8,6 / 10
First Tudor Chronograph
This watch is an extremely rare and sought-after example of the first Tudor chronograph, the reference 7031/0, “Home Plate”.
It is in extremely nice condition. The bezels on these watches are often damaged but this example is great. The dial is in fantastic condition with no corrosion or bubbling (most of 7031s’ dials have this defect) and the hour markers have a nice creamy patina. The case, including lugs and crown guards is in excellent condition. The pushers are original, which is quite rare (many of them have been used for Rolex Daytonas, and changed by service ones). The folded link Oyster bracelet reference 7836 is in good condition with minimal stretch, has a clasp stamped “4 70” and is fitted with correct 282 endlinks. The glass is original.
About the model
The first TUDOR chronograph was named Oysterdate.
Featuring a manually-wound Valjoux mechanical Calibre 7734, it was introduced in 1970.
Its case dimensions were significant, with a 39 mm diameter more imposing than many standards of the time. The very graphic style of its dial was also unusual.
There were three variations of this first sporty TUDOR chronograph, differentiated by their types of bezel:
- two were produced in large numbers (ref. 7031/0 with black tachymetric scale bezel and ref. 7032/0 with steel tachymetric scale bezel),
- while the third was never commercialised (ref. 7033/0, with rotatable bezel).
Reference 7031/0 is characterised by a bezel topped with a Plexiglas insert featuring a 500-unit graduated tachymetric scale, which can be used to calculate the hourly average speed between two points.
The dials of these first three references were identical and comprised three colours: grey background, black counters and a minute track on a white background. In addition, they had unconventional luminous pentagon-shaped painted hour markers that earned them the nickname “Home Plate” because they were reminiscent of the shape of the home plate on a baseball field.
Thanks to their waterproof Oyster-type cases, and their screw-down winding crowns, these chronographs were waterproof to a depth of 50 metres. Their screw-down pushers prevented any accidental engagement of the chronograph.
The case back is engraved “Original Oyster Case by Rolex Geneva”.
Its steel bracelet is a Rolex Oyster-type bracelet, reference 7836, with folding links.
Located at 3 and 9 o’clock, the two counters of the dial with distinctive hour markers indicate, respectively, the seconds of the permanent display and the elapsed minutes of the chronograph function. A particularity, the chronograph minute counter consisted of 45 minutes, an unusual variation on the more common 30-minute counter.