Author: Joseph Goric
In recent years, some watchmaker brands are opting to reviving some of their heritage lines, targeting consumers’ nostalgic feelings and personal memories while also addressing the need of the modern watch collectors.
If we take Tudor as an example, a cult brand that was initially registered by Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, as a more affordable alternative, has been very successful in doing that as they are showing us that its heritage can be respected while still pursuing a path of independence.
Best two examples that come to my mind are the two-tone Tudor Heritage Black Bay and the daring Heritage Chrono, inspired by the Tudor “Monte Carlo” from the 1970s. The Heritage Chrono was the first of the Tudor Heritage line of watches designed to echo Tudor’s best-known vintage models.
The Black Bay and the Heritage Chrono
Tudor is doing a great job preserving its heritage, and I really hope that one day, hopefully very soon, they would do the same for the submariner line; In 1969 Tudor began with the divers’ watches, the watch contained certain characteristics such as the dial and hands, but most notably was the highly visible square-shaped hour marker, which was nicknamed “snowflakes” by collectors, and was enhanced with luminous squares intended to optimize readability. Not to forget the shield logo which became a symbol of resistance and reliability. All of these details contributed to the identity of Tudor.
The submariner line ran until 1999, the watches had different variations and innovations such as the indexes at 9 and 6 o’clock were changed from squares to triangles, and while the previous models had snowflake hands for this reference, the hands were changed to the so-called Mercedes hands, the ones you see on Rolex as well.
When Innovation becomes Heritage
In 1957 Hamilton introduced the world’s first electric watch movement. Hamilton’s electric movement was revolutionary in that it is a little electric motor with mechanical watch-like components. In fact, unlike a quartz watch, the Hamilton Electric ticks!
This innovative piece of its time that kicked the fame for Hamilton watches was the Ventura. Like many electrics, the Ventura was a futuristic looking asymmetrical shape, with its unique and shield-shaped design, created by renowned industrial designer Richard Arbib, caused an instant sensation.
Fast-forward to our modern time, Hamilton has created an automatic version of the famed watch; in fact, there are several versions of the watch available in the market to include Quarts, Auto and a Chronograph.
In 2017 Hamilton celebrated the 60th anniversary of the iconic Ventura, which has gained a legion of fans since it was first launched.
Continuing with Hamilton Watches, the new Khaki Field Mechanical is a faithful recreation of its original 1940s predecessor and is true to Hamilton’s military heritage. Inspired by the military, built to last, this is the original soldier’s watch, and did I mention that it looks mighty fine too!
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical
The Spirit of Adventure Lives On
The well-renowned Jaeger-LeCoultre revived the original Polaris from 1968 on its 50th birthday. The new Polaris line includes a Polaris Date, a Chronograph, A Chronograph WT and the Memovx. The very elegant Memovox is a perfect tribute and it is very tough not to like it; it is covered in subtle nods to the classic 1968 timepiece, including a stylised diving helmet, an alarm mechanism and a “50th anniversary” inscription on its back.
50 years apart, the spirit of adventure lives on
Reviving the heritage line is a trend that I like and admire, and I believe its gaining speed as more and more brands are doing it. Personally, I have long admired Tudor and would love to see them revive the Submariner line and bring back the snowflake, it sure would be a treat.
Heritage will always be important to preserve and especially within the watch industry as it is a form of telling stories of the past, and I think it is fantastic that watch brands are reminding its customers, collectors and fans of their prestigious history. It certainly allows us, the fans, to connect with the brands’ past and in some cases even push ourselves to take on similar steps and engage in a more active lifestyle such as adventures and expeditions, to re-live the experience if you will.