Baselworld 2015: Tudor North Flag Features the Brand’s First In-House Movement (Updated with Live Photos)


TUDOR NORTH FLAG - PAIRSince its return to the U.S. market a few years ago, Tudor has made great strides in stepping out from under the shadow of its “big brother,” Rolex. At this year’s Baselworld, the brand took its boldest step yet: the introduction of its first manufacture movement, which debuts in an all-new collection called North Flag.

Fans of Tudor watches, who have long appreciated the brand’s relatively accessible price points (particularly in comparison to those of Rolex, which owns Tudor) may be tempted to jump to two conclusions: that the new Tudor movement comes from the manufacture of its parent company, and that the watches outfitted with it will be significantly more expensive than current models, which use movements from outside producers such as ETA. Both assumptions would be incorrect.

As Tudor’s U.S. brand manager Russell Kelly told WatchTime yesterday in our meeting at Baselworld, the new movement, Caliber MT5621 (“MT” for “Manufacture Tudor”) is produced not by Rolex but at Tudor’s own watchmaking facility in the Swiss town of Bienne (where Rolex and many other Swiss watch brands are also headquartered). Also, the price points on the new North Flag models are surprisingly low in comparison to similar Swiss watches with in-house movements, enabling Tudor to maintain its long-held status as a purveyor of quality timepieces at affordable prices.

TUDOR NORTH FLAG - front

TUDOR MT5621 MOVEMENT

The Tudor North Flag derives its name and design inspiration from the British North Greenland Expedition in the early 1950s, in which members of the expedition team wore circa-1952 Tudor Oyster Prince models. These “tool watches” were instrumental in carrying out this exploratory mission to some of the earth’s harshest climatic conditions. The North Flag derives some of its “scientific equipment” look from these early watches: a satin-brushed steel case (40 mm in diameter) with ergonomic curves, highlighted by a bezel composed of matte ceramic on one side and brushed steel on the other, along with a conical winding crown that screws down for a 100-meter water resistance. The caseback features a sapphire window — a first for Tudor, believe it or not — through which one can view the watchmakers’ pride and joy, automatic Caliber MT5621.

Tudor’s movement — which, according to Kelly, has been in the works since 2010 — features a minimal level of decoration and a matte look, which is both perfectly suitable for the North Flag’s tool-watch aesthetic and instrumental in keeping the price point at a comfortable level for Tudor fans. However, it does not skimp on many other important technical features: it’s equipped with both a date display and a power-reserve indicator; it’s got a power reserve of 70 hours; it beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph and has a variable inertia oscillator equipped with a silicon balance spring; and its automatic winding system is bidirectional. Perhaps most notably, and in another first for the Tudor brand, Caliber MT5621 is officially chronometer-certified by COSC.

The Tudor North Flag is available with either an integrated, satin-finished steel bracelet with polished-link interfaces, or with a matte black leather strap with yellow top-stitching and lining, both with folding clasps. So what does one pay for the first true Tudor manufacture watch? Just $3,550 for the strap version and $3,675 for the bracelet.

TUDOR NORTH FLAG - PAIR
TUDOR NORTH FLAG - BACK

WatchTime contributor Rob Velasquez had a chance to shoot and to try on the Tudor North Flag at Baselworld. Below are a few photos Rob took at Tudor’s booth.

Tudor North Flag - case-live
Tudor North Flag - back -live
Tudor North Flag - wrist

This article was originally published on March 20, 2015, and has been updated.

3 Responses to “Baselworld 2015: Tudor North Flag Features the Brand’s First In-House Movement (Updated with Live Photos)”

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  1. Joe Weiland

    This watch is but one (perhaps the biggest) a series of premeditated strategy that will give Tudor a new level of sophistication, and relative scarcity that will propel Tudor beyong the heights Rolex has attained. As you know, Rolex is tightening their grasp on who can actually be an authorized Rolex Dealer. In accordance with the “Grand Strategy”, Tudor will now become a name synonymous with quality, durability, and an air of sophistication that will only appeal to a very specific demographic watch enthusiaist.
    It is, IMHO, a brilliant plan that will essentially create another Rolex. In fact, do not discount Tudors ambition and intentional “consequence” that most will think of as a chance developement. Tudor will now be assoociated more with the like of Patek, but a great investment, “as good as gold”, and an incredible rugged and secire place in horological history. The 5621 will be the most sought after movement in the next century. History is happening right under the noses of most watch “snobs”. No one, with the exception of the BOD and COB really understand the huge impact this will be horologically speaking. Brilliant. Absolutely Brilliant. Tudor is carving out for itself a niche of sports watches BEYOND COMPARE. Just say “North Flag” in 2050, and equate it to 50K, maybe 100K for the first production run.

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  2. Thank you. Do you know the lug width and length, end to end? That would be helpful information.

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