For the Only Watch 2023 charity auction, Tudor has created a one-off chronograph, offered in a solid yellow 18K gold.
The Tudor Prince Chronograph One comes in a 42 mm 18K yellow gold case with a fixed 18K yellow gold bezel and anodized black aluminum insert. A black lacquered dial (with “PRINCE CHRONOGRAPH” printed above the counter at 6), with recessed gold subdials, gold font, and gold hands — without a date indication — plus an 18K gold crown (embossed with the Shield emblem) and 18K gold three-piece bracelet complete the unique aesthetic of this “Big Block” throwback timepiece. The case includes classic Tudor chamfering and square crown guards, and according to Tudor’s official press release, the Tudor Prince Chronograph One represents the return of the “Prince” name, which suggests that this watch design will make it to production at some point in the near future.
“Back in 1976, Tudor introduced its first automatic chronograph. The addition of a self-winding rotor to a chronograph movement typically adds thickness and so Tudor engineered a thicker middle case to accommodate this additional depth. This led to collectors dubbing the new automatic chronograph the ‘Big Block’ in reference to its blocky case. It would stay in the catalogue for nearly two decades before being discontinued in the early ‘90s. Its long production run, numerous variations, and distinct aesthetic have earned the watch a sterling reputation among Tudor collectors.”
The Tudor Prince Chronograph One has a flat sapphire crystal, screw-down crown and pushers, and a screw-in caseback plus multiple gaskets that work to achieve a depth rating of 200 meters.
What’s even more indicative that we’ll see some form of this watch in a future production model, is that Tudor created a new movement for this watch, and we know that even if the movement is iterative, it still required a large investment and Tudor would only do that if they were planning to use it in regular commercial production.
“The ‘XX’ in the Tudor caliber designation is reserved for prototypes, and the movement inside the Prince Chronograph One is the genesis of Tudor’s modern exploration of column wheel chronograph movement manufacturing. As such, the mainplate is engraved with MT59XX. On the gear train bridge, one finds the signature of Kenissi, Tudor’s movement manufacturing arm. The Kenissi markings are not found on standard production Tudor watches, instead they’re specifically reserved for development phase movements. The visual touches don’t stop at the prototype engravings, however. The MT59XX retains Tudor’s signature movement architecture and performance, including a traversing bridge fixed on both sides anchoring a silicon balance spring and variable inertia oscillator. Performance falls within typical Tudor specifications as well, with a weekend-proof 70-hour power reserve and a tolerance range of 6 seconds (-2/+4) tested on a fully assembled watch. Further, the aesthetic of the movement is in line with Tudor’s range of Manufacture Calibres: its rotor in tungsten monobloc is openwork and satin-brushed with sand-blasted details, and its bridges and mainplate have alternate sand-blasted, polished surfaces and laser decorations.”
You can bid on this special modern version of the Tudor Prince Chronograph One (Ref. 9420/801) at Only Watch 2023 in November, or if you wait, maybe it’ll be offered in a stainless steel model in the not-too-distant future.
Photos by Tudor.