A Moment in Time: The Tudor Fastrider Chrono Ref. 42010N
Editor's Note: In the interest of full disclosure I worked at Sidney Thomas Jewelers from July to August 2015. This is not a paid promotion.
The first in what I hope to be a recurring series, A Moment in Time will be my first impressions of a watch I spent some time with. Vintage divers to contemporary chronographs, daily beaters to once-in-a-lifetime watches. Everything is fair game. For in-depth reviews on watches, check out my Inside & Out articles.
The Tudor Fastrider was first announced at Baselworld 2015 and released later in the Summer but it seems like it was eclipsed by other watches from Tudor. The Caliber MT5621, Tudor's new in-house movement, got much attention as it found its way into the North Flag and updated Pelagos. The late year addition of the Black Bay Black was the Tudor on everyone's wrists by the end of 2015 yet I feel that the Fastrider Chrono has been overlooked and has a lot to offer watch lovers out there.
Inspired by the legendary Ducati Scrambler, the Tudor Fastrider Chrono Ref. 42010N is the second Tudor Chronograph not to be directly inspired from the past and is only available in three brightly colored dial variants: Red, Yellow and Olive. The flash of color on the dial mixed with silver chronograph sub-dials stands out a mile from similar sized chronographs in Tudors line-up and other brands. Larger than many vintage chronographs at 42mm, I found the watch to wear smaller on the wrist than I expected possibly due to the short lugs. Purists might complain about the inclusion of a seemingly anachronistic date window at four o'clock however as this is a modern watch not attempting to recreate a classic I have no problem with it. The decision to make the date wheel black with white numerals stops the window from being too noticeable, especially on the olive dial, and it matches the black surrounds of the sub-dial nicely.
The Fastrider Chrono (and its ceramic brother the Black Shield) is the only Tudor Chronograph to have recessed sub-dials which really adds a lot of depth to the watch that I feel the Heritage Chrono Blue lacks. The black surround against the silver sub-dial is a nice twist on the traditional panda dial. The sub-dials themselves have nice attention to detail with a circular engraving on each and a matching hand to compliment the color of the dial. Each of the hands have a square base which matches the square counter weight on the central second hand. Tudor could have easily gone wild with a shield motif across the watch and I'm glad they showed some restraint.
Rather than go for an all ceramic case like the Black Shield, the Fastrider Chrono has a 316L stainless steel monobloc case with a satin finish and a matte black ceramic bezel with tachymetre. The crown and chronograph pushers are stainless steel with a PVD coating rather than solid ceramic ; there might be those who would have preferred these to have been made of complimenting black ceramic but seeing as there is no guard or asymmetrical case to protect them, I'm happy to have them be slightly more durable in steel.
Inside the watch is the Tudor Caliber 7753 which is a modified ETA 7750, a movement that has been used in watches from IWC, Panerai, Hublot and Heuer. The ETA 7750 has a history of almost forty years and first saw it's way into a Tudor in 1978 when it was a Valjoux 7750 then fitted into the Tudor Prince Oysterdate "Big Block Exotic". It is considered one of the most reliable chronograph movements available and was hailed by a former Heuer watchmaker for its "extraordinary toughness and its very good, nearly indestructible self-winding mechanism". Tudor have yet to offer an in-house chronograph movement yet with the MT5621 only having a date and power reserve complications. One year after it's launch might be too to replace the 7753 with a new caliber but stranger things have happened and I would wager that work on an in-house chronograph movement is happening somewhere behind the Shield.
One of the features unique to the modified 7750 is the quick date change button at nine o'clock. A small steel button that bears similarity to a helium escape valve is surrounded by a PVD triangular shield and when activated with a included pusher can cycle through the date quite quickly. Is it any better than a normal date change? Well it's all a matter of personal preference but I would imagine if this watch hasn't seen any wrist action in a long time, using the pusher will be easier on the fingers than using the crown. Looking at the watch from the side, the racing influences are quite striking with the case having similar tapering lines to that of a motorbike (Or at least I think so. My experience with motorbikes is limited to reading Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and looking at my brother-in-laws Triumph). The model I spent time with was fitted on a leather strap which is definitely the option I'd go for if I was purchasing. It fits better with the racing aesthetic and inspiration, especially with the ripples and gadroons, and looks like it was taken straight off the seat of a Scrambler. It comes with a deployment clasp shaped like the Tudor shield and whilst on my wrist the watch felt very secure.
The bezel of the watch sits very low on the watch so the Fastrider can easily fit beneath a shirt cuff or leather jacket. If there is one criticism to be made is that the tachymeter on the bezel is not easily readable with the engraved numbers blending into the matte and the lack of highlighted tip on the central second hand. This is just a minor issue as in the boardroom it won't be the end of the world and anyone wearing this watch whilst riding will want to use their bikes speedo, if they are checking how fast they are going at all. I enjoyed the time I spent with the Tudor Fastrider Chrono, currently $4100, and I hope that soon it gets the recognition it deserves.