alternatives being presented in a more reasonable segment of the industry. Latest in line is Tudor, who presented a collection with an unmistakable 1970s vibe earlier this year. Today, we give some wrist time to the collection’s highlight, the Tudor Royal Date-Day 41mm with blue dial.
Unlike many watches in Tudor’s collection, the Royal is not a re-edition of a past model. Yes, the name itself has been used in the past, but the watches bearing this name were nothing like today’s sporty-chic models with integrated bracelets. They were simple, time-only dress watches with (let’s be honest) low significance. Even though the connection isn’t really clear and no vintage model has been used as a base for the design, the new Tudor Royal Date-Day 41mm still plays on the vintage trend. Or, at least on a style that was once defined in the early 1970s and has become a must-have to many watch enthusiasts. The sports watch with an integrated bracelet is hot, so why Tudor should stay away from it…?
Tudor chose for a slightly different approach than, for instance, Maurice Lacroix, Frederique Constant or Wempe. All of them are clearly identified as sports-chic watches, with the “sports” word being emphasized. All are sharper, bolder and in line with the basic principles of the 1970s sports watch. The Tudor Royal is, on the other hand, a surprising mix between 1970s codes and the icon of Rolex (and Tudor) that is the Date-Day watch – and not only because of its display. And since the watch bears Roman numerals, a notched bezel and two-tone options, the intention is clearly to be more on the “chic” side of things than on the “sporty” side. And add to that a slight dosage of outdated coolness… All in all, the Tudor Royal Date-Day 41mm is a watch apart.
Starting with the case, the Royal is 41mm in diameter with a reasonable 10.5mm height. The case is made from a solid block of stainless steel and there’s no denying the usual quality of construction provided by Tudor. The watch is neatly executed and built to last. The case is brushed on the flat surfaces, while the case bands are polished. Good point despite the dressy intention of the watch, the crown screws down and the water-resistance is rated at 100m.
The most surprising point of this watch is its bezel, with a texture that somehow recalls some of the watches produced by the Crown (without being the same either). The bezel shows a combination of polished surfaces and cut grooves. The pattern is stamped yet with a precise definition of the texture. In terms of style, this is clearly the element that brings this outdated coolness to the watch (or outdated uncoolness, depending on your position).
The second element that positions this Tudor Royal Date-Day 41mm in a slightly different category, is its dial, and the indications that go along with it. The sunray-brushed blue colour is certainly a classic for a sporty-chic watch, however, the applied Roman numerals are more traditional. In the same vein, the use of a typically-Rolex day-date display, with an arched day-of-the-week window at 12 o’clock, is once again a proof of a more elegant vocation. All the elements are well executed and sharply defined, yet not particularly striking. Tudor could easily improve the style of this Royal Date-Day with something a bit bolder and less old-school.
Inside the watch, like most entry-level models produced by the brand, the Tudor Royal Date-Day 41mm relies on an outsourced movement, the ETA 2834 – basically a day-date version of the tried-and-tested ETA 2824. This automatic movement with 4Hz frequency and 38h power reserve is a no-brainer and allows to maintain this watch in an attractive price range. Its robustness and precision are not to be demonstrated anymore.
The most striking element of the Tudor Royal’s design is, of course, its integrated bracelet. Once again here, Tudor chose for something with more elegance than the traditional 1970s style, due to the 5-link profile with thin and polished intermediate links. This design clearly looks more elegant than some of the other sporty-chic watches with integrated bracket, that come across more masculine and bold. No debate, once again concerning the overall quality, precision of the assembly and robustness being of undisputed quality. The bracelet is closed by a folding clasp and safety catch.
Thoughts and Price
All in all, this Tudor Royal Date-Day 41mm is a surprising mix of sportiness and elegance. The overall quality, especially considering the accessible price, is in line with all Tudor models, meaning top-notch. Then, the design of the watch itself, even though a matter of tastes, has a certain consistency, despite being properly attractive. It’s a nice watch with old-school elegance that lacks a bit of boldness and appeal. A slightly sportier dial or a different pattern for the bezel would certainly benefit to a case/bracelet combination that is well designed. Nothing that Tudor can’t correct in upcoming editions.
The Tudor Royal Date-Day 41mm Blue Dial (ref. M28600-0005) retails for EUR 2,190 – CHF 2,200 – USD 2,325. Deliveries in Europe and the USA are expected during November 2020. More details at www.tudorwatch.com.