AAA perfect replica Tudor has been around for over half a century making chronographs and has always been considered as the affordable sibling to Rolex. Up until the early 2000s, Tudor watches were available everywhere in the world —including the U.S.—; however, at that time Rolex decided to pull them out of the U.S. as they were cannibalizing Rolex sales. In theory, a Tudor is a Rolex watch but less expensive. Back in the day, Tudor Chronographs were fitted with Rolex crowns and Rolex case backs up until the late 90’s when transitional Tudor watches appeared with either a Rolex case back or a Rolex crown only. After this period, Tudor watches were no longer fitted with Rolex parts and such is the case of this rare bird, Tudor Chronograph Tiger Oxblood colored dial ref. 79280.
The last example to include Rolex parts was the Tudor Chronograph ‘Big Block’ with a dial that included the word ‘Oysterdate’ instead of ‘Prince Date’. The year 1996 marks the 50th anniversary of the Montres Tudor S.A. company and a year earlier, the launch of the fourth series of Prince Oysterdate automatic chronographs, introducing numerous aesthetic and technical improvements such as a reworked and refined case and a virtually scratchproof sapphire crystal. In 1996, the direct references to Rolex were gradually disappearing from the cases, winding crowns, and bracelets of Tudor watches.
The high-quality fake Tudor Chronograph Tiger with Ox Blood colored dial ref. 79280 is part of the fourth series released by Tudor in 1995 and part of the partnership with golfer Tiger Woods. Reference 79280 indicated the model with a steel bezel and an engraved tachymetric scale. The Tudor Chrono Tiger watches released circa 1997 with several dial variations that included green, blue, and oxblood colored dials with a guilloché pattern underneath an enamel finish.
All these colorful iterations were fitted with a solid end link, a sharkskin strap, and a matching steel folding clasp. Then, a year later reference 79260 was released featuring a tachymetric scale bezel with a black anodized aluminum insert with white transfers and available in a panda layout with cream-colored dial and black registers as well as two colorful iterations, one bright red and the other bright yellow.
Some of these watches —the ones fitted with more traditional dials such as the panda with silvered dial— were also delivered on a five-link bracelet that was different from the Oyster bracelet that came on the ‘Big Block’ and other 79280 transitional models. As of 1997, all Tudor Chronographs bore ‘Prince Date’ on their dials and the ‘Tiger’ inscription as part of the celebrity endorsement agreement with Tiger Woods.
But what makes the Tudor Chronograph Tiger Oxblood ref. 79280 such a rare bird is the color of its dial and the unique finish of it. While the green and blue enamel dials are more common and often frequently seen for sale online, the oxblood colored dial remains ‘ultra’ rare. To begin with, the case, which over three generations of chronographs had essentially retained its famous imposing, sharp presence, became more refined and softer. Keeping a highly recognizable silhouette, it now presented to the eye softer lines consisting of curves and rounded configurations.
While the Oxblood colored dial appears to be a simple glossy finished burgundy-looking dial, there is more than meets the eye. Upon closer examination, the dial features a Geneva waves guilloché pattern that flows from the center of the dial to the outside with a sunburst effect. Depending on lighting conditions this pattern goes from being barely visible to becoming a full spectacle of light and color. As far as the chronograph registers, these are snailed and have a lighter hue that matches the pinkish color of the sharkskin strap. The finishing touches are the white Arabic numerals and white transfers throughout the chrono registers and the minute and 1/5th of a second outer track.
Just like the ‘Big Block’ chronos or the rest of the reference 79280 or 79260 chronographs, the Tudor Chronograph Tiger Oxblood ref. 79280 features ‘millerighe’ screw-down pushers and a screw-down crown signed with the Tudor shield.
Powering the Tudor Chronograph Tiger Oxblood ref. 79280 is the automatic Valjoux calibre 7750 in a substantially improved version. Its finishing was characteristic and benefitted from a particular aesthetic effort. Entirely refreshed, its decor was called “special Tudor”. Its rotor was no longer decorated with transfer marking, but engraved and gilded. Its screws were now polished rather than matte. The movement is protected with the usual solid case back.
Ont the wrist, the Tudor Chronograph Tiger Oxblood ref. 79280 is definitely the rarest of them all and one helluva vintage Tudor watch. Its unique color and finish make this rare bird a watch that we think will foresee a substantial pricing increase over the years to follow. This watch is truly a rare bird in all the sense of the word. If you find one, expect to pay anywhere between $5,000-6,000 USD based on the availability of boxes and papers and the overall condition of the watch. Below a ton of wristshots in different lighting conditions to see this chameleon of a watch.