Tiger Tiger Woods Y'all
By Fabio Dal Colletto
Tudor Prince Oysterdate Tiger ref 79280
The Tudor Tiger is one of the most sought after Tudor models of the past twenty years, when I was given the opportunity to spend some time with the Tiger I felt that perhaps the hype was unearned or that there were better options for the price, but I have fallen in love with the watch and the hype is certainly there for good reason. It is truly a shame that Tudor has discontinued this model even though their current chronograph offerings excluding the Fastrider are fantastic.
For those of you who do not know, The Tudor Prince Oysterdate in its most iconic three subdial layout was introduced in the 1970’s but this being the 79280 was introduced in 1995 which made it the first Tudor Chronograph which was not equipped with a Rolex crown or stamped Rolex Oystercase on it’s caseback. Aside from the Tudor branding and use of a Valjoux 7750 this watch is entirely Rolex, and initially you would be forgiven for thinking this is a Rolex Daytona as the case and bezel are more or less the exact same as the ones used by Tudor’s bigger brother. Considering until 2002 the Daytona used a Zenith made chronograph movement, one really must think long and hard about justifying the added cost of purchasing the Daytona over the Tiger of the same era. Let us not also forget for whom the Tiger is named after, that is of course Tiger Woods, who at the time was a Tudor ambassador, which ironically also embellishes the era when the watch was created.
Wearing the Tiger is a bit of a nostalgic throwback, hollow end links and a stamped clasp lend well to the design of the watch while also delivering a truly 90’s inspired watch, while the hollow end links could potentially go unnoticed it is the weight of the bracelet is very quite different compared to a modern Tudor or Rolex and this is mainly due to the clasp itself being only 1mm thick when folded open. We must remember that the Tiger comes from a time when this was the industry standard. The overall look of the watch however is quite modern, and I feel the Tiger specifically bridges the gap from vintage to contemporary for Tudor.
Motoring inspired chronographs are a segment which I have always loved, it might even be my favourite watch type and the Tiger certainly fits well into this category for me, the dial is easily legible and pushers react instantly with a very satisfying “click” but unlike many other chronogrpahs this is equipped with a screwdown crown and pushers making the Tiger slightly more useable every day compared to a Navitimer or Speedmaster. The design of the watch itself also allows the wearer to pair it tastefully with a racing or rallye strap in leather, my choice with certainly be a black perforated leather racing strap coupled with stainless end links. But the white dial and black subdials would certainly allow for more adventurous colour combinations.
I could wear the Tiger every single day of my life and not get bored, the watch is incredibly versatile, and can be worn with everything short of a Tuxedo, but let’s be honest if you are wearing a tuxedo frequently you probably have a couple designated dress watches in your collection. With a business suit or something even as casual as Shorts and a T-shirt the Tiger does not look out of place nor does it give you the impression that you are dressing down the watch. It is subtle and for most would fly under the radar, and I think that is why I love the Tiger so much, it is a bit obscure and relatively unknown outside the horology world, and it certainly does not draw as much attention as the Daytona even amongst people who choose to write about watches such as myself. I think it is that humbleness and lack of drama which many people can relate with, the watch is easy read, the movement is easily serviced, and it can be worn with anything.
Over the past five years the Tiger has seen a surge in popularity, perhaps because of the popularity Tudor itself has seen ever since the initial launch of the Black Bay in 2012, but the Tiger still remains a very in demand timepiece and not many models are available pre-owned, this has caused Tiger prices to soar, and in some cases the Tiger has fetched prices upwards of $10,000 but if you are lucky enough to come across one anything south of $8,000 you are truly in for a bargain. As I have been very privileged to experience the Tiger over the past week I can truly attest to this hype and demand. I love the fact that it is so similar yet so different compared to a Rolex Daytona, I love the subtle details, the upwards rounded Tiger script written in red beneath the 12 o’clock subdial pays homage to the Daytona script written above it’s 6 o’clock subdials, only a watch enthusiast would draw this comparison but it is within these similarities that make the Tiger so loveable. A great everyday companion, fit for any adventure, the Tudor Prince Oysterdate Tiger is a fantastic watch worthy of any wrist. Especially mine.